Course syllabus


ARK615 History, theory and method 6 lp3 VT20 (3 hp)

Course is offered by the department of Architecture and Civil Engineering


Course PM spring 2020


3,0 credits

Course leaders: Julia Fredriksson ( and Maja Kovács (

Examiner: Julia Fredriksson


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 minimum 2000 words, complete with references and a bibliography. Each student 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, the student will get a supplementary task.





26 FEBRUARY 2020, 9.00 – 12.00, ROOM SB-R 267

Session 1: Introduction

Introduction to norm-critical perspectives in architecture and urban design, course structure, academic writing, possible themes of essays etc.



4 MARCH 2020 18.00

Hand in a synopsis for you essay on Canvas



11 MARCH 2020 9.00 –12.00, ROOM SB-R 267

Session 2: Literature seminar and synopsis for essay

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



15 APRIL 18.00

Hand in a draft of you essay on Canvas



22 APRIL 2020 9.00 – 12.00 and 13.00 –15.00 in ROOM SB-K 583 and ROOM SB-K 584

Individual supervision of essays



6 MAY 18.00

Hand in essay for final presentation on Canvas



13 MAY 8.00 – 12.00 IN SB-K 582 and SB-S 515

Session 3: Final seminar for essays



22 MAY

Final submission of essays





Texts can be found on Canvas

Archer, J. (2005). Social Theory of Space: Architecture and the Production of Self, Culture, and Society. In: Journal of the Society of Architectural Historians, Vol. 64, No. 4, pp. 430-433 Published by: University of California Press on behalf of the Society of Architectural Historians.

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.

Frese, M. (2015). Cultural Practices, Norms, and Values. Journal of Cross-Cultural Psychology 46(10).

Kuhlmann, D. (2013). Introduction. In Gender studies in architecture: space, power and difference.

Nilsson, Å. & Jahnke, M. (2018). Tactics for Norm-Creative Innovation. International Journal of TV Serial Narratives, ISSN 2405-8726, E-ISSN 2169-0820, Vol. 4, no 4, p. 375-391.




Michael Frese

  • How does Frese define the concepts of norms and values?
  • Discuss examples of how norms and values are visible within the field of architecture and urban design and if and how any of these norms can be discriminating.


John Archer

  • What does Archer mean when he says that the built environment engages (not merely “reflects”) the conflicts and challenges of its´ time?
  • What does this perspective mean for your role as an architect or urban planner?


Katarina Bonnevier

  • How does Bonnevier argue that architecture can represent a gendered discussion?
  • What does this perspective mean for your role as an architect or urban planner?


Dörte Kuhlman

  • Discuss how architecture can influence the production, reproduction and representation of gender by using examples from the article.
  • Discuss other examples (that you find yourself) of how architecture can influence the production, reproduction and representation of gender or other normative aspects.




Åsa Nilsson & Marcus Jahnke

  • What does Nilsson and Jahnke mean with the concept of norm-creative tactics?
  • Choose one of the tactics described in the text (radical norm-creative tactics, inclusive norm-creative tactics or social norm-creative tactics) and discuss how it can be used within the field of architecture or urban design.


Concluding discussion

  • What did you find most interesting in the texts?
  • What from the texts do you want to take further in your own essay?











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

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.

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.

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.

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.


Course summary:

Date Details Due