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Aesthetics of Agonism and Informal Action of the Others: The Role of Architecture in Producing Agonistic Politics
Umeå University, Faculty of Science and Technology, Umeå School of Architecture.ORCID iD: 0000-0001-8752-5712
2012 (English)In: International Interdicsiplinary conference of “The Others”  University of Ljublijana, Slovenia- 16, 17 Nov 2012, 2012Conference paper, Presentation (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

In contraposition to formal world, the so-called informal “others”, are not always passively excluded but operates actively through different forms of resistance and action. Informality is a tool for the excluded to create situations of participation through breaking the predefined and controlled frameworks in the society. These active forms of informality have the potential of inverting the position of “the others” as exploited, to the ones leading the changes towards emancipation. This, in many cases is materialized in urban spaces through occupation and transformation of architectural spaces and structures.


Here the relation between two sides of otherness or their operations as formal and informal defines the politics of otherness. This politics produce different spatial characteristics. On the other hand architecture and planning can promote specific kinds of politics by defining this very relation. In a consensual model of politics advocated by post-political perspective, the dialogue among different positions is pacified by consensus and agreement. Ultimately it will leave no room for differences and otherness. But in an agonistic model of politics this platform will generate active dialogue through conflict and dissensus and create more chances for “the others” to participate. Architecture can prepare and develop this platform to generate ongoing dialogue between two sides of otherness.


Some formal architectural and urban structures have the potential of creating specific situations to be used differently and informally. This informal use and consequently transformed architectural space is the scene for “the others” to be heard, to perform and to produce the dissensual dialogue. This paper studies the aesthetics of architecture of agonism. It will study how otherness can operate as a force in agonistic politics and how architecture can operate in this context to optimize the opportunity for the others to express themselves; how architecture can create a conflictual relation between “the same” and “the other” through the relation between formal and informal and how it will promote building up the emancipation project?

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
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Architecture Other Humanities
URN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-108301OAI: diva2:852207
International Interdicsiplinary conference of “The Others”
Available from: 2015-09-08 Created: 2015-09-08 Last updated: 2015-09-08

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Karami, Sepideh
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