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May 2019, English
14.8×21 cm, 448 pages, 27 b/w and 82 color ill., softcover
ISBN 978-3-95679-301-1
Adeline Mollard
Out of stock

In today’s increasingly digitalized and neoliberal societies, debates on universals and specifics have gained new momentum. This volume situates the contemporary return to universal claims and concepts in the fields of art, architecture, and urbanism, and highlights the interrelation of the specific and the universal in diverse historical situations from the nineteenth century to the present. The collection’s essays thus venture an epistemic shift of the concept of universality: from essence to modality, from the abstract and static to the performative and productive.


Are we ready again to ask universal questions? The editors and authors of this timely and refreshing volume say emphatically: Yes! But do not fear the old specter of transcendence. Each essay is packed with particulars, in a running dialogue about the specific conditions under which universals appear, and about their performative effects. Each asks: What is a universal, and what does it do? For whom, how, and why? And each responds with new critical scholarship in architecture, urbanism, and the visual arts, refashioned here as a highly particular science of universality.

— Reinhold Martin,

Columbia GSAPP, New York

To counter the populist pull of a post-truth era this collection dares to return to a thought of universality—and successfully introduces the applicable concept of the productive universal. It must work! Planetary urbanism, the algorithmic management of a global population, and climate crises are all at stake. This thought-provoking book invites architects and urbanists to think through the friction of concrete occasions toward concerns that are universally shared.

— Hélène Frichot,

KTH Royal Institute of Technology, Stockholm