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Henri Lefebvre on Space

Architecture, Urban Research, and the Production of Theory

2011
Author:

Lukasz Stanek

Henri Lefebvre on Space

Shows how Lefebvre’s theory of space developed out of direct engagement with architecture, urbanism, and urban sociology

In this innovative work, Łukasz Stanek frames a uniquely contextual appreciation of Henri Lefebvre’s idea that space is a social product. Stanek explicitly confronts both the philosophical and the empirical foundations of Lefebvre’s oeuvre, especially his direct involvement in urban development, planning, and architecture. Stanek offers a deeper and clearer understanding of Lefebvre’s thought and its implications for the present day.

Henri Lefebvre’s diverse contributions to sociospatial and urban theory have inspired considerable commentary in recent years. Łukasz Stanek’s brilliant, erudite book takes the discussion to a new level of philosophical sophistication while also grounding Lefebvre’s work in relation to a series of concrete engagements with architecture and urbanism in postwar France. This is a pathbreaking work, indispensable for anyone concerned to understand Lefebvre’s powerful contemporary resonance as an urban thinker.

Neil Brenner, New York University

In this innovative work, Łukasz Stanek frames a uniquely contextual appreciation of Henri Lefebvre’s idea that space is a social product. Stanek explicitly confronts both the philosophical and the empirical foundations of Lefebvre’s oeuvre, especially his direct involvement in the fields of urban development, planning, and architecture.

Countering the prevailing view, which reduces Lefebvre’s theory of space to a projection of his philosophical positions, Stanek argues that Lefebvre’s work grew out of his concrete, empirical engagement with everyday practices of dwelling in postwar France and his exchanges with architects and planners. Stanek focuses on the interaction between architecture, urbanism, sociology, and philosophy that occurred in France in the 1960s and 1970s, which was marked by a shift in the processes of urbanization at all scales, from the neighborhood to the global level. Lefebvre’s thinking was central to this encounter, which informed both his theory of space and the concept of urbanization becoming global.

Stanek offers a deeper and clearer understanding of Lefebvre’s thought and its implications for the present day. At a time when cities are increasingly important to our political, spatial, and architectural world, this reassessment proposes a new empirical, and practical, interpretation of Lefebvre’s ideas on urbanism.

Henri Lefebvre on Space

Łukasz Stanek is a researcher and teacher at the Institute of History and Theory of Architecture at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich.

Henri Lefebvre on Space

Henri Lefebvre’s diverse contributions to sociospatial and urban theory have inspired considerable commentary in recent years. Łukasz Stanek’s brilliant, erudite book takes the discussion to a new level of philosophical sophistication while also grounding Lefebvre’s work in relation to a series of concrete engagements with architecture and urbanism in postwar France. This is a pathbreaking work, indispensable for anyone concerned to understand Lefebvre’s powerful contemporary resonance as an urban thinker.

Neil Brenner, New York University

This book is a strong and important reassessment of the theories and writings of Lefebvre. As cities are becoming more and more an essential part of our political, spatial, and architectural world, Łukasz Stanek launches a type of new generational take on Lefebvre, one that is both more contextual and more speculative.

Mark Jarzombek, MIT

Henri Lefebvre on Space, liberally interspersed with original images and documents, is a pleasure to read. Stanek has seen and conversed with everyone in recent years—disciples friends, and companions still living. It is certainly true that we can understand nothing of Lefebvre if we neglect his encounters, liaisons and friendships. Equally, Stanek has exhaustively and impressively profiled and catalogued Lefebvre’s contributions to radio and television.

Architectural Theory Review

Stanek’s book on the French urban sociologist Henri Lefebvre is a detailed, well-researched and balanced account of both Lefebvre’s intellectual biography and the development of his conceptual frameworks.

Space and Culture

Stanek’s insightful book is refreshing for its emphasis on the production of thought as a truly creative and politically engaged act.

Annals of the Association of American Geographers

Łukasz Stanek ha escrito el libro sobre Henri Lefebvre que la arquitectura y el urbanismo necesitaban hace tiempo.

Biblio 3W

A fully rendered portrait of Lefebvre through his work and collaborations.

Journal of Architecture

A new critical perspective. . . Scholars unfamiliar with Lefebvre will find a well-researched account on the production of his theory, which can serve as a good starting point for an engagement with it, and, to conclude, those who are skeptical of Lefebvre’s theorisations will have the opportunity to approach the object of their skepticism from a new angle.

Urban Studies

Henri Lefebvre on Space

Introduction
1. Henri Lefebvre: The Production of Theory
2. Research: From Practices of Habitation to the Production of Space
3. Critique: Space as Concrete Abstraction
4. Project: Urban Society and its Architecture
Afterword: Toward an Architecture of Jouissance
Acknowledgments
Notes
Bibliography
Index