“Mass” Housing in the Social and the Post-Social Worlds: Reading Hannah Arendt's "Mass Society"

Andy Stoane (Lead / Corresponding author)

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In The Human Condition (1958), Hannah Arendt predicated her thesis on societal introspection on what she called “mass society”–a population which had rapidly grown, urbanized and atomized, bringing new imperatives for humans to live together in vast numbers and with closer proximities. Throughout, Arendt discusses how shifting boundaries of public and private define our cities and our lives. As her mass society of three billion now approaches eight billion, how has the relationship between public and private–city and household–played out in the staggering population growth of the sixty years since her book? This article will explore how these six decades since the publication of The Human Condition have seen fundamental transformations in the way we understand what we now call housing, its relationship with the city, and its relationship with collective life.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)513-528
Number of pages16
JournalArchitecture and Culture
Issue number3-4
Early online date7 Oct 2020
Publication statusPublished - 2020


  • Arendt
  • Barbican
  • Unité d’Habitation
  • housing
  • mass society
  • population growth

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cultural Studies
  • Architecture
  • Visual Arts and Performing Arts
  • Urban Studies


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