Rethinking the Social in Architecture

The "recent" economical crisis has led to a full-fledged political and social crisis. In Europe, new antagonisms and struggles are developing over the defense of the welfare state and the programmatic exclusion of large groups of people from economic activity and political participation, and fears of an ecological disaster that awaits us has turned into a realistic projection.

With the collapse of the banking system we stand at the beginning of a return to full-blown history. A return to history that has not only led to a renewed interest in radical ideas and politics developed in the past, but also marks a beginning in search of new forms of sociality (including developing a new kind of cartography possible of mapping the many arisen controversies). To also rethink the social within architecture is thus an issue of outmost urgency.

The symposium "Rethinking the Social in Architecture" is structured around three topics:

The Welfare State and Beyond—exploring where we are, where we have been and what is becoming. What is the role of the state, the private, the public and the commons?
Towards New Subjectivities—exploring transformative agencies; the individual, the body, the collective, the fictional, the real. Spatial identities, across or against, differentiating markers like gender, race, ability, economy, location, will be investigated.
The Politics of Things—exploring the politics of the object and its content, as well as relational thinking—how the object knits, directs, actualizes and enacts the political. How might form become capable of thinking?

Over three days, the invited keynote lecturers—Dana Cuff, Anne Lacaton, Constantin Petcou, Doina Petrescu, Michelle Provoost, and Sven-Olov Wallenstein—will reflect on and discuss these questions together with researchers from Architecture in Effect, ResArc, and beyond, that in thirty-five papers will present the results from their current research projects. In addition to this, among our international guests are Tahl Kaminer, Hilde Heynen, and Jane Rendell, who will be joining and present their views on the importance of addressing the social in architecture.

The symposium "Rethinking the Social in Architecture" is arranged by Architecture in Effect, a strong research environment in Architecture Theory and Methodology funded by The Swedish Research Council Formas.

February 6th–8th, 2013
Umeå School of Architecture