The Favored Circle: The Social Foundations of Architectural Distinction

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9780262194082: The Favored Circle: The Social Foundations of Architectural Distinction
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The popular view of architecture focuses on individual creative geniuses, those who have designed the most "significant" works. According to Garry Stevens, however, successful architects owe their success not so much to genius as to social background and a host of other factors that have very little to do with native talent. To concentrate only on the profession of architecture is to ignore the much larger field of architecture, which structures the entire social universe of the architect and of which architects are only one part. This book critically surveys that field, exposing many myths and debunking a number of heroes in the process.Using the conceptual apparatus of French sociologist Pierre Bourdieu, Stevens describes the field of architecture on two levels. First, he provides a detailed account of the field as it is at any given point in time, describing the different components and their relationships. Second, he analyzes the dynamics of the field through time, from the Renaissance to the present. He discusses the system of architectural education, as well as everyday aspects such as the competition for reputation. He concludes that throughout history, the most eminent architects have been connected to each other by master-pupil and collegiate relations. These networks, which still exist, provide a mechanism for architectural influence that runs parallel to that of the university-based schools.

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About the Author:

Garry Stevens is the founder of the Key Centre for Architectural Sociology.

Review:

"The Favored Circle is a welcome attempt to expand the field from a sociological point of view. In doing so it suggests why the world of architecture is so closed and private." -- Jeremy Melvin, The Times Literary Supplement, April 9, 1999

"The Favored Circle is a welcome attempt to expand the field from a sociological point of view. In doing so it suggests why the world of architecture is so closed and private." -- Jeremy Melvin, The Times Literary Supplement, April 9, 1999

"Nothwithstanding its splenetic resentment of the architectural intelligentsia, The Favored Circle offers litigants an indispensable reference in the quarrel between art and science. Stevens' sociology adds often illuminating statistical evidence of structural inequities in professional education and culture. With good cause, he warns us at the beginning that in order to state his case at all he has to overstate it, and his overstatements often prove startling and insightful. He sheds new light on old problems in architecture. Alternative solutions for teaching and practice he leaves up to us." -- Daniel S. Friedman, Architecture, January 1999

"Nothwithstanding its splenetic resentment of the architectural intelligentsia, The Favored Circle offers litigants an indispensable reference in the quarrel between art and science. Stevens' sociology adds often illuminating statistical evidence of structural inequities in professional education and culture. With good cause, he warns us at the beginning that in order to state his case at all he has to overstate it, and his overstatements often prove startling and insightful. He sheds new light on old problems in architecture. Alternative solutions for teaching and practice he leaves up to us." -- Daniel S. Friedman, Architecture, January 1999

"This book contains many genuine insights, including a perceptive analysis of what really goes on in architecture schools... ." -- Colin Davies, Architects Journal, April 1, 1999

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9780262692786: The Favored Circle: The Social Foundations of Architectural Distinction

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ISBN 10:  0262692783 ISBN 13:  9780262692786
Publisher: The MIT Press, 2002
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