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Interventions in Contemporary ThoughtHistory, Politics, Aesthetics$
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Gabriel Rockhill

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9781474405355

Published to Edinburgh Scholarship Online: January 2018

DOI: 10.3366/edinburgh/9781474405355.001.0001

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The Forgotten Political Art Par Excellence? Architecture, Design and the Social Sculpting of the Body Politic

The Forgotten Political Art Par Excellence? Architecture, Design and the Social Sculpting of the Body Politic

Chapter:
(p.243) Chapter 9 The Forgotten Political Art Par Excellence? Architecture, Design and the Social Sculpting of the Body Politic
Source:
Interventions in Contemporary Thought
Author(s):

Gabriel Rockhill

Publisher:
Edinburgh University Press
DOI:10.3366/edinburgh/9781474405355.003.0009

With a few rare but important exceptions, it is arguable that major contemporary debates on the historical relationship between art and politics—from the work of Lukács and Adorno to that of Lyotard and Rancière—have generally favored the visual arts and literature over and against architecture and urban design. However, as a few thinkers like Benjamin and Foucault have recognized, if there is one art that appears to be prototypically political (in the sense that it is almost inevitably the site of collective decisions that directly shape the social body while simultaneously being subject to multifarious communal appropriations), it is surely architecture. This paradox leads to a question of central importance, which serves to guide the analysis in this final chapter: why have many of the foremost philosophic debates on the historical relation between art and politics sidelined what is perhaps the political art par excellence? This leads to a critical re-examination of the metaphilosophical assumptions undergirding many of the standard historical narratives regarding the development of art and its relationship to politics.

Keywords:   Architecture, aesthetics, metaphilosophy, political theory, Benjamin, Foucault, Virilio

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