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Sacred ModernityNature, Environment and the Postcolonial Geographies of Sri Lankan Nationhood$
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Tariq Jazeel

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9781846318863

Published to Liverpool Scholarship Online: January 2014

DOI: 10.5949/liverpool/9781846318863.001.0001

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Over-Determinations: Architecture, Text, Politics

Over-Determinations: Architecture, Text, Politics

(p.145) Chapter 7 Over-Determinations: Architecture, Text, Politics
Sacred Modernity

Tariq Jazeel

Liverpool University Press

This chapter draws out a number of extra-architectural factors – factors beyond the control of architects themselves – that effectively over-determine the connections between Sri Lankan architectural tropical modernism and Sinhala Buddhist historiography and aesthetic domains. The fluid inside/out spatialities of Sri Lanka's tropical modern built space need not be implicated in nationalism, indeed they are common techniques in many forms of modernist architecture globally. However, the many extra-architectural factors explored in this chapter serve to effectively pull Sri Lankan tropical modernism into a discursive terrain synonymous with Sinhala Buddhism and its political territorializations. In particular, the chapter explores the representational fields surrounding the architecture as well as client demands that come to bear upon the style. These are key to constituting the architecture's cultural logic and hence its political effects. More broadly, in doing so this chapter argues that the politics of nature and environment in Sri Lanka is never just about how sites of nature are intended to mean certain things. Instead, we must consider how these sites are subsumed within broader political and historiographical narratives.

Keywords:   Sri Lanka, tropical modern architecture, representations, Geoffrey Bawa, clients, market, over-determination

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