The Many Lives of Central European Modernism

We’re pleased to introduce our discussion of Virág Molnár’s new book, Building the State: Architecture, Politics, and State Formation in Postwar Central Europe (Routledge, 2013). A sociologist by training, Molnár offers an innovative approach to studying socialist architecture and the post-socialist built environment bridging political science, sociology, and the history of architecture.Molnar book cover She suggests viewing architecture as a “strategic sight” and an “instrument” of political and social change, and the architectural profession as a key player in the process of state formation. One of the aims of the SWU project is to reflect on the methodological approaches we use for our investigations on socialist and post-socialist urbanity, and we hope that this book discussion will trigger further debate on these questions and the place of our sub-field vis-à-vis other disciplines. Agata Lisiak (Institute for Human Sciences, Vienna) and Elidor Mëhilli (Hunter College, New York City) will begin the discussion with their reviews of Molnár’s book. Readers are invited to submit comments to any of the posts in this discussion.

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