Walking Along, Wandering Off and Going Astray A Critical Normativity Approach to Walking as a Situated Architectural Experience

Detta är en avhandling från Lund University

Sammanfattning: There is a lack of attention toward the diversity in experiences of architecture that are expressed through walking. Through the application of autoethnography and critical perspectives of queer and feminist theory, this dissertation develops a method for investigating experiences of architecture in regard to the activity of walking. In addition, this thesis addresses the influence of form, materiality, and social aspects on walk conditions, thus providing architectural perspectives on design and planning that aim to address a heterogeneity among people who walk or are involved in walk matters in their everyday life.
The result is an investigatory framework—critical normativity—that consists of three components: observations through a walk diary, the walk technique going astray, and the theoretical application of a critical terminology. These components work to address and situate experiences of spatiality and materiality and their impact on our walk experiences. The walk diary is a data collecting technique that stresses subjectivity of experiences, going astray is an approach that should encourage associations and openness in attitude in the investigatory phase, and the critical terminology is a theoretical framework addressing normativity and thereby positioning the interpretations of the empirical material. The applied main concepts of the critical terminology are: dis-/orientation, background/foreground, performativity, differences, situated knowledges and partial perspective, all of which are derived from queer and feminist theory.
The dissertation shows that the researchers, eventually also designers and planners, will benefit from actively engaging themselves in the world of walking by reflecting and incorporating their own walk experiences into their methods and work, in order to develop empathy with the research topic, as well as critically situating their own knowledge perspectives. This way—i.e. by applying a critical normativity—the formation of walk related identities will inevitably activate: questions of e.g. desires; power to act; identity formation; subjectivity and temporality in regard to the experiences of space and materiality. In the application of the investigatory framework—critical normativity—the impact and dynamics of time, in regard to variation in action possibilities, are also addressed. This points to the fact that, in order to include a range of walk needs and behaviors, perception of difference—in particular difference that has not been pre-defined—in itself should be addressed, along with further development of performativity perspectives and identity formation as important constituents of walk conditions.

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