Spatial Registers of Justice and the Idea of the Public Realm

Patterson, Richard (2009) Spatial Registers of Justice and the Idea of the Public Realm In: Justice and Architecture, 25-27 November 2009, Lincoln, United Kingdom. (Unpublished)

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Fundamental to the principle of justice is the notion of ‘equality’, equality before the law, equal opportunities, etc., aligned with which are various spatial metaphors, e.g. ‘level playing field’. The space of justice is thus in significant ways a space without qualities, abstract, neutral, balanced and disinterested in its formal groundings. These qualities of social discourse, however, engage the spatial metaphor materially through architecture and the discourse of architecture through aesthetics. The space of justice becomes the space of the theatre of the public realm. The space of the city. This paper seeks to identify the origins of this set of correlations and translations in the development of the concept of space in the neoclassical Western tradition. It proposes a set of qualitative distinctions that characterise its developmental structure as symbolic language, imaginary identity, and ineffable potency, noting the explicit problematic posed for this tripartite construct by the advent of Modernism. The paper will conclude in noting the correspondence of competing definitions of ‘space’ with competing histories, values, and social trajectories.

Item Type: Contribution to conference proceedings in the public domain (Abstract)
Uncontrolled Keywords: Justice, Space, Public Realm
Subjects: K000 Architecture, Building and Planning > K100 Architecture
Faculties: Faculty of Arts > School of Architecture and Design
Depositing User: Dr. Richard Patterson
Date Deposited: 16 Nov 2009
Last Modified: 01 Apr 2015 12:34

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