Discipline and Dissidence

‘Glimpsed Interior’, Skeppsholmen, Stockholm 2011. Photograph © Suzanne Ewing.

Discipline and Dissidence

vol. 1, issue 1/2

The inaugural double issue of the journal is entitled Discipline and Dissidence. Our aim is to investigate how the now expanded field of architecture is framed and understood as a discipline, what disciplining processes are at play, and what the cultural consequences are for its role of such strictures and how they shift.  The issue is in two parts.  One part focuses on ‘Discipline’, the other on ‘Dissidence’. Papers for the ‘Discipline’ part, addressing architecture’s disciplinarity, are solicited through this call. It is hoped that placing the two themes will agitate and elucidate both, in perhaps unexpected ways.

Call for Papers for this Issue

Discipline

Editors: Dr. Igea Troiani and Diana Periton

Architecture as a field of practice, knowledge, and education is broad in its scope and range of methods, both practical and theoretical.  It has been called a ‘weak’ discipline because it integrates and yet depends upon many areas of knowledge. This was made explicit as early as the first century CE, when Vitruvius (1914, p. 5) wrote in The Ten Books on Architecture that “the architect should be equipped with knowledge of many branches of study and varied kinds of learning … knowledge [which] is the child of practice and of theory”. He lists drawing, geometry, history, philosophy, music, medicine, law, astronomy and astrology.  Architects and students of architecture still engage with some of these, as well as more recently formed areas of study such as social science, geography, biology, linguistic theory and digital media.  

Architecture has been disciplined, codified, and bounded in various ways since Vitruvius – socially, economically, politically, institutionally and professionally.  Yet, despite its multi-faceted nature, it is defined by separation from other areas of expertise, both practical and academic. Each brings its own set of attitudes — has its own culture — so that to embrace more than one involves a willed effort of connection and understanding, and constant negotiations over common or uncommon definitions, scope, methods, practices, responsibilities. 

Through this call, we seek papers that investigate the discipline and disciplining of architecture as effected in contemporary research, teaching, and practice. We call for explorations of the way in which architecture contributes to disciplining and the disciplines of culture. We invite rigorously speculative, purposively imaginative, visually and verbally stimulating contributions that explore disciplinarity through their own mode of argument – that combine text with sound or image (moving, cartoon or still), or that use text or image in investigative ways. We want to explore what an academic paper might be. To achieve our aim of expanding interdisciplinary knowledge of architecture and culture, we invite contributions from historians of architecture and culture, geographers, anthropologists and other social scientists, architects and urban designers, from film-makers, animators and other artists, thinkers and writers of all kinds.

Papers might address the following themes and questions:

Integrity and unity

Borrowing from Michel Foucault’s notion of epistemological unities in Archaeology of Knowledge, what kind of unity or unities does architecture form, as a discipline?  And by what or by whom is this unity defined?  What constitute ‘discursive formations’ in architecture? Does the practice of architecture assume the same unities as its academic pursuit? Does culture at large perceive unities in architecture? Does a discipline that unites, or integrates multiple types of knowledge have its own integrity? Can the discipline be disaggregated into specialists and experts?

Discipline, code, boundary

What are the critical edges, boundaries or essential codes of the discipline of architecture? How fixed, stretched, or porous are they and how have disputes over codes and boundaries shaped and transformed disciplinary understandings and practices? What constraints are necessary and/or productive? Does disciplinary coding and bounding inevitably engender shadow practices that are secret, illegal, illicit, dissidence? In both academia and practice, architecture is policed by its institutions so as to ensure codes of disciplinary practice are adhered to, and disciplining can take place if boundaries are breached; what does it mean to teach/research/practice within the coded and regulated academic and professional institutions of architecture and how are they policed? Who disciplines who and how? In what ways do teachers and practitioners encourage and facilitate ‘undisciplinary’ activity in architectural production?

Multi/Inter/trans-disciplinarity

What might architectural research, teaching and design learn from the current increase in interest in creative trans-, multi- and interdisciplinary methodologies to contest boundaries of disciplines? Is blundering through other disciplines part of architecture’s strength, or merely dilettantism? What are critical interdependencies and dependencies of this ‘weak’ discipline? What new uncommon disciplines or media has architects/architectural researchers and teachers embraced in practice/research/teaching and to what end? Can trans-, multi- and interdisciplinary practice (theoretical or practical) positively expand the discipline of architecture and if so, how? When does a discipline dissolve or become unrecognisable as a palimpsest of many?

Experiential

Is architecture viewed or experienced in the same way by academics, the profession, other disciplines and users at large? If not, in what way and to what end are its boundaries established by different groups? Do non-architects suffer from amnesia about most architecture they experience daily?

The submission deadline is 2nd April 2013, 5pm UK time. Accepted articles will be published in November 2013.

For ‘Author Guidelines’, please see Bloomsbury Publishing