Skip navigation
Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item:
Title: Architectural Agency and the Construction of Athenian Democracy
Authors: Paga, Jessica
Advisors: Shear, Leslie
Contributors: Art and Archaeology Department
Keywords: agency
Subjects: Archaeology
Art history
Classical studies
Issue Date: 2012
Publisher: Princeton, NJ : Princeton University
Abstract: The line between democratic architecture and architecture built and used by a democracy is a fine one. Political change is frequently reflected in the built environment, and the structures and buildings are often acknowledged to be the physical framework within which events occur. In this respect, a building may become "democratic" by virtue of existing within an historical context of democracy. This interpretation, however, deprives architecture of its own agency and reduces it to a passive backdrop. In this dissertation, I seek to reinvest the built environment of ancient Athens with its own active agency. In order to do so, I have isolated a specific chronological period, 514/13 and 480/79 B.C.E. - a time when Athens underwent a violent transition from tyranny and stasis to democracy - and have broadened the scope to include all monumental structures built in the astu of Athens as well as in the Attic countryside. In so doing, I am able to recalibrate the building chronology for Late Archaic and Early Classical Athens, with the result that a comprehensive building program can be identified. This building program was not necessarily centrally funded, and certain structures may not have been centrally planned, but the overwhelming alignment of date, construction and masonry techniques, geographic distribution, and purpose warrants the assignation. The agency of the built environment within this constrained geographic and chronological region is rooted in its phenomenological investment in use and function. Several of the structures built in the early years of the new democracy were constructed to fulfill particular administrative or sacred purposes, and often performed multiple roles that fluctuated between the poles - blurring the boundaries - of sacred and profane. These buildings were meant to be used and experienced in particular ways by particular people, and it is here that their agency lies. The multitude of buildings that arose in the city and countryside of Athens during this time period helped to generate the political change by means of their plans, ornamentation, site specificity, and use. In other words, the structures built by the early democracy did not merely reflect political change, but actively worked to enable democratic functioning.
Alternate format: The Mudd Manuscript Library retains one bound copy of each dissertation. Search for these copies in the library's main catalog
Type of Material: Academic dissertations (Ph.D.)
Language: en
Appears in Collections:Art and Archaeology

Files in This Item:
File Description SizeFormat 
Paga_princeton_0181D_10429.pdf59.07 MBAdobe PDFView/Download

Items in Dataspace are protected by copyright, with all rights reserved, unless otherwise indicated.