Postmodern Space, Postcolonial Resistance, '99 -- Postmodernism -- Literary Criticism -- IACD

The Politics of Space

Keith & Pile 
  • "The Politics of Place." 
  • spatialized politics of identity
  • The place of politics
  • D. Massey
    politics and time/space
    on [spatial] politics of differenc
    Politics of Location
     Gillian Feng and Kate Liu.
    Keith and Pile. "Introduction." Place and the Politics of IdentityEds. Michael Keith & Steve Pile, NY: Routledge, 1993
      Major argument:
    ". . . simultaneously present in any landscape are multiple enunciations of distinct forms of space -- and these may be reconnected to the process of re-visioning and remembering the spatialities of counter-hegemonic cultural spaces.".(6) Against Jameson, Soja, hooks' need for location, Zukin (spatial immanence and liminal space), Spatial Relativism
    Identity politics of place and spatialized politics of identity e.g. Gilroy's diapora 
  • Introd. Part 2.: The place of politics: Mapping The Satanic Verses

  • Laclau's radical contextualization and contingency 

    Jameson suggests that there are three basic phases in the development of the spatial logic of society under capitalism.

    1st -- market capitalism was dominated by the spatial logic of the grid. Capitalism organized, and was organized by, a geometrical view of space.

    2nd -- monopoly capitalism, figurative space stands in the place of absent causes. Space represents, and is represented by, distorted images of the real determinations of social relations.

    3rd -- multinational capitalism, its spatial logic is simultaneously homogeneous and fragmented, a kind of 'schizo-space.'

    . . . for Jameson, schizophrenia seems to have become the mark of the age: old loyalties of class or gender or race fragment, dislocate, rupture, disperse; new loyalties of class and gender and race interrupt, disrupt, recombine, fuse. No one is quite sure of the ground on which they stand, which direction they are facing, or where they are going. Under these circumstances, the subject is proclaimed dead; the agent of history no more.(p. 3)

    the aesthetic of cognitive mapping (pp. 3-4)

    Following Lefebvre, Jameson argued that what is needed, in order to help recover the sites of resistence, is

    Soja (p. 4) -- compared with Jameson   Soja (pp. 4 - ) -- the dynamics of space
    "We must be insistently aware of how space can be made to hide consequences from us, how relations of power and discipline are inscribed into the apparently innocent spatiality of social life, how human geographies become filled with politics and ideology" (Soja 1989: 6) connects the representation of space to actual space. Having made this connection, Soja is able to argue that the contemporary situation is marked by the convergence of three different kinds of spatialization: posthistoricism, post-Fordism and postmodernism.

    ¡¥geography and history of capitalism intersect in a complex social process which creates a constantly evolving historical sequence of spatialities¡¦ (127)

    Jameson, Soja vs. hooks 5

    For Jameson, space is a template, while for Soja, such a geometrical conception of space is passive, fixed, undialectical and no longer appropriate. For hooks, both these perspective involve risks and danger which are directly political; for those who have no place that can be safely called home, there must be a struggle for a place to be. Her evocation of the margins is simultaneously real and metaphorical -- it defines an alternative spatiality: radical openness. A different sense of place is being theorized, no longer passive, no longer fixed, no longer undialectical--because disruptive features interrupt any tendency to see once more open space as the passive receptacle for any social process that cares to fill it -- but, still, in a very real sense about location and locatedness.

    hooks -- "As a radical strandpoint, perspective, position, 'the politics of location' necessarily calls those of us who would participate in the formation of counter-hegemonic cultural practice to identify the spaces where we begin the process of re-vision."

      a myth of spatial immanence (e.g. Zukin's landscape of power)
    Sharon Zukin: describing the manner in which landscapes of power may triumph over the vernacular. liminal spaces:  "She argues that the localism, or neghbourhood urbanism, of the modern city has been transformed into postmodern transitional space.  This space is 'betwixt and between' economic institutions but is best described by the adjective liminal because it 'complicates the effort to construct identtiy' (1992: 122).  Liminal spaces are ambiguous and ambivalent, they slip between global market and local place, between public use and private value, between work and home, between commerce and culture." (7). (e.g. ³À´ä¤é­Z¦æ)

    critique: She time and again returns to an evocation of a singular immanent meaning which lies buried beneath the surface and awaits revelation.  A scene is either 'landscape' or 'vernacular' . .  .

    a fallacy of spatial relativism

    identity politics of place and spatialized politics of identity
    [the resistance of Docklands' people as an example]

    Gilroy: diaspora 17-

    his project appears to work on narrative and conceptual levels, with the notion of an imagined spatiality of disporic politics serving to mediate these tensions. At the level of historical narrative, the project stresses the international links between Black intellectuals throught the last hundred years and more; ¡K

    ..the diaspora invokes an imagined geography, a spatiality that draws on connections across oceans and continents and yet unifies the Black experience inside a shared territory. ¡Ka spatialization of Black consciousness

    ¡K the diaspora is an invocation of communal space which is simultaneously both inside and outside the West. The outcome of such positioning is a form of cultural fusion; such syncretism produces diaspora-specific resources of resistance, ¡K

    the spatiality of the diaspora is the ground on which momentary and ever-shifting lines are draw between inside and outside, oppressor and oppressed, the same and the other.

    These lines stress interconnection as much as distinction, but they produce a space in which identities are momentarily authenticated, on which what might be called arbitrary closure occurs. Rejecting both essentialized and depthlessless representations of Black idenity, Gilroy's diaspora is the spatiality which contingently mediates Black authority, in the explicit knowledge that an imagined space of diaspora is located within global systems that not only make such claims context-specific, but also make communication through the myriad forms of cultural syncretism inevitable.

    [Bhabha's liminal form of cultural identification. ]

    Introd. Part 2¡XThe place of politics¡XMapping The Satanic Verses

    1.  two routes: (p. 22)
    1. track the evocations of the spatial, particularly the city as simultaneously real and imaginary, suggesting that Rushdie draws ¡K on a notion that the urban invokes a multiplicities of spatialities simultaneously present. [use Lefebvre]
    2. traces the notions of impurity and hybridity which are so central to the novel and suggests that this leads us into an understanding of identities defined as much by what they lack as by what they include. [use Laclau]
    Laclau's idea of identity¡Xnegativity and historicity/contigency 27-28

    ¡Kidentity emerges through difference, just as all object formation is alwyas partial because always relational. This negativity is the source of what Laclau draws on extensively in a concept of the constitutive outside. This is the source of his well-known diagnosis that society can never be wholly constituted as an object of scrutiny, ¡K

    1. 28 ¡KLaclau draws implicitly on Lacan to work through the concept of identity formation set within these fields of (negative differences, being articulated through that which it is not (negativity in Laclau¡¦s terms) and through the historical moment of enunciation (referred to as contingency). Difference becomes located difference within a relational field: ¡¥what one gets is a field of simply relational identities which never manage to constitute themselves fully, since relations do not form a closed system¡¦ (20-21). ¡KThere is no identity outside of its context: ¡¥Identity depends on conditions of existence which are contingent, its relationship with them is absolutely necessary¡¦ (21).
    --weakening the boundary of essence through the radical contextualization of any object

    --the political (that which is contested) and the social (those practices that are sedimented in time and uncontested) define each other by their mutual opposition

    ¡¥The constitution of a social identity is an act of power and that identity as such is power¡¦ (31)

    incomplete identity ¡Vdislocation 29

    "every identity is dislocated insofar as it depends on an outside which both denies that identity and provides its conditions of possibility at the same time. But this in itself means that the effects of dislocation must be contradictory. If on the one hand they threaten identities, they are the foundation on which new identities are constituted" (39).

    Relativism v.s. politics of identity 31

    Haraway "The alternative to relativism is partial, locatable, critical knowledges sustaining the possibility of webs of connections called solidarity in politics and shared conversations in epistemologyRelativism is a way of being nowhere while claiming to be everywhere equally. [1991: 191]" (31: underline added ) .

      "The Spaces that Difference Makes:
    Some Notes on the Geographical Margins of the New Cultural Politics"
    Edward Soja and Barbara Hooper pp. 183-205

      Soja on spatial politics

    the differences between modernist identity politics and postmodernist identity politics
    from resistance in binary structure to "empowering a multiplicity of resistances" (187)

    Spatialized identity politics: