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The contradictions of participatory architecture and empire

Kaminer, Tahl ORCID: 2014. The contradictions of participatory architecture and empire. Architectural Research Quarterly 18 (1) , pp. 31-37. 10.1017/S135913551400027X

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A few years after the anti-globalization movement consolidated in the 1999 protests in Seattle, an amalgam of small vanguard architectural practices emerged in the West, motivated by the desire to re-establish architectural efficacy in the realm of politics, rebelling against the dominance of neoliberal thought not only in economy, but in the realised forms and morphologies of the contemporary city. The growing number of such dissident practices, including Estudio Teddy Cruz, Urban-Think Tank, Studio Miessen, Santiago Cirugeda, An Architektur, and BAVO, has led the discipline away from the focus on signature design to a renewed fascination with the political and social roles of architecture, often by returning to theories and ideas that were central to the radical movements of May ’68. Many of the idiosyncrasies and contradictions found today in the positions and practices of the aforementioned loose movement derive from an uncritical reading of ‘anti-statist’ literature in the absence of the specific historical context which had encouraged their formation in the first place: the Fordist era of strong, centralised governments and welfare state. The paper closely studies one of these theoretical groundings – Michael Hardt and Antonio Negri’s Empire, a book which has inspired a multitude of activists and radicals since its publication. The paper argues that the basic positions of Empire originate in the work of Negri in the 1960s and 70s, including a maverick revisionist re-reading of Marx which took place in Italy in those years. These contradictions have been assimilated into the work of the politically-engaged architects, undermining the consistency, clarity and affect of their work.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Architecture
Subjects: J Political Science > JC Political theory
N Fine Arts > NA Architecture
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
ISSN: 1359-1355
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 23 November 2018
Last Modified: 24 Oct 2022 20:47

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