The Social Dynamics of Built Environments
Monumentality, Place-making and Social Interaction on Late Bronze Age Cyprus - (Volume 17) - Kevin D. Fisher
Kevin D. Fisher [+]
University of British Columbia
Chapter 3 provides a basis for what I call an integrative approach through a discussion of the social dynamics of the built environment. Using the contemporary open office as a case study, I explore the profound impact that spatial configuration and materials have on social interaction, power relations, and sensory perception and experience. The theoretical approaches of Bourdieu and Giddens are then introduced and critiqued as a way of understanding the recursive relationship between social interaction and the formation and reproduction of social structures. In order to examine this relationship and develop methods for its investigation, I turn to a number of concepts developed from environment-behaviour studies that highlight the importance of the co-presence of social actors and how it is affected by the built environment. Phenomena such as proxemics, territoriality, and privacy, provide insights into the embodied nature of social interaction. I conclude by advocating the need to see the creation and use of built space as a process of place-making, emphasizing the agency and materiality of the built environment as both a product and producer of social life.