Laura T. Di Summa (formerly Di Summa-Knoop)
William Paterson University of New Jersey
The relationship between architecture and urban centers and concepts such as community and identity is undeniably complex and has been described, by both philosophers and architectural theorists, in radically different ways. In this essay, I will focus on the contrast between the role of architecture and cities as providers of a sense of identity while also emphasizing the risks associated with this conception. I will begin with an overview of a few theories arguing—on aesthetic, moral, and functional grounds—for the necessity of a connection among architecture, identity, and community. I will then move, in the second part, to what can be seen as the critical and theoretical dismantling of such a notion: a dismantling that, however, does not end the discussion of identity as much as it problematizes it. Architecture and urbanism, I aim to show, are still discussing the means and terms of the debate on identity, but the interpretation of such a concept has changed in significant ways. Specifically, in the second and last section of the essay, I will argue for what I will refer to as a terminological and conceptual change: for if identity is lost, or too ambitious a goal, identification, and the practices leading to it are still “in the making.” Learning to identify might be even harder than finding identity, but it has become an essential skill in our present, multicultural, and dangerously fluctuating society.
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DOI 10.1080/20539320.2016.1256066
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The Constitution of Selves.Marya Schechtman (ed.) - 1996 - Cornell University Press.
The Constitution of Selves.Christopher Williams & Marya Schechtman - 1998 - Philosophical Review 107 (4):641.

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