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books about Some Assembly Required
Some Assembly Required
University of Minnesota Press, 2001
Library of Congress NA9053.N4S67 2001 | Dewey Decimal 720.47
The long-awaited collection by one of architecture's most exciting voices.
Michael Sorkin is widely hailed as one of the best architecture critics writing today. Iconoclastic and often controversial, he is a witty, entertaining, yet ultimately serious writer. In this new collection, Sorkin reviews the state of contemporary architecture and surveys the dramatic changes in the urban environment of the past decade. From New York to New Delhi, from Shanghai to Cairo, Sorkin offers a sweeping assessment of the impact of globalization, environmental degradation, electronic media, rapid growth, and the legacies of modernist planning. Whether laying out, manifesto-like, eleven necessary tasks for urban design, providing a fresh take on the Disneyfication of Times Square, grappling with sprawl, or blasting the nostalgic prescriptions of "new urbanist" communities (which he dubs "Reaganville"), Sorkin makes a compelling argument for an architecture and urbanism firmly grounded in both artistic expression and social purpose.
"Michael Sorkin has, by any measure, become known as the toughest and wittiest architecture critic in the business. He has skewered almost every phony and attacked practically every silly American design fad of the last fifteen years. . . . Yet Sorkin is much more than a dispenser of one-liners. To read him is to discover a set of guiding philosophies, a genuine love of urbanism's best offerings, and a humanistically rooted disdain for the greedy and opportunistic types who view the city as a deregulated arena for plundering." Chicago Tribune
"Michael Sorkin is brave, principled, highly informed, and fiercely funny. Read him and laugh; read him and weep; but read him." Robert Hughes
"A thorn in the flesh of America's more complacent architects-especially the postmodernists-Sorkin proves that it's possible to write with wit, passion, and insight about architecture." The Guardian
"Michael Sorkin is the Lenny Bruce of American architecture: satirist, moralist, agent provocateur. . . . His courageous, outrageous, and often hilarious insights into the architectural culture of our times are expressed with antic brilliance and deep conviction." HG
Michael Sorkin is principal of the Michael Sorkin Studio and professor of architecture and director of the graduate urban design program at New York's City College. He is the author of Giving Ground (with Joan Copjec, 1999), Wiggle (1998), Exquisite Corpse (1994), and Variations on a Theme Park (1991), and his writing has appeared in the Village Voice, Metropolis, the New York Times Magazine, and other publications.
Some Assembly Required: Work, Community, and Politics in China’s Rural Enterprises
Harvard University Press, 2008
Library of Congress HD2910.Z8C4414 2008 | Dewey Decimal 338.0951242
One linchpin of China’s expansion has been township and village enterprises (TVEs), a vast group of firms with diverse modes of ownership and structure. Based on the author’s fieldwork in Zhejiang, this book explores the emergence and success of rural enterprises.
This study also examines how ordinary rural residents have made sense of and participated in the industrialization engulfing them in recent decades. How much does TVE success depend on the ruthless exploitation of workers? How did peasants-turned-workers develop such impressive skills so quickly? To what extent do employees’ values affect the cohesion and operations of companies? And how long can peasant workers sustain these efforts in the face of increasing market competition?
The author argues that the resilience of these factories has as much to do with how authority is defined and how people interact as it does with the ability to generate profits. How social capital was deployed and replenished at critical moments was central to the eventual rise and consolidation of these enterprises as effective, robust institutions. Without mutual respect, company leaders would have found it impossible to improve their firms’ productivity, workplace stability, and long-term viability.