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Introduction: crystallising the social condenser

Murawski, M; (2017) Introduction: crystallising the social condenser. The Journal of Architecture , 22 (3) pp. 372-386. 10.1080/13602365.2017.1322815. Green open access

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The social condenser is—as much of the content in this special issue makes plain—riven with paradoxes and contradictions: between collectivist and individualist understandings of social relations; centripetal and centrifugal motions and spatialities; determinism and indeterminacy; small and large scales; vertical and horizontal forms; mundaneness and extraordinariness; expropriatory and appropriatory economic and social logics; success and failure. This Introduction is intended to do two things: first, to provide a brief overview of some of these contradictions and paradoxes, as they have manifested themselves in the thought and work of the constructivists themselves, as well as in the work of the later interpreters and appropriators of the social condenser. Secondly, to attempt to compile—following the exhortation of Tomsk constructivist Nikolai Kuzmin—something like a dialectical history of the social condenser. To paraphrase Kuzmin loosely, we have continued to witness, especially during the past several decades, the distortion of the social condenser. This is because there are architects and theorists, working under the name of the social condenser, who have continued to interpret the social condenser primarily in terms of form, rather than in terms of political economy. A materialist perspective on the social condenser, might, then, help to make sense of, or ’crystallise’ (to use a term beloved of the constructivists) – if not resolve – a few of these paradoxes and contradictions.

Type: Article
Title: Introduction: crystallising the social condenser
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1080/13602365.2017.1322815
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.1080/13602365.2017.1322815
Language: English
Additional information: This version is the author accepted manuscript. For information on re-use, please refer to the publisher’s terms and conditions.
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > SSEES
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10058093
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