Words in stone? Agency and identity in a Nazi landscape

Sharon Macdonald, Sharon MacDonald

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This article considers questions of agency, materiality and identity through a focus on a landscape largely shaped by the German National Socialists in the 1930s: the former Nazi party rally grounds in Nuremberg. It looks at Nazi ideas about architecture and the agency of buildings as 'words in stone' and the Nazi intention that the built heritage would endure and continue to 'speak' over time. It then goes on to discuss some of the post-war struggle with the Nazi heritage (and more specifically the Zeppelin Building) and the ways in which agency has been variously attributed. This highlights contests and changes in the attribution of agency, and shows how such attributions are embedded in wider understandings and politics of identity (including processes of 'de-Nazification' and 'facing the past'), as well as being coshaped by the connotations and 'suggestiveness' of material forms. Copyright © 2006 SAGE Publications (London, Thousand Oaks, CA and New Delhi).
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)105-126
Number of pages21
JournalJournal of Material Culture
Issue number1-2
Publication statusPublished - May 2006


  • Agency
  • Germany
  • Identity
  • Landscape
  • Materiality
  • Nazi architecture
  • Nuremberg
  • Swastika


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