Political Theory Research Group series 2016/17: 21 September
Hulme Crescents, Manchester 1979 Photo credit: Alan Denney (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)
The 2016-17 PTRG Programme kicked off with a cross-disciplinary paper examining the interplay between political theory and architecture. Tahl’s research seeks to apply political theory frameworks not only to overtly political cases but also to approaches and case studies in architecture. In particular he focuses on the process of ‘récupération’, whereby critiques of dominant practices in either politics or architecture are ‘coopted’ by the very practices that they challenge. Through co-optation or récupération such critiques are ‘absorbed by society and transformed from a threat to the system into an integral part of it.’ Building on the work of a range of political theorists, most notably Ernesto Laclau, this paper looks to provide an analysis and reconstruction of this process in order to arrive at a model for better understanding how récupération functions within architecture. Tahl looks to situate this discussion within the context of the influential social critiques which emerged from the protest movements of 1968.
Political Theory Research Group seminar series: 30 Mar 2016
In contemporary political philosophy, particularly in transitional justice debates, narrative has been taken to play a prominent practical role. Thinkers such as Martha Nussbaum, Richard Rorty and Paul Ricoeur have argued that narrative-inspired imagination is able to facilitate our capacity of critical and reflective political judgement and public deliberation. Critics, meanwhile, have questioned this ability of narrative. Continue reading
As the recent controversies surrounding Cecil Rhodes’ statues in South Africa and the UK have shown, public constructions attest to political regimes’ desire to imprint their version of history on the country’s landscape and, more importantly, on the memory of citizens. Statues, memorials and monuments set in stone a certain view of the past, usually in glorious and heroic terms. Hierarchies of all kinds (political, social, racialised, gendered) are reflected in – and reproduced through – public art, one of the many ‘voices’ through which the state speaks. What is celebrated or commemorated is as significant as what is forgotten: defeats, reprehensible deeds by the nation, as well as marginalized groups are usually omitted from the material representation of the official story.
The Voortrekker Monument, South Africa