Architecture and a Grammar of Collective Life

McEwan, Cameron orcid iconORCID: 0000-0002-0683-1708 (2021) Architecture and a Grammar of Collective Life. In: Living Together. Non Architecture, pp. 168-171.

[thumbnail of Version of Record]
PDF (Version of Record) - Published Version
Available under License Creative Commons Attribution Non-commercial No Derivatives.


Official URL:


In the current period, the predominance of the individual over the collective reigns supreme. In electoral politics, individual personality is preferred over substantial policy. Ethics of freedom and individual rights translates to a culture of consumer rights. In economics, the entrepreneurial spirit is glorified and neoliberal capitalism amplifies the self-interest of individuals. Market-value supersedes use-value. The broader social and cultural trend is toward total self-expression. Identity politics has heightened the hostility to self-expression and amplified difference. In theoretical discourse, the narrative of “post-political” and “post-critical” has severed the individual from the political and critical agencies. In architecture, the aura of individuality continues in the trend of what used to be called “iconic” or “spectacular” buildings, but today the iconic, the spectacular, and the different is everywhere, to the point of banality. Technology, social media, and changing social and economic relationships have made it more possible to live, work, and even socialise alone. The pandemic has served to intensify the isolation.

Repository Staff Only: item control page