Attachments to the common-place: pragmatic sociology and the aesthetic cosmopolitics of eco-house design in Kyoto, Japan

European Journal of Cultural and Political Sociology, Taylor & Francis, ISSN 2325-4823

Volume 2, 2, 2015

DOI:10.1080/23254823.2015.1108212, Dimensions: pub.1011145588,




  1. (1) University of Copenhagen, grid.5254.6, KU






This article builds on ethnographic work concerning on-going collective efforts in the Japanese city of Kyoto aiming to reposition a vernacular style of wooden housing, known as kyō-machiya, into a hybrid eco-design widely considered an appropriate local response to the global challenges of climate change. To understand the dynamic interplay of architecture and community-building in this case, the article stages a theoretical debate on the politics of shared attachments between three proponents of French pragmatic sociology: Bruno Latour, Antoine Hennion, and Laurent Thévenot. Drawing in particular on Thévenot's notion of ‘commonality in the plural’, the article shows how a range of personal affinities to the architectural form of the kyō-machiya, positioned as an urban ‘common-place’, serves to coordinate across otherwise divergent interests. By taking seriously the role of attachments to common-places, the article concludes, pragmatic sociology helps focus attention on the aesthetic (cosmo-)politics at stake in contemporary urban ecology worldwide.


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Research area: Social Sciences

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Times Cited: 5

Field Citation Ratio (FCR): 2.8