Power relations

October 9, 2013



Altering practises, as described in chapter one of Doina Petrescu’s book, is about making a change. About changing, and becoming something else. It is both an active process of changing for the positive, in a certain place and time, but could also be an authoritative way of creating change in others, or even creating a yearning, a question of  what we want to be or ”what we want the world to become”. (Petrescu, p.4)

It talks about what critical feminist theory in architecture really is. It is about discussing. First it was the ethical and emotional workings in architecture, the ’female’ concerns of building processes. Then comes the realisation that what we call feminist processes, is for the most part a way of placing yourself in a professional, political or social context by being a part of it, and wanting a change. Feminists always talk about power relations, about seeing the structure within and under the surface of society.

One of the methods mentioned in the boook is a pedagogy of asking students to remember that they are in fact also the people they talk about, the ’ordinary users’, in their society.

Like Lori Brown talks about in her ‘Introduction’ : ”What role does architecture really provide for the general public when 85 percent of the global household wealth is owned by 10 percent of the adults in the world?” (Brown, p.4)

I also remember what the lecture last week with Kvinnors Byggforum, told us about traffic power structures. About the fact that because cars has such a high status in planning in the modern world. And that it is mainly men who own a cars, who takes the car more often and on longer trips, this ofcourse makes for an uneven relationship between the users in urban society.

So lets talk about power relations on different levels, and about wanting a change in power relations, to make it better, for you and for me, and for all.

/ Klara

2 Responses to “Power relations”

  1. ninelniazi Says:

    It is a clear and good post Klara, I enjoyed reading it.
    I just wanted to add that it is the way people think men has the power or men can do more… who said women can not!
    this is because of peoples’ lifestyle women has been considered to sit at home and take care of children and it was men working out side and us the constructions (users of highways) but nowadays the percentage of women who use the same constructions are much more than 30 years ago because of changes in lifstyle and needs of people! Therefore we as professionals probably could find some way to change not only the environment but peoples mind.

  2. Johan Alvfors Says:

    Thank you for a very good post with clear statements! It made me thinking about two things:
    First your statement that feminist theory applied to architecture means discussing, on the other hand the self-placement in a context, wanting to change from our individual perspective.

    To begin with, these situations (processes) are somewhat different. One emphasises the mind, the other the body. What is the relationship between them when it comes to power relationships, external forces – and from what point do we in fact discuss or take place? Except all the experiences given by our environment and reflected by us, what is left? And what are we if not sums of the two? We are not constant, but are formed in interaction, just like our environments.

    It comes down to if there is any such thing as “being yourself”, playing that role och arguing for that standpoint – and if that would be enough as a feminist tool. I tend to thing otherwise. Because acting the way we want is a reflection of the way are expected to, maybe we should force ourself to go further, to “thwart” our own processes.


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