The script-analogue and its application in architectural analysis: the relationship of African women to African traditional architecture
Arceneaux, Kathleen Dugas
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This work involves the presentation of an original critical theory, termed the "script-analogue", for the discovery of significance in works of traditional architecture within their cultural contexts. The theory includes a set of related ideas about the relationship of architecture and culture, and uses these ideas as a method to analyze the relationship of African women to African traditional architecture. The use of the script as an analogue refers to the script as it is used in theater, and indicates that the relationship of the individual, culture, and the architectural environment is dynamic and interactive. The "script-analogue" derives from post-structural thought, and modifies and expands on some of its themes to make them directly applicable in the context of architecture. lt represents a dynamic analytical alternative to the reading of architecture as “text”. In the "script-analogue" theory, culture is represented through the actions of individuals, who are members simultaneously of a culture and overlapping and modifying sub-cultures. Who an individual is, culturally and sub-culturally, is important in the relationship of the individual to architecture. The theory offers a means by which gender differences, in terms of "who" builds and uses architecture, can be addressed in research, through the investigation of metaphors of significance to women, and thus it can facilitate research which focuses on women. The concept of architecture is expanded to include both the built environment, and the unbuilt environment which is designated to be of significance through language. Memory is the means by which significance in architecture is given continuity. The term commemorative is used to indicate the commemoration, through architectural forms, of the appropriate actions of individuals within culture. The term orientative indicates that the locations of architectural forms and spaces, and the orientations of people to architecture, are factors in the memory of architectural significance and propriety of actions. The "script-analogue" proposes that architectural significance can be discovered through investigations of the metaphor in language, and that metaphor is the means by which cultural themes exist in an inter-connected relationship to each other. Ritual, as metaphorical action which takes place in an architectural setting, activates the script, and connects it to other cultural and sub-cultural themes outside of the local and specific conditions. This inter-connectedness is termed in the "script-analogue", transcendence through metaphor. The substance of this dissertation comprises both an explanation of the ideas involved in the "script-analogue" theory, and examples of its application. In addition to the findings generated by the application of the "script-analogue" to the relationship of African women to African traditional architecture, this dissertation suggests other applications of the theory, such as evaluations of housing design in Africa, and it attempts to bridge the gap between architectural theory and practice.
- Doctoral Dissertations