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Henri Lefebvre on Space

Henri Lefebvre on Space: Architecture, Urban Research, and the Production of Theory

Łukasz Stanek
Copyright Date: 2011
Edition: NED - New edition
Pages: 392
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  • Book Info
    Henri Lefebvre on Space
    Book Description:

    In this innovative work, ukasz Stanek frames a uniquely contextual appreciation of Henri Lefebvre’s idea that space is a social product. Stanek explicitly confronts both the philosophical and the empirical foundations of Lefebvre’s oeuvre, especially his direct involvement in urban development, planning, and architecture. Stanek offers a deeper and clearer understanding of Lefebvre’s thought and its implications for the present day.

    eISBN: 978-0-8166-7672-9
    Subjects: Architecture and Architectural History

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. Introduction
    (pp. vii-xvi)

    This book addresses the encounter among sociology, architecture, urbanism, 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 between 1968 and 1974, contributed both to an understanding of these processes that have staked out the tendencies of the global urban condition until today and to a redefinition of the identities of the disciplines involved,...

  4. 1 Henri Lefebvre: The Production of Theory
    (pp. 1-80)

    The increasing international interest in the theory 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 Lefebvre’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 vanishing of the international communist movements and the decline of the communist parties; and given the gradual dismantling of the...

  5. 2 Research: From Practices of Dwelling to the Production of Space
    (pp. 81-132)

    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 practices that, in turn, appropriate space as their tool, medium, and milieu was developed in Lefebvre’s writings fromThe Right to the City(1968) toThe 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 review will allow tracking the origins and the stakes of Lefebvre’s work.

    Before turning to such sources of the concept of the production of...

  6. 3 Critique: Space as Concrete Abstraction
    (pp. 133-164)

    In an interview in 1970 Lefebvre recalled a 1943 conversation in Aix-de-Provence with Léon Brunschvicg, his former professor of philosophy at the Sorbonne. Commenting 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 German soldier encounters a Soviet soldier and one kills the other one. This was consistent, argued Lefebvre, with Brunschvicg’s understanding of thinking as being about judgments, thus about singular things, rather than about universal concepts. Clearly, Brunschvicg’s view of the battle was not totally wrong, according to Lefebvre, who continued...

  7. 4 Project: Urban Society and Its Architecture
    (pp. 165-248)

    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 tourist new town of Port Grimaud under the topic of architecture and the social sciences 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 and Manfredo Tafuri. Tafuri called for an analysis of structuralism as one of the ideologies of the capitalist city, representing the belief...

  8. Afterword: Toward an Architecture of Jouissance
    (pp. 249-252)

    Only a few months before finishing this book, I found, in a private archive, Henri Lefebvre’s unpublished manuscript with the title “Vers une architecture de la jouissance” (Toward an Architecture ofJouissance). 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 ofThe Production of Space,but never published, since the head of the project considered it unsuitable for the project’s purpose.

    The manuscript is divided into twelve chapters. It begins with...

  9. Acknowledgments
    (pp. 253-254)
  10. Notes
    (pp. 255-304)
  11. Bibliography
    (pp. 305-348)
  12. Index
    (pp. 349-370)
  13. Back Matter
    (pp. 371-371)