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Thinking Through Antinomies: An Enquiry into Manfredo Tafuri's Historical Method

Corna, Luisa Lorenza (2016) Thinking Through Antinomies: An Enquiry into Manfredo Tafuri's Historical Method. PhD thesis, University of Leeds.

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Abstract

The following thesis addresses Manfredo Tafuri's historical and critical method. It considers a selection of studies conducted by the Italian historian at different moments of his intellectual trajectory, and it explores how his unorthodox approach succeeded in challenging established architectural accounts and in exposing the ideologically constructed figure of the architect. The thesis takes its points of departure from Fredric Jameson's interpretation of Tafuri and Francesco Dal Co's book Modern Architecture as a story of sequential failed attempts to resolve the contradiction between the city and the building (or more abstractly, between totality and individual work). Expanding on Jameson's reading, it illustrates how, in the selection of works considered, Tafuri organises his narrative around pairs of (apparently) antinomic terms such as plan and Plan, image and fragment, rule and licence, reality and utopia. Central to the thesis is also the charting of the theoretical and political encounters that shaped Tafuri's mode of thinking. Chapter One focuses on Tafuri and Italian Workerism. It investigates how the Frankfurt School-inflected critique of planning initiated by the founder of Workerism Raniero Panzieri inspired Tafuri's own reading of urban planning. It also looks at the way Tafuri extended the critique of intellectual labour advanced within the frame of the Italian Marxist journal Contropiano to the domain of architecture. Chapter Two tackles Tafuri's analysis of the use of fragment and fragmentation in the work of the Venetian etcher Giambattista Piranesi and in that of the 20th-century avant-garde. It contends that Tafuri's exploration of the meaning of the fragment in works dating from different historical moments is intended to reveal the effect of capitalist development on the communicative potential of form. Chapter Three takes its lead from the 1977 text 'The Historical "Project"', in which Tafuri establishes a set of guidelines for the historical research which will inform his study of Renaissance architecture in the following years. It examines how the application of this method allows Tafuri to challenge established historical accounts of the Renaissance such as that of Rudolf Wittkower. Finally, Chapter Four returns to Tafuri's earliest interventions in the post-war Italian architectural debate. Whereas the first part considers journal articles on the question of the replanning of Rome, the second focuses on a selection of texts tackling the discussion over the new urban scale and architectural neo-realism.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Keywords: Manfredo Tafuri, Architecture, Architectural Historiography, Marxism, Workerism, Critical Theory, Fredric Jameson, Dialectical Criticism
Academic Units: The University of Leeds > Faculty of Arts, Humanities and Cultures (Leeds) > Fine Art, History of Art & Cultural Studies (Leeds)
Depositing User: miss luisa corna
Date Deposited: 27 Mar 2017 11:18
Last Modified: 27 Mar 2017 11:18
URI: http://etheses.whiterose.ac.uk/id/eprint/15796

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