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Innovationsgesellschaft heute: Paladines, Marco

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Marco Paladines

Research Project

Growing Buildings in Bolivia: Following the Lines of the New Andean Architecture 

The New Andean Architecture in the city of El Alto, Bolivia, is becoming growing attention from media, artists and researchers worldwide. Either celebrated as Bolivia’s authentic Aymara architecture or downplayed as kitschy and tasteless, this architecture is the object of numerous and passionate controversies among architects, social scientists and in the public sphere. At the same time, it provides a deep insight into the economic, political and cultural transformations that one of the poorest American nations has been experiencing in the last fifteen years. The colorful and magnificent style of the interiors, the playful combination of traditional indigenous patterns with innovative architectural concepts, and the social significance that these buildings are becoming, are some of the aspects that call for a study of this original architectonical movement that is changing the power relations and the urban space in El Alto.

On the basis of interviews and a participatory photographic process, this dissertation project aims to clarify, on a first step, which kind of resources (e.g. material, technical, political, bureaucratic, artistic, economical) were and are still mobilized, which in their specific configuration and distribution allowed these new buildings to exist. Secondly, we will try to sketch out, which transformative effects are to be noticed in the taste perceptions, urban imaginaries and social orderings of prestige directly affected by the New Andean Architecture, mainly by situating these effects in the context of identity and class politics, municipal legislation, the development of the real estate market and the change of creativity regimes. Finally, given our understanding of architecture as a medium in which societies generate for themselves specific forms with distinctive material, functional, aesthetic and communicative qualities, we inquire the possible valuations and meanings that arise from the semiotic analysis of the buildings in combination with the self-interpretation by key actors.


Marco Paladines is Sociologist with a mention in Political Science by the Catholic University of Ecuador, Quito, with a Thesis on critical Latin American Thought in the fields of politics, culture and literature. In Berlin he finished a Masters in Social Science by the Humboldt University, with a Thesis on the Mediality of Architecture as a social communication medium and the concept of Atmosphere. Since April 2018 he is doctoral candidate at the DFG Graduate School „Innovation Society today: the reflexive creation of novelty", at the Sociological Institute, and at the Chair of Architectural Theory, both in the Technical University, Berlin.

Besides that he has experience in the field of pedagogy of language acquisition and grammar. He gave several talks about socio-ecological conflicts in Ecuador. 

Areas of Research

  • Sociology of Creativity and Innovation
  • Sociology of Architecture and Culture
  • Social Theory, Social Anthropology
  • Decolonial Ethnography


«Promovieren und Betreuen in der Naturwissenschaft: Eine Arbeitsgruppe der Mikrobiologie» (mit Kressin L.), in: Torka M. (Hrsg.), Disziplinäre Sozialisation in die Wissenschaft: Fallstudien einer Lehrforschung, WZB Discussion Paper, May 2015. Available at: link [1]. 


«Complexity and Future in Urban Design». The Urbanite and the Syndemic: Imagining Socio-spatial futures, online - La Paz, February 2021.

«Cholets’ as Relational Multiplicity: Hyper-buildings and Decolonizing Aesthetics». EASST/4S 2020: Locating and Timing Matters: Significance and agency of STS in emerging worlds, online - Prague, August 2020.

«Imagining Memories, Remembering Imaginations». EASA2020: New anthropological horizons in and beyond Europe, online - Lisbon, Juli 2020.

«Growing Buildings in El Alto». Paper Presentation at the PhD Research Marathon: "Innovation in Practice, Unlocking Architecture in the City, Politecnico di Torino. Turin, 14. September 2019.

«How to Bridge Ch'ixi Epistemology with STS?». Paper Presentation at the 4S Conference: "Innovations, Interruptions, Regenerations". New Orleans, 05. September 2019.

«Epistemes Embarrados». Paper Presentation at the II. International Seminar of the Network "Andine Epistemology". UMSA. La Paz, 15. August 2019.

«Formaciones Geo-Sociales y Ecologías de Vida. Espacios para vivir en el Antropoceno». Lecture for the Inauguration of the Masters Programm "Ordenamiento Territorial y Planificación Urbana". UMSA. La Paz, 08. August 2019.

«Looking to the Past, Writing for the Future». Paper Presentation at the Walter Benjamin Conference 2019. International Walter Benjamin Society, University Bern. Bern, 28. Juni 2019.

«Her mit dem guten Leben! das Gute Leben aus ecuadorianischer Perspektive». Lecture and Workshop. High School Days Sustainability + Climate Protection in the Freie Universität Berlin. Berlin, 04. Juni 2017.

«Auf dem Weg zum Guten Leben für alle». Podium and Discussion. International Youth Encounter of the World Community Reformed Churches. Leipzig, 27. Juni 2017.

«Buen Vivir und die Gier nach Öl». Lecture and Discussion. Event Week: „Buen Vivir – Ein gutes Leben für alle!“ Organized by FairBindung e.V. Berlin, 21. April 2016.

«Buen Vivir - das Konzept des „Guten Lebens“ und was wir davon lernen können». Lecture and Discussion. Organized by Rosa-Luxemburg-Foundation Brandenburg (local office Cottbus) in cooperation with Kost Nix Laden, Cottbus. Cottbus, 29. September 2016.

«Buen Vivir – ein Recht auf Gutes Leben?». Lecture and Discussion. Intercultural Weeks in Leipzig. Leipzig, 19. September 2016.

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