Accepted Paper:

Architecture and social sciences' spatial turn: dialogue or monologue?  


Griselda Macareno de los Santos (Universidad de las Americas Puebla)
Leandro Rodriguez-Medina (Universidad de las Americas Puebla)

Paper short abstract:

This paper aims to show and illustrate how architects in Mexico who have been in charge of relevant projects in the public space interact with social sciences' spatial turn.

Paper long abstract:

For a long time, a discourse of interdisciplinarity has been embraced not only by academics and universities, but also by governments and funding agencies. Thus, scholars have recently begun to prioritize efficacy of their methodological and theoretical approaches over their disciplinary imperatives. However, the transition from mode 1 to mode 2 of knowledge production is not smooth and this paper aims to find out whether architects in charge of major works in the public domain (museums, government offices, schools, etc.) have relied on knowledge produced by the social sciences in order to intervene in the public space. Through in-depth interviews with architects of some of the most important firms in Mexico, we explore to what extent architects know about recent developments in the social sciences - known as the spatial turn - that might provide them significant insights for their work. In those cases where social sciences have been influential, we describe the absorptive capacity of the architectural firms, that is, the entanglement of people, objects, ideas and relationships that makes it possible to absorb knowledge from different settings, disciplines, and contexts. We conclude that the possibility of an interdisciplinary dialogue rests, among other factors, on the development of absorptive capacities by those actors (often institutions) for which knowledge is a key resource. Science is about producing more and better knowledge, but also about being able to reach the right place at the right moment.

Panel T106
Citizen science: Beyond the laboratory