Dwelling as marking and claimimg

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The aim of this paper is to put forth a conception of dwelling as a practice of marking and claiming. By this I mean that dwelling does not designate a passive condition but a mode of human practice. By suggesting that dwelling is marking I am highlighting the intimate relationship between dwelling and building. While in “Building dwelling thinking” (in Poetry, Language, Thought 1971, Harper and Row, New York) Heidegger encourages the reader to look beyond building in order to see how it is grounded in dwelling, his emphasis on techne in other work illustrates that he sees building and dwelling as two sides of the same coin. Not only must we dwell in order to build, but we must build in order to dwell. To dwell means to build and building is how we constitute our dwelling. At the same time, I argue that dwelling is only ever a claim. While Heidegger always understands human action as limited by our temporal situation (beings that are thrown and that face death), his later work elaborates this context through the conception of the fourfold. The fourfold emphasises how marking (as building) is always undermined and overwhelmed by the spatial/temporal unfolding of the world itself. Thus, while mortals must build in order to dwell, all such buildings are claims—that is, assertions, allegations, and wagers announced in the face of a relentlessly moving world. The argument is developed by examining three Heideggerian concepts—the Augenblick, techne, and the fourfold—each of which contributes to this particular notion of dwelling.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)757-771
JournalEnvironment and Planning D: Society and Space
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 2012


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