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The house, we learn as the oppositions unfold, is a microcosm that reflects the macrocosm of Kabyle society. Architecture is a world apart from the universe of the Kabyle. Matter is neutral and passive, while the revelation of hidden symbolic meanings miraculously allows us to make sense of the Berber house design. For Bourdieu, the house does not simply reflect the macrocosm of the Kabyle society but also reproduces the oppositions that are found in society in its internal world. He says that: ‘the opposition which is set up between the external world and the house only takes on its full meaning therefore if one of the terms of this relation, that is to say, the house, is itself seen as being divided according to the same principles which oppose it to the other term’ (Bourdieu 1971: 159).

Women are entrusted with responsibility for objects that belong to the dark part, while men deal with objects from the light-filled upper part. Other oppositions follow. The dividing wall splits the world of the house in two between ‘the house of the human beings’ and ‘the house of the animals’. Bourdieu notes the whole range of possible binary oppositions: fields – market; private life – public life; openness – secrecy; light – dark; life – death; male – female; outside – inside; humans – animals; heaven – earth; fire – water; cooked – raw; high – low; day – night; fertilizing – fertile; culture – nature.

What I find to be particularly problematic with these lists is the implicit role given to the social sciences: they are expected to provide the solutions. It is assumed by these theorists that the social should be explanans and occupy the position of a cause. Architecture is the ad explananda which is reduced to the role of effect. Yet, science studies have shown that the social sciences are part of the problem (Callon et al. 1986). Hence, social sciences will not lead us to a better understanding of built environment.

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36 Modeles Pour Une Maison


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