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Fragile republic : defragmenting the public space in Sarajevo's museums quadrant

Harrington, Selma and Dimitrijevic, Branka and Salama, Ashraf M. (2019) Fragile republic : defragmenting the public space in Sarajevo's museums quadrant. In: Field Conditions, 2019-01-24 - 2019-01-25.

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Abstract

The discourse on modernism has been linking the agency of architecture in public space to the processes of modernisation and, by implication, progress, along with a realisation that a ‘stand-alone’ approach to the history of architecture, focused on the selected buildings and their designers, is not enough. Independently, the work of sociologists and the critical theory investigations in the humanities have brought their focus closer to the studies of contemporary architecture, resonating with the internal demands for rejection of the reductionist approach, which had consigned architectural phenomena to the analysis of style. As a result, the architectural research has begun to resort to sociology and cultural studies, borrowing their methods of observation in order to build a better phenomenological understanding of own field and subject, and placing them within a synchronistic flux of cultural, political and social developments. This paper seeks to examine the concepts of the communicative action, as developed by Jürgen Habermas (1928-) and potentially apply them on the analysis of the urban micro-zone of Marijin Dvor in Sarajevo, following the transformations of this originally designated administrative and cultural heart of the socialist city, the capital of Bosnia and Herzegovina. Departing from Habermas’ notion of the structural differentiation of Lifeworld, the selected area is observed through its historic phases, characterised by convergence, divergence and conflict, with a view to developing a discursive template. Its model is conceived as a combination of the spatial urban pattern coupled with communicative acts, framed as synchronistic sequences of a specific and local narrative. It is suggested that such graphic modelling with a symbolical re-enactment of communicative acts in public space contributes to the interpretive potential and understanding of the behaviour patterns of different societal groups, which could have a role in reconciling of the conflicting and destructive trends in public sphere.