par Lefebvre, Pauline
Référence Women in Pragmatism (28-30/01/2020: Facultat de Filosofia, Universitat de Barcelona)
Publication Non publié, 2020-01
Communication à un colloque
Résumé : My research focuses on the past, present and potential relationships between pragmatism and architecture. I reevaluate the way in which the term was discussed when some American architects aspired to a so-called “new architectural pragmatism” in the 1990s and early 2000s. Those architects reclaimed the practical features of architecture as they felt that the discipline had been too much imbued with critical theory. This movement drew much criticism from thinkers who feared that this “post-critical” turn was to lead architects away from the safeguards of critical theory, straight into an instrumental, dangerously anti-intellectual, compliant posture. My research explores the few occasions on which pragmatism was introduced as an alternative philosophy able to temper this anti-theory movement. Yet I emphasize how pragmatism was still rarely considered as a valuable alternative to critical theory in terms of the political posture it would entail: those who feared the post-critical turn for the laissez-faire attitude it would authorize never admitted that Pragmatism could offer alternative forms of political engagements and moral responsibilities, more anchored to practice, but nonetheless highly demanding. My research highlights contributions that introduced pragmatism as a forceful alternative to critical theory in terms of the political and moral engagements it requires from practitioners and thinkers who adopt it. In this paper, I will show that this was conducted most convincingly by two women architectural historians and theoreticians: Joan Ockman who organized a major conference on pragmatism and architecture in New York in 2000, and Gwendoline Wright who was part of that event and published in its wake a series of texts connecting the influence of pragmatism with socially oriented architectural practices. Through these two figures, and through my own attempts to continue their contributions, I propose to conceptualize pragmatist forms of political engagements more embedded into practice. I will also show the role that feminist thinking plays in such conceptualization, around notions of care and situatedness.