Course syllabus


ARK615 ARK615 History, theory and method 6 lp3 VT22 (3 hp)

Course is offered by the department of Architecture and Civil Engineering

Contact details

Course leaders: Julia Fredriksson ( and Maja Kovács (

Examiner: Julia Fredriksson


Course purpose

Specific Learning Goals

Architecture and urban design are contributing to the construction and re-construction of societal norms and values. The aim of this course is to understand how norms are expressed and reproduced within the field of architecture and urban design, through the theoretical model of norm-critique. With a norm-critical perspective you analyse norms, power relations and power structures, with focus on if and how norms contribute to different kinds of discrimination. Based on norm-critical analyses, you can make visible who norms include and what or who they exclude.

Within the framework of the course, we will discuss the consequences of norms and work with the interplay between norms and values within the field of architecture and urban design. The course will further train the student’s ability to use source texts as a basis for formulating a research question, an individual position, and a line of argument. It will also train the student in analysing arguments laid out in other texts, and appropriately use citation, references, and bibliography.


Examination and deliverables 

The course examination is based on active participation in lectures and seminars, and the submission of an academic text on norm-critical perspectives in architecture and urban design. The text should be of 2000 words (+- 10%), including references and a bibliography. Each student’s paper is reviewed and graded after submission at the end of the semester. The lectures and seminars are mandatory and if a seminar is missed out, the student will get a supplementary task.




Wednesday 23 February 2022

9.00 – 11.45, room SB-L 285

Session 1: Introduction to the course


Wednesday 2 March 2022

9.00- 11.45, SB-L 285

Session 2: Lecture and literature seminar

Prepare by reading mandatory texts for session 2 and answer seminar questions (see Canvas session 2). Bring your answers to the seminar.


Wednesday 9 March 2022

9.00 –11.45, room SB-L 216

Session 3: Literature seminar and seminar on themes for essay

Prepare by reading mandatory texts for session 3 and answer seminar questions (see Canvas session 3). Bring your answers to the seminar.


Friday 1 April

18.00 Hand in a draft of you essay on Canvas


Wednesday 6 April 2022

9.00 – 11.45 and 13.15 –17.00 in SB-H 328 and SB-H 366

Individual supervision of essays. Schedule for individual supervision will be published on Canvas.


Wednesday 4 May 2021

11.45 Hand in essay for final presentation on Canvas


Wednesday 18 May 2022

9.00 – 11.45, 13.15 – 15.45 in SB-L 227 and SB-L 285

Session 3: Final seminar for essays


Friday 27 May 2022

18.00 Final submission of essays

Course literature




  • Frese, Michael; Cultural Practices, Norms, and Values, Journal of Cross-Cultural Psychology 46(10


Norms, power, history and architecture

  • Archer, John (2005); Social Theory of Space: Architecture and the Production of Self, Culture, and Society, Source: Journal of the Society of Architectural Historians, Vol. 64, No. 4 (Dec., 2005), pp. 430-433 Published by: University of California Press on behalf of the Society of Architectural Historians
  • Sanjoy Mazumdar and Shampa Mazumdar (1994): SOCIETAL VALUES AND ARCHITECTURE: A SOCIO-PHYSICAL MODEL OF THE INTERRELATIONSHIPS. Source: Journal of Architectural and Planning Research , Spring, 1994, Vol. 11, No. 1, Theme Issue: A Flat and a Town in the Conditions of Real Socialism — A Journey to "Heart of Darkness" (The Polish Case) (Spring, 1994), pp. 66-90. Published by: Locke Science Publishing Company, Inc.
  • Hirst, Paul (1993) FOUCAULT AND ARCHITECTURE. AA Files, Autumn 1993, No. 26 (Autumn 1993), pp. 52-60 Published by: Architectural Association School of Architecture Stable URL:


Norm creativity

  • Wikberg Nilsson, Åsa och Jahnke Marcus(2018); Tactics for Norm-Creative Innovation. RISE Research Institutes of Sweden, Sweden (Grupp B)

Raquel Meseguer (2021):  Being horizontal in the city. Article in Architecture Review November 2021

  • Elke Krasny: Architecture and Care, AA-files


Norms and the built environment

  • Monika Grubbauer & Venetsiya Dimitrova (2022): Exceptional architecture, learning processes, and the contradictory performativity of norms and standards, in European Planning Studies, 30:1, 121-140, DOI: 10.1080/09654313.2021.1928609
  • Carmela Cucuzzella (2019): The normative turn in environmental architecture in Journal of Cleaner Production 219 (2019)
  • Ann P. Kinzig, (2013): Social Norms and Global Environmental Challenges: The Complex Interaction of Behaviors, Values, and Policy.


Norms and gender

  • Bonnevier, Katarina(2012) Dress-code: Gender performance and misbehaviour in the manor. Gender, Space and Culture.  
  • MOA HANNERZ SIMÅ (2019): THE GIRL’S ROOM - A SEARCH FOR FEMINIST MONUMENTALITY. Master thesis in Architecture & Urban Design STUDIO: Matter Space CHALMERS SCHOOL OF ARCHITECTURE (read Introduction, theoretical background and discussion)
  • Listerborn, C. (2016). Feminist struggle over urban safety and the politics of space. European Journal of Women’s Studies, 23(3), 251–264.


Reading for all


Choose one of these two

  • Ehrnberger, K., Räsänen, M., & Ilstedt, S. 2012 Dec 20. Visualising Gender Norms in Design: Meet the Mega Hurricane Mixer and the Drill Dolphia. International Journal of Design [Online] 6:3. Available:
  • Grange, K. (2021). IMAGINARIES AND EXPULSION: How 1,000 Temporary Accommodation Units for Refugees in the City of Gothenburg Became 57. IJUUR, p 50 – 64.



Ahmed, S. (2006): Queer Phenomenology: Orientations, Objects, Others. Duke University Press.

Bonnevier; K. (2007) Behind Straight Curtains: Towards a Queer Feminist Theory of Architecture, PhD Dissertation 2007, KTH Architecture and the Built Environment School of Architecture.

Bonnevier, K. (2012) Dress-code: gender performance and misbehavior in the manor, Gender, Place & Culture, 19:6, 707-729, DOI: 10.1080/0966369X.2012.674925.

Bourke, M. Hilland, Toni A and Craike, M. (2018): An exploratory analysis of the interactions between social norms and the built environment on cycling for recreation and transport. BMC Public Health (2018) 18:1162

Butler, J. (1988): Performative Acts and Gender Constitution: An Essay in Phenomenology and Feminist Theory. In: Theatre Journal, Vol. 40, No. 4, pp. 519-531 Published by: The Johns Hopkins University Press.

Elmberger, K., Jahnke, M. & Wikberg Nilsson, Å. NOVA - Tools and methods for norm-creative innovation. Vinnova.

Ehrnberger, K., Räsänen, M., & Ilstedt, S. 2012 Dec 20. Visualising Gender Norms in Design: Meet the Mega Hurricane Mixer and the Drill Dolphia. International Journal of Design [Online] 6:3. Available:

Erson, S. (2016). Centering periphery - challenging the urban norm by reassessing the relation between urban and rural. Master thesis, Chalmers University of Technology.

Ettehad, S. Reza, A. Karimi Azeri Ghazaleh K. (2014): The Role of Culture in Promoting Architectural Identity. European Online Journal of Natural and Social Sciences 2014; Vol.3, No.4 Special Issue on Architecture, Urbanism, and Civil Engineering.

Family Planning. Selected parts of Harvard design Magazine; No. 41 / Example: Eva Diaz, Soft Architecture.

Foucault, M.; Power the essential work 3, article; Space, Knowledge and power (s349-364)

Forsberg, G., & Stenbacka, S. (n.d.). Mapping Gendered Ruralities, European Countryside, 5(1), 1-20. doi:

Fredriksson, J. (2017). Spatial Inequalities: Town Centre Development and Urban Peripheries. In Nordic Journal of Architectural Research, Vol 29 (2).

Frese, M.l: Cultural Practices, Norms, and Values, Journal of Cross-Cultural Psychology 46(10).

Gunnarsson-Östling, U. (2011). Just Sustainable Futures: Gender and Environmental Justice Considerations in Planning. Stockholm: KTH. Diss.

Hays, KM. (1984) Critical Architecture: Between Culture and Form, in Perspecta, Vol. 21 (1984), pp. 14-29. Published by: The MIT Press on behalf of Perspecta.

Heynen, H. & Baydar, G. (2005); Negotiating Domesticity: Spatial Productions of Gender in Modern Architecture, Taylor and Francis.

Jones, P., Putting Architecture in its Social Place: A Cultural Political Economy of Architecture, Urban Studies, 46(12) 2519–2536, November 2009. 

Knox, P. (1987). The Social Production of the Built Environment Architects, Architecture and the Post-Modern City. Published September 1, 1987.

Listerborn, C. (2013). Suburban women and the ‘glocalisation’ of the everyday lives: gender and glocalities in underprivileged areas in Sweden. In Gender, Place & Culture, 20:3, 290-312, DOI: 10.1080/0966369X.2011.649351.

Massey, D., (1994). Space, Place and Gender. Oxford: Polity Press.

Rendell, J., Penner B. & Borden, I., (eds (2000); Gender Space Architecture, an interdisciplinary introduction, First published 2000 by Routledge

Schalk, M. Kristiansson, T. & Mezé, R., (ed.) (2017); Feminist Futures of Spatial practice, by AADR.

Whitson, R., (2018). “Space of culture and identity production”, in Feminist Spaces, gender and geography in a global context.


Changes made since the last occasion

Changed format for the literature seminar.

Learning objectives and syllabus

Learning objectives:

Knowledge and understanding
Demonstrate an understanding of a particular theoretical trajectory in architecture and urban design.

Abilities and skills
Understand and analyse arguments laid out in theoretical texts.
Use theoretical texts as basis for formulating a position or query.
Appropriately use citation, references and bibliography.

Ability of assessment and attitude
Promote the value (and joy!) of history, theory, and method in architecture.
Critically relate their own writing and arguments in the course to larger issues or questions in architecture and urban design, as outlined in the brief.

Link to the syllabus on Studieportalen.

Study plan



Course summary:

Date Details Due