→ Chapter 3: Motivations (not) to Practice Architecture (ongoing)

Generation Constant Crisis
Belonging to a Profession
Transformative Life Projects

This thesis aims to understand how transformational aspirations make the transition from university to practice. However, before delving into the transition, it is necessary to understand the origin of these aspirations. Specifically, I am interested in studying how the contemporary societal condition, marked by a constant state of crisis, affects the career aspirations and motivation of current students and graduates in the field of architecture. This motivation is closely linked to the self-identity of practitioners and how they perceive their work as part of their life projects. For the current generation of university students, shaped by the climate crisis, these projects are increasingly defined by collective goals and values rather than individualistic ones.

To further explore these ideas, I will look to social theories of change and identity. The first part of this Chapter draws on Anthony Gidden's concept of Liquid Modernity and Ulrich Beck's Risk Society to characterise the contemporary societal condition and its impact on the formation of self-identity. This, in turn, has implications for the goals we set for ourselves in our life projects or self-politics, according to Giddens. The second part discusses the meaning of work in Liquid Modernity and how ideas of vocation and calling shape our professional identities. In contrast, the current societal condition leads to increased precarity, often driving people to pursue alternative careers instead of a stable position in an established profession. The final section draws on Ezio Manzini's ideas on Design and Social Innovation to focus on the architecture profession, its diversification, and the motivations that drive current graduates to pursue their chosen careers.

Reading List:
Beck, Ulrich. 2009. Risk Society: Towards a New Modernity. Repr. Theory, Culture and Society. London: Sage
Beck, Ulrich . 2015. ‘Emancipatory Catastrophism: What Does It Mean to Climate Change and Risk Society?’ Current Sociology 63 (1): 75–88. https://doi.org/10.1177/0011392114559951.

Elliott, Anthony. 2020. ‘The Trajectories of Social and Cultural Theory’. In Routledge Handbook of 
Social and Cultural Theory, 2nd ed. Routledge.

Giddens, Anthony. 1991. Modernity and Self-Identity: Self and Society in the Late Modern Age. Reprint. Cambridge: Polity Press.