If We Are, Indeed, All ‘Embedded’, Then What to Do Next? A Review of BAVO’s Too Active to Act


  • Isabelle Doucet




This article reviews BAVO’s recent publication, Too Active to Act, Cultureel Activisme na het Einde van de Geschiedenis, which forms a critical analysis of cultural production and activism in The Netherlands. This publication is then used as an occasion to question, in more general terms, the possibility of a form of social engagement that is situated and embedded in the real, that is within the system [rather than processed through theory, ideology or oppositional critique]. It argues that, in order to address this question, one needs not just to question what practice can or should do (in order to guarantee criticality, for example), but one also needs to revise the meaning of being ‘marginal’ once we are within the system, and the role of theory in the ‘anti-theory setting’ described by BAVO.

Author Biography

Isabelle Doucet

Isabelle Doucet is a Lecturer in Architecture and Urbanism at the University of Manchester, School of Environment and Development (SED) and is connected as a lecturer and researcher to the Manchester School of Architecture and the Manchester Architecture Research Centre (MARC). She received her PhD from the Delft University of Technology, Architecture Theory, with Prof. Arie Graafland. Recent publications include the edited volume Transdisciplinary Knowledge Production: Towards Hybrid Modes of Inquiry in Architecture and Urbanism, co-edited with Nel Janssens (Springer Verlag, 2011).