The panel explores symbolism in and of vernacular architecture. It welcomes papers that are based on ethnological fieldwork focusing on the relation between material culture and intangible aspects, as well as papers bringing up new theoretical ideas about symbolism in vernacular architecture.
The panel explores symbolism in vernacular architecture and vernacular architecture as symbol. It addresses the vast spectrum of symbolic items: from inscriptions and symbolic motifs/decorations on buildings in two- or three-dimensional forms, to symbolism present in the organization of the rooms and the spatial orientation of the architecture; from architecture or architectural elements which invite the engagement of its user in a ritual process, to whole buildings and building traditions which themselves can be understood as complex symbols. The aim of the panel is to understand the symbols in their sociocultural context and to analyze how they are created, perceived and used (ritually). Therefore, papers based on ethnological fieldwork focusing on the relation between material culture and its intangible aspects are welcome. Papers may investigate contemporary as well as historic vernacular architecture (in the broad sense) in the context of its dynamic use and meaning in the present and the past. The panel is also open for papers bringing up new theoretical ideas about symbolism in vernacular architecture, e.g., about the relation between the connotation and denotation of architecture (Umberto Eco).