States have long been active in commissioning architecture, which affords one way to embed political projects within socially meaningful cultural forms. Such state-led architecture is often designed not only to house the activities of government, but also to reflect political-economic shifts and to chime with a variety of ‘internal’ and ‘external’ publics as part of wider discourses of belonging. From the vantage point of sociology, this context necessitates critical engagement with the role of leading architects’ designs and discourses relative to politicized identity projects.
Focusing on the mobilization of architecture in periods of social change, The Sociology of Architecture uses critical sociological frameworks to assess the distinctive force added to political projects by architects and their work. Through engagement with a range of illustrative examples from contested contemporary and historical architectural projects, Paul Jones analyses some of the ways in which architects have sought to position their architecture relative to state projects and wider publics. A central objective of the book is to situate major architectural projects as a research agenda for sociologists and others interested in the relationship between power, culture, and collective identities. Adopting a critical approach to such questions, The Sociology of Architecture frames architecture as a field of contestation over symbolic and material resources, which in turn provides an entry point for questioning the inextricably political ways in which collective identities are constructed, maintained and mobilized.
Paul R. Jones is Lecturer in Sociology at the University of Liverpool.
List of Illustrations
1. Architecture, Power and Identities: Surveying the Field
2. The Public Discourse of Architecture: Sociolizing Identities
3. Architecture and the Nation: Building an 'Us'
4. Modernity and Mega-Events: Archhtecturing a Future
5. Architecture and Commemoration: The Construction of Memorialization
6. Iconic Architecture and Regeneration: The Forum is the Function
7. 'European' Architecture: Politics in Search of Form and Meaning
8. Conclusion: Sociology, Architecture and the Politics of Building
July 26, 2011