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Arendt Studies

Volume 4, 2020

Katherine Davies
Pages 53-82

The Architecture of Appearance
Arendt’s Feminism and Guatemala’s Private City

Ciudad Cayalá in Guatemala brands itself as the country’s first private city. I turn to Hannah Arendt to show how and why Cayalá does not and cannot provide the space of appearance she argues is needed to support the possibility of political action. I show how Arendt provides two apparently distinct phenomenological accounts in The Human Condition—one historically-oriented and the other politically-oriented—that articulate how Cayalá fails in its aspiration to privatize the political. Yet the apparent divergence between her accounts raises concern about her relevance for liberatory feminist projects. To demonstrate how and why Arendt’s political phenomenology is aligned with certain feminist aims, I also generate a Cayaláian reading of Arendt to demonstrate the coherence of her two phenomenological accounts through interpreting her thinking by way of Cayalá’s architecture. This article enacts a dialogue between Arendt and Cayalá, mediated by feminist and architectural theory, concerning why efforts toward the privatization of cities will fail.