Andrea Mubi Brighenti & Mattias Kärrholm

Beyond rhythmanalysis : towards a territoriology of rhythms and melodies in everyday spatial activities

Article publié le 3 août 2019

Pour citer cet article : Andrea Mubi Brighenti & Mattias Kärrholm , « Beyond rhythmanalysis : towards a territoriology of rhythms and melodies in everyday spatial activities  », Rhuthmos, 3 août 2019 [en ligne].
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This article was first published in City, Territory and Architecture, volume 5, Article number : 4 (2018) under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

Abstract : The recent, rich scholarship on rhythms, following in the wake of Lefebvre’s book Éléments de rythmanalyse (1992), proves that rhythmanalysis is an important sensitising notion and research technique. Despite its increasing recognition, however, rhythmanalysis has not yet become a proper science as its proponents had hoped. In this article, we argue that rhythmanalysis could benefit from being further developed and integrated into a wider science of territories. What research must attain is, we suggest, not simply a recording, description or analysis of rhythms ; instead, the goal is to capture the life of rhythms as they enter territorial formations. A neo-vitalistic conception, in other words, could enrich the standard social-scientific understanding of the relation between rhythms and territories. More specifically, we submit that the notion of rhythm could be explored not only in terms of the recurrent patterns of association it defines, but also with essential reference to the intensive situations and moments it generates and, in the end, territorialises.

Keywords : Social rhythms, Rhythmanalysis, Synchronisation, Science of territories, Territorial intensities


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Despite the increasing recognition of the importance of rhythms in social and urban studies, rhythmanalysis has not yet become a proper science or a discipline in a specific sense, as its proponents had hoped.Footnote 1 Since the slim but important contribution on rhythmanalysis by Henri Lefebvre was published in 1992, shortly after its author’s death—and especially since its translation into English in 2004 curated by Stuart Elden (Lefebvre 1992, 2004)—we have seen a wide variety of different studies in rhythmanalysis, often with an empirical focus (e.g., McCormack 2002, 2014 ; Highmore 2005 ; Cronin 2006 ; Edensor and Holloway 2008 ; Middleton 2009 ; Edensor 2010, 2012 ; Prior 2011 ; Lin 2012 ; Simpson 2012 ; Schwanen et al. 2012 ; Smith and Hetherington 2013a, b ; Wunderlich 2013 ; Goh 2014 ; Yeo and Heng 2014 ; Mulícek et al. 2015 ; Paiva 2016 ; Reid-Musson 2017). This scholarship proves that rhythmanalysis is extremely important and helpful as a sensitising attitude and a research technique in the social and spatial sciences. It is even safe to grant that rhythmanalysis has become an acknowledged method of inquiry soon to be admitted in methodology textbooks.


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