Architecture, Sociologically Considered

Post-doctoral project: Oct. 2007 to Apr. 2013 (published in German 2015)

According to Émile Durkheim the »first and fundamental rule« of sociological thought is to »consider social facts as things«. Rather what happens if we flip this perspective and see built things as social facts?

The architectural theory I propose in my post-doctoral thesis builds on the sociology of knowledge formulated by Peter L. Berger and Thomas Luckmann in their by-now classic work »The Social Construction of Reality« (1966). Berger and Luckmann argue that the social construction of reality follows a dialectical interplay between externalization, objectivation and internalization. They show that the reality in which we live is one that, firstly, emerges as a result of collective action, secondly that we are confronted by this reality as a fact – and thus »thing-like« in a Durkheimian sense – and, thirdly, that we must accept this reality into our subjective consciousness in order to become part of it. While Berger and Luckmann concentrate on examining the immaterial aspects of this process, I aim to show what role »material objectivations« – and buildings in particular – play therein. 

This post is also available in DE.