Henri Lefebvre on Space
Architecture, Urban Research, and the Production of Theory
Publication Year: 2011
Countering the prevailing view, which reduces Lefebvre’s theory of space to a projection of his philosophical positions, Stanek argues that Lefebvre’s work grew out of his concrete, empirical engagement with everyday practices of dwelling in postwar France and his exchanges with architects and planners. Stanek focuses on the interaction between architecture, urbanism, sociology, and philosophy that occurred in France in the 1960s and 1970s, which was marked by a shift in the processes of urbanization at all scales, from the neighborhood to the global level. Lefebvre’s thinking was central to this encounter, which informed both his theory of space and the concept of urbanization becoming global.
Stanek offers a deeper and clearer understanding of Lefebvre’s thought and its implications for the present day. At a time when cities are increasingly important to our political, spatial, and architectural world, this reassessment proposes a new empirical, and practical, interpretation of Lefebvre’s ideas on urbanism.
Published by: University of Minnesota Press
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This book addresses the encounter among sociology, architecture, urban-ism, and philosophy in 1960s and early 1970s France in view of the shifts in the postwar processes of urbanization at every scale of the social reality, from that of the neighborhood to the global level. The work of Henri Lefebvre (1901–91) was central to this encounter, and his theory of production of space, published ...
1. Henri Lefebvre: The Production of Theory
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The increasing international interest in the the-ory of production of space in urban research since the late 1980s appears somehow paradoxical in the face of the historical conditions that seem most unfavorable for a rereading of Le- febvre’s work. First, what does it mean to read Lefebvre’s Marxist theory in the course of the symbolic liquidation of socialism; after the end of the Soviet Union and other socialist states in Europe and the evolution of China; in the face of the ...
2. Research: From Practices of Dwelling to the Production of Space
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No concept is more attached to the name “Henri Lefebvre” than that of “the production of space.” The understanding of space as produced in social prac-tices that, in turn, appropriate space as their tool, medium, and milieu was devel-oped in Lefebvre’s writings from The Right to the City (1968) to The Production of Space (1974). But this understanding was prepared by many research projects, discussions, seminars, and political engagements from the late 1950s on, and their ...
3. Critique: Space as Concrete Abstraction
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In an interview in 1970 Lefebvre recalled a 1943 con-versation in Aix-de-Provence with Léon Brunschvicg, his former professor of philosophy at the Sorbonne. Com-menting on the news of the German offensive on the Eastern Front, Brunschvicg conceived the battle of Stalingrad as a series of singular events in which a Ger-man soldier encounters a Soviet soldier and one kills the other one. This was consistent, argued Lefebvre, with Brunschvicg’s understanding of thinking as ...
4. Project: Urban Society and Its Architecture
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In June 1972, the Groupe de sociologie urbaine Paris 10 and the Institut de recherches at the Unité pédagogique no. 8 organized a colloquium at the Mediterranean tour-ist new town of Port Grimaud under the topic of architecture and the social sci-ences with the ambitious aim “to constitute architectural space as an object of study.”1 Even though sociology was included in the title of the colloquium, it was linguistics that fascinated the two most prominent contributors, Henri Lefebvre ...
Afterword: Toward an Architecture of Jouissance
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Only a few months before fi nishing this book, I found, in a private archive, Henri Lefebvre’s unpub-lished manuscript with the title “Vers une architec-ture de la jouissance” (Toward an Architecture of Jouissance). The history of this 225-page manuscript requires additional study; what is clear by now is that it was commissioned and written within the framework of a larger research project in 1973, thus one year before the publication of The Production of Space, but never ...
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Writing this book involved a lot of talking, and I am grateful for all the conver-sations that this book occasioned and was sometimes a pretext for. I thank the former students, friends, collaborators, colleagues, and companions of Henri Lefebvre, including Nicole Beaurain, Ricardo Bofi ll, Philippe Boudon, Maïté Clavel, Monique Coornaert, Dan Ferrand-Beshmann, Jean-Pierre Frey, Mario ...
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Page Count: 400
Publication Year: 2011