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Disturbing structure : reading the ruins

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<mark>Journal publication date</mark>2011
<mark>Journal</mark>Culture and Organization
Issue number2
Number of pages15
Pages (from-to)107-121
Publication StatusPublished
<mark>Original language</mark>English


In this paper, we look at buildings from the ‘disturbing’ perspective of ruin and ruination. The relationship between buildings and ruins appears to be an antithesis, one between organisation and disorganisation: a dyad of mutually exclusive opposites. However, we try to show how the relationship between buildings and ruins is more complex and multifaceted so that rather than being the play of opposites, it is one which is mutually enacting and inextricably entwined. We explore three aspects of the relationship of mutuality between building and ruin. The first is a consideration of ruins and their relationship to structuring and de‐structuring. Second, we look into the multiplicity of meanings that ruins engender, their inherent ambivalence. Finally, we argue that ruin and ruination are as related to construction and re‐ordering as they are to destruction, since they are not the absolute annihilation of building and organisation, but are themselves different forms of organisation and organising. Thus, the paper is not so much about ruins themselves, where ruins are seen as obliteration or the absence of form. Rather, it is about what ruins and ruination tell us about buildings, structure and the processes of organising.