Experimenting with The Experimental Tradition, 1989-2009: On Competitions and Architecture Research

Hélène Lipstadt


I propose that competition researchers enjoy an affirmative relationship with competitions which, if unrecognized and unavowed, prevents their
understanding the logic of practice of the essentially illogical event of competing and impedes constructing the competition as a truly scientific
object, resulting in serious deleterious consequences for competition research as an emerging discipline. The notion of affirmation is taken
from formal logic and indicates an acceptance of a relationship of terms as they are stated. A review of my 1989 theorization of the competition as
an experimental tradition and of analyses by a scholar/critic and several competition researchers supports the conclusion that the belief in competition as a disinterested act subordinates scholarship to the  reconstructions or representations of both ordinary knowledge and scholarly
knowledge. Conceiving competitions as disinterested displays the intellectualism which constructs ordinary practice on the model of scholarly
thinking and reiterates architects own inherent intellectualism. I argue that exorcising preconstructions is the precondition for the construction of a scientific object and propose that Pierre Bourdieus sociology of the field of cultural production and thinking the competition in terms of field enables a break with the affirmative relation. Conceiving the field as a space of
objective relations requires relational thinking. If thought relationally, as a field, the competition ceases to be seen by the scholar as-it-is and since that as it is, includes the relationship of terms as stated of the architects and scholars belief in the disinterestedness of the competition, affirmation ends.

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