The dialectic of the built environment : a study in the historical transformation of labour and space
Born out of a long term interest in history and social change and nearly two decades of involvement in building and architecture, this dissertation aims to make a contribution to both a materialist theory of the production of the built environment and to our knowledge of the history of the Russian and Soviet experience. It is not however intended as a history book, rather the spatial and temporal co-ordinates of the text, Russia and Moscow, and the historical period from the end of the eighteenth century to the early 1990 s, offer a framework within which theoretical and historical questions of a more general nature concerning the social character of labour and space can be explored. The emphasis throughout is on the concept of the social production of the built environment at the centre of which lies the labour process, understood in its most general sense as purposeful human activity. The dissertation seeks to show how changes in the dialectic of the forces of production, the physical and mental means by which the built environment is created, and the relations of property, control and power within which the production process occurs, are central to an understanding of the historical transformation of human labour, the form of buildings and the organisation of space.