Architectural Scales

The architectural implications of whaling ranged from the macro scale of whaling geography to the micro scale of corsetry (a by-product of whaling).  Multiple scales of social, economic and political implications were linked to whaling and an examination of the industry’s intimate product of the corset reveals these larger spatial ideas.  Factories were built to process whale assets in an organized, rigid and efficient manner; similarly the whaleboned corsets systematized and manipulated the architecture of women’s’ bodies.
Close examination of the whaleboned corset reveals the intimate scale of architecture during industrial modernization.  The corset is a lens through which larger ideas of systems of production can be understood-both in spatial and material terms. The properties of whalebone allowed for formal manipulation of the corset to produce specific shapes that showcased women as controlled yet influential.  This power and control over the body due to the corset’s structural design corresponds to the subsequent architectural era of Foucault and his theories of discipline and biopolitics.  While often overlooked as an architectural feature, the corset is a designed composition replete with social, economic and political significance.


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