Nation-states have long used representational architecture to
create symbolic identities for public consumption both at home and
abroad. Government buildings, major ensembles and urban plans have
a visibility that lends them authority, while their repeated
portrayals in the media cement their image as icons of a shared
national character. Existing in tandem with this official self,
however, is a second, often divergent identity, represented by the
vast realm of domestic space defined largely by those who occupy it
as well as those with a vested interest in its cultural meaning.
Using both historical inquiry and visual, spatial and film
analysis, this book explores the interaction of these two
identities, and its effect on political control, class status, and
gender roles. Conflicted Identities examines the politicization of
both public and domestic space, especially in societies undergoing
rapid cultural transformation through political, social or economic
expansion or restructuring, when cultural identity is being rapidly
"modernized", shifted, or realigned to conform to new demands.
Using specific examples from a variety of national contexts, the
book examines how vernacular housing, legislation, marketing, and
media influence a large, but often underexposed domestic culture
that runs parallel to a more publicly represented one. As a case in
point, the book examines West Germany from the end of World War II
to the early 1970s to probe more deeply into the mechanisms of such
cultural dichotomy. On a national level, post-war West Germany
demonstratively rejected Nazi-era values by rebuilding cities based
on interwar modernist tenets, while choosing a decidedly modern and
transparent architecture for high-visibility national projects. In
the domestic realm, government, media and everyday citizens
countered this turn to state-sponsored modernism by embracing
traditional architectural aesthetics and housing that encouraged
patriarchal family structures. Written for readers interested in
cultural theory, history, and the politics of space as well as
those engaged with architecture and the built environment,
Conflicted Identities provides an engaging new perspective on power
and identity as they relate to architectural settings.
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