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Title: Smooth operators : architectural Deleuzism in societies of control
Author: Spencer, Douglas
ISNI:       0000 0004 2736 0903
Awarding Body: University of Westminster
Current Institution: University of Westminster
Date of Award: 2012
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This thesis is concerned with the contributions of certain tendencies in architecture to the operation of contemporary modalities of power, especially in respect of its processes of subjectivation. Focused upon the mechanisms of what the philosopher Gilles Deleuze termed a ‘society of control’, it also attends to the presentation by figures prominent within architectural theory and practice—through their own translations of Deleuze, and his writings with Félix Guattari, as well as their mobilisations of ‘complexity theory’—of their servicing of this emergent mode of power as being in some way ‘progressive’. Naming this tendency in contemporary architectural discourse and practice ‘architectural Deleuzism’, and drawing upon a range of thought including that of Deleuze and Guattari themselves, as well as the work of Michel Foucault, the Frankfurt School and more contemporary critical perspectives, I contest its claims to the progressive in any sense other than that in which it serves the advancement of the marketisation of everyday life, its conditions of precarity, and its concomitant instrumentalisation of the communicative and affective capacities of human subjectivity. This critique is pursued through an analysis of the ways in which figures such as Zaha Hadid, Patrik Schumacher, Alejandro Zaera-Polo, Farshid Moussavi and Jeff Kipnis, in their mobilisations of conceptual figures drawn from the thought of Deleuze and Guattari, have attempted to annul the practice of critique within architectural culture so as to clear the ground for a ‘post-critical’ affirmation of architecture’s contributions to corporate, entrepreneurial and governmental operations. I also attend, as the means through which to contest this affirmation, to the analysis of key architectural projects in the fields of industrial manufacture, office work, education, consumerism and media production, and the orientation of their design toward the production of swarm-modelled labourers, ‘citizen-consumers’, ‘nomadic’ student-entrepreneurs and re-engineered publics.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available