Designing the Agon: Questions on Architecture, Space, Democracy and “the Political"

Teresa Hoskyns

Research output: Chapter in Book/Conference proceeding with ISSN or ISBNChapter


Hoskyns is an architectural theorist and practitioner whose research into the growing area of architectural ‘participation’ examines different theories of participation in political philosophy in order to expand the understanding of the term in architecture and explore the possibilities for the democratisation of public space and participation as a spatial practice. The essay is an illustrated work, twinned with a piece by political philosopher Chantal Mouffe, and discusses some of the research questions and spatial issues surrounding her theory of agonistic democracy. The chapter examines the theory that representative democracy excludes many differing subject positions found in the city. Conflict in the city can result from an inability to resolve conflict within the public democratic arena. The paper explores spaces of disagreement and discusses them in terms of democratic theory as well as spatial theory, with the intention of beginning to explore what would be public spaces and a Parliament for agonistic democracy. The research method combines literary analysis with empirical research (with Mouffe), including a conference contribution to the London Social Forum, London School of Economics (2003) where Hoskyns and Mouffe spoke in a session on democracy. One of the outcomes of publication was a contribution to the Bartlett/Slade Research Spaces Conference, October 2005, a one-day interdisciplinary event, Performing the Agon. This consisted of a morning workshop creating a space that became part of the research spaces exhibition (Slade/UCL, 14-20 November 2005), a paper session and an evening discussion with invited guests, Doreen Massey, Chantal Mouffe, Doina Petrescu and Jane Rendell.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationMaking Things Public: Atmospheres of Democracy
EditorsB. Latour, P. Weibel
PublisherMIT Press
Number of pages6
ISBN (Print)0262122790
Publication statusPublished - 2005


  • Agnostic
  • Democracy
  • Architecture
  • Public Spaces


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