The etymology of competency (English), competenza (Italian), and competence (French) derives from the Latin word competentia, which means “meeting together, in agreement and symmetry”. Competens, the present participle of the Latin verb competere, has been used to describe “sufficiency of qualification” since the eighteen century. The Latin competere, from which competition also originates, is a compound of cum – “with, together,” and petere, “to strive, seek, fall upon, rush at, attack”. We may identify here the notions of making an effort together, achieving something with dedication, and having something that marks differences from others. In contemporary usage, competence is the quality of being competent, while competition is the act of competing. Competency is thus contingent on the conditions of competition in general terms. Yet, the overlapping of meanings is not limited to Latin roots. Competency, in Chinese translation, encompasses the meanings of the words 权限 (quanxian, jurisdiction and limits of authority), 才干 (caigan, ability), 能力 (nengli, capability) and 埶 (yi, skillfulness and cleverness). In an empirical field, Bruno Latour’s semiotic analyses of industrial practice at Abidjan reveal that the case for vocational training for the industrial worker is based on the production of incompetence. Within the governance of vocational training, workers learned the skills needed to carry out the immediate task but not enough to gain the complete competence to grasp the broader processes to enable competitiveness outside the framework of colonial industrialization and modernization.
The magazine invites scholars to explore the spatial, social, political, and environmental dimensions of competency through historical exegeses, theoretical argumentations, case studies, and fieldwork. These may include, but are not limited to:
- Curriculum changes and pedagogical practices, accreditation and licensure.
- Governance and impact on social discrimination, institutionalization and the bureaucracy of work.
- Reconfiguring and re-situating skills and capabilities towards empowerment, inclusion and social justice.
- Translation, transmission and dissemination of cultural, historical and theoretical knowledge, techniques and practices.
- New forms of cooperation to broaden new horizons for architectural practice as a tool for synthesizing complex realities.
- Virtual and online experiences made more visible during the pandemic, expanded from the means and models that create architectural products of interactions and transactions, challenging conventional interaction yet broadening the scope of architectural practice as a framework to synthesize complex realities.
- Discrimination, social and economic inequalities brought about by the use of spatial data and computation.
Submissions are due by 5 November 2021. The full call for papers can be found here.