ANTHROPOLOGY
OF HABITAT AND ARCHITECTURE


 

ARCHITECTURE, SPACE
AND SEDENTARY CULTURE
*
Outlines of a Theory of
Cultural Evolution based on the
architecturally demarcated settlement

Towards a Global Anthropology of
"Homo Territorialis"

by Nold Egenter


 
In this short presentation 'Anthropology of Habitat and Architecture' (AHA) can be characterised with the following 5 points.
 


1
ARCHITECTURE THEORY

The anthropologically defined architectural theory criticises Modernism and Post- modernism with regard to the following points:
 


2
TOWARDS AN
ANTHROPOLOGICALLY DEFINED ARCHITECTURAL THEORY

To outdate the ever changing history of styles, architecture is redefined anthropologically. It is now considered as everything built by man and his predecessors. Four classes are distinguished:

Anthropology of Habitat and Architecture (AHA) is the top term which heads new branches of research like: Architectural anthropology introduces a new protocultural artifact, which, theoretically can be assumed with a temporal depth of about 22 million years ago, the routined nightly nest building of the great apes. This new temporal depth related to architecture reveals its demiurgical impacts on man and culture: Did architecture create man?

In the framework of a "fibroconstructive material culture" one of the most basic aesthetic principles to which the whole premodern architecture of the world referred, becomes visible, categorical polarity.

The term 'PRO-portion' is synonymous to the term 'vertical polarity scheme'. The same structural scheme can be found horizontally as the 'horizontal polarity scheme' (or 'access-place scheme'). Polarity as intentionally harmonious per-/conception is incompatible to analytical (that is scientific) cognition. Polarity as a primarily aesthetic system of cognition leads us to interesting further insights, namely to a new approach in cultural theory:


3
CULTURAL THEORY

The systematic investigation into evolutionary processes of hominoid and hominid demarcations and their form and function within temporary and perennial settlements is very fruitful. It indicates clear lines of theoretical developments for a new fibroconstructive prehistory:

First tools as cutters for building materials triggered two architectural revolutions: Nightcamp-nests, fibrous signs for paths, nutrition and rest considerably increased constructive capacity and territorial control over increasingly large and complex domains: Increasing complexity of house-and settlement evolution produced:


Early empire-and city formations in the Bronze Age can be explained as spatial extension through monumentalisation of the demarcation system

Besides script developped Written history as linear time opposed to cyclic time of the predynastic village cultures created tensions between centralistic city and state formations and rural agrarian landscapes: Methodologically the approach operates according to evolutionary principles. This is in great contrast to conventional rationalistic theories. Evidently, the disciplines of the Humanities are a very late concept for classifying cultural phenomena. This means that we are working with a system which may considerably distort early conditions of cultures. This critical questioning is also valid in regard to non-European cultures showing very different roots.
 
 

4
CULTURE(S) CRITICAL

The title 'Implosion' rests on the German philosopher O. F. Bollnow's anthropology of space and is meant critically in the sense that modern humans have lost the scale for their activities.

Bollnow has shown that human space perception evolved with the evolution resp. the expansion of the habitat. The history of religion is an interesting field for such research. Even today many historians of religion tend to translate 'cosmogonic' texts without doubts with our modern universal concepts, even if it is evident that the content is related to the organisation of a village or a town. In its first phase Christianism was essentially based on Neoplatonism, which postulates an "ideal realism". History as a method refers to 'civilisations' , that is to so called advanced and 'high-cultures' which had monumentality and script. Seen in the framework of anthropology, this reveals widely as fiction. However, on a closer look, most of these historical 'origins' reveal their essence as 'transitional fields' between deep rooted prehistoric agrarian village cultures and the new, socially bilevelled, theocratic organisation of early city states (Ancient Near East and Egypt, India, China, Japan). Science is not an absolute achievement of Greek and/or European humans.
5
GLOBAL ANTHROPOLOGY

Anthropology is still essentially influenced by its own historic conditions (Mühlmann 1968).

The attempt to consider the 'social' as the basis of a 'social anthropology' remained theoretically deceiving. All these weak points, the fixation of its subdisciplines on history and the incapacity to become a top-term of human studies are preventing it from becoming scientifically efficient. Anthropology can thus enter into competition with the methods of history in regard to efficiency, by critically showing the weaknesses of these approaches. Very important: Habitat anthropology works with methods equal to those of the natural sciences. In this way it may become successful to transgress the conventional merely historical image of cultures and arrive at a new, anthropologically founded world view of global and humane dimensions.
 
 

6
CONCLUSION

The evolution of the "toposemantic demarcation systems" of the protohuman and human habitat indicates promising approaches with fruitful new perspectives. It depends on the capacity to surpass the inertia conventionally incarnated in the apparatus of the humanistic domain, as this is shown in the 'spiritual sciences' (Geisteswissenschaften) based on Platonism and its derivates. But, maybe if some dynamic research capacities devote themselves to build up this new systematic view on sources of human body, spatial behaviour and object production, as well as parallel ideas, our world might look quite different after some time. The glorious ingeniosity with which man plagues himself, will implode (=> 'IMPLOSION') to the most important detail, some sort of cell and its relations to the environment, in short, the structural conditions of human culture.