The Favored Circle: The Social Foundations of Architectural Distinction by Garry StevensThe Favored Circle: The Social Foundations of Architectural Distinction by Garry Stevens

The Favored Circle: The Social Foundations of Architectural Distinction

byGarry Stevens

Paperback | February 22, 2002

Pricing and Purchase Info


Earn 223 plum® points

Prices and offers may vary in store


In stock online

Ships free on orders over $25

Not available in stores


A look at the field of architecture written by an outsider who demystifies the mechanics of fame and fortune.

The popular view of architecture focuses on individual creative geniuses, those who have designed the most "significant" works. According to Garry Stevens, however, successful architects owe their success not so much to genius as to social background and a host of other factors that have very little to do with native talent. To concentrate only on the profession of architecture is to ignore the much larger field of architecture, which structures the entire social universe of the architect and of which architects are only one part. This book critically surveys that field, exposing many myths and debunking a number of heroes in the process. Using the conceptual apparatus of French sociologist Pierre Bourdieu, Stevens describes the field of architecture on two levels. First, he provides a detailed account of the field as it is at any given point in time, describing the different components and their relationships. Second, he analyzes the dynamics of the field through time, from the Renaissance to the present. He discusses the system of architectural education, as well as everyday aspects such as the competition for reputation. He concludes that throughout history, the most eminent architects have been connected to each other by master-pupil and collegiate relations. These networks, which still exist, provide a mechanism for architectural influence that runs parallel to that of the university-based schools.

Garry Stevens is the founder of the Key Centre for Architectural Sociology.
Title:The Favored Circle: The Social Foundations of Architectural DistinctionFormat:PaperbackDimensions:262 pages, 8.75 × 6.5 × 0.75 inPublished:February 22, 2002Publisher:The MIT PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0262692783

ISBN - 13:9780262692786

Look for similar items by category:


Editorial Reviews

Over 500 years and much of the western world, The Favored Circle analyzes the lived experience of architects, pulling out patterns that make sense of it all. In clear language, Garry Stevens enlists theory and research to reshape our views of practice, education, and the evolution of architecture. This provocative portrait unravels the social logic of the architectural profession. In its most compelling argument, The Favored Circle explicates the cultural construction of architectural creativity and even genius. Stevens joins a notable, growing group of sociologists examining architecture (including Blau, LArson, and Gutman), to the benefit of practitioners, educators and students. The book is a real contribution to the field.-Dana Cuff, Professor of Architecture and Urban Design, UCLA