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Civic pedagogy and performative spatial practice to critique, reclaim, and produce public space in Amman

YAGHI, AMRO (2019) Civic pedagogy and performative spatial practice to critique, reclaim, and produce public space in Amman. PhD thesis, University of Sheffield.

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Public space in Amman, Jordan is in transition. A combination of pressures (commodification, neoliberal economics, authoritarian forms of political control, and social and spatial inequalities) have led to the emergence of ‘pseudo-public space’: space that appears to be public, but to which access is restricted. This research aims to explore and to challenge this situation. It uses an innovative combination of participative action research, civic pedagogy, and performative spatial practice to question the ways in which existing public spaces are being inhabited, and to suggest a series of resistant alternatives The thesis explores different definitions of ‘pubic space’ and their relation to political, social and economic theory, paying particular attention to the Marxist critical literature around right to the city (Lefebvre, Harvey), and to feminist theories of identity and embodiment in the city (Butler’s notions of the ‘right to appear’). Methodologically, it develops a series of tactics that aim to provoke a critical attitude to existing public spaces, and to suggest alternative and more inclusive forms of publicness, drawing particular attention to the emancipatory role that contemporary universities can play. The research methodology proceeded in three phases. Firstly, testing forms of performative intervention and constructed situations to reveal the invisible rules and power inequalities that permeate public space in Amman. Secondly, formulating a response to these findings, using a process of mediation to explore courses of action that can actively engage with the status quo and intervene to effect change. Thirdly, developing a set of local, civic pedagogical tactics with the intention of sustaining activism towards the production of a raised form of civic awareness, leading to new and more democratic forms of public space. The research found that performative interventions could reveal alternative modes of knowledge, developed in everyday experience. This epistemology was sensitive to the significance of gender, class, and ethnicity, recognizing that different groups had very different experiences of public space. It also recognised the significance of academic institutions as mediators, uncovering their capacity to deploy resources and to act as a link between civil society institutions and the state. By the end of the research, I was able to suggest ideas for future design activism, to expand the resistant forms of practice that had emerged.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Academic Units: The University of Sheffield > Faculty of Social Sciences (Sheffield) > School of Architecture (Sheffield)
The University of Sheffield > Faculty of Social Sciences (Sheffield)
Depositing User: mr AMRO YAGHI
Date Deposited: 07 May 2020 16:42
Last Modified: 11 May 2020 13:01
URI: http://etheses.whiterose.ac.uk/id/eprint/26784

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