The (ab)use of Foucauldian Analytics of Power in Architectural History

One of the themes of the forthcoming SEAARC Symposium is on “Space, Society and Power”. In the Call for Papers, we argue that scholars of architectural history in general might have over-relied on formal analysis in their understanding of power and architecture, which in turn led to too easy a correlation between the effect of power with formal qualities. We suggest that there might be other theories and methods that provide more sophisticated ways of understanding the complex relationship between architecture and power. One of the many theories and methods invoked was the Foucauldian analytics of power.

Interestingly, two participants of the symposium have published two short pieces in ABE Journal: European Architecture beyond Europe on the use of Foucauldian analytics of power in colonial architectural history that might be of interest to readers of this blog. The first piece is a very eloquent critique of Foucauldian theories by keynote speaker Prof. Mark Crinson. For what it is worth, my response to Prof. Crinson’s critique is available here ( and here (direct link to the open access journal).


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