Architecture and a Grammar of Collective Life

Cameron McEwan*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review

5 Downloads (Pure)


In the current period the predominance of the individual over the collective reigns supreme. In electoral politics, individual personality is preferred over substantial policy. An ethics of freedom and individual rights translates to a culture of consumer rights. In economics, the entrepreneurial spirit is glorified and neoliberal capitalism amplifies the self-interest of individuals. Market-value supersedes use-value. The broader social and cultural trend is toward total self-expression. Identity politics has heightened the hostility to self-expression and amplified difference. In theoretical discourse, the narrative of “post-political” and “post-critical” has severed the individual from political and critical agency. In architecture, the aura of individuality continues in the trend of what used to be called “iconic” or “spectacular” buildings, but today the iconic, the spectacular, and the different is everywhere to the point of banality. Technology, social media, and changing social and economic relationships have made it more possible to live, work, and even socialize alone. The pandemic has served to intensify the isolation.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationLiving Together
EditorsBorbála Papp
Place of PublicationRome
PublisherNon Architecture Publications
Publication statusPublished - 25 Apr 2021
Externally publishedYes


Dive into the research topics of 'Architecture and a Grammar of Collective Life'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this