Doreen Massey: Ριζοσπαστική χωρικότητα και δημοκρατία

Ομιλία της Doreen Massey κατά την τελετή  αναγόρευσής της σε επίτιμη διδάκτορα του τμήματος Γεωγραφίας του Χαροκόπειο Πανεπιστημίου της Αθήνας, στις 12 Νοέμβρη  του 2012

 

Doreen Massey: Radical spatiality and the question of democracy

 

It is a great honour to have been awarded an Honorary Doctorate here at the Geography Department at Harokopio University in Athens.  I remember first coming here in 2000 to present a paper about the importance and the structure of the discipline. The Geography Department then was in its infancy, but I had known about plans for it for quite a while before, through my friend and colleague Professor Costis Hadjimichalis, one of the people who, as I understand it, was instrumental in its founding.  So it was a joy to be one of the early celebrants of its birth.  To be invited back now, to receive this degree from you, is therefore also much more than an honour: it is a deep personal pleasure.

I also visited in 2005, when the theme of my lecture here concerned London : a world city that is fiercely contested politically, that is a focus of networks of power that dominate both the wider nation of the United Kingdom and vast parts of our planet, a city that is, in all the aggregate statistics, immensely wealthy – and the places and the architectures of that wealth flaunt their success over the central areas, a city that is rightly proud of its street-level multicultural nature, but also a city that is riven by deep inequalities, and finally, and perhaps most importantly in the present context, a city that is a centre of global finance and that has been crucial in the invention, birth and dissemination of what we have all learned to call neoliberalism.

That was in 2005.  The economic triumph of neoliberalism seemed then so assured, the bankers so confident, the ideology of markets so unarguable, the new class of the super-rich so convinced that the good times (for them) would go on for ever.  There was a host of warnings from the Left (it is not true that no-one predicted this crisis), but they were ignored.  And then, from 2007, economically it all imploded.  The political challenges and opportunities that we face today are very different, and it is in this present context that I want to develop the theoretical propositions of this essay.

Yet some things endure.  And I should like to take a moment to acknowledge the enduring friendship both of Costis Hadjimichalis, whom I have already mentioned, and of Professor Dina Vaiou, of the National Technical University of Athens.  Their commitment and solidarity, their hospitality and warmth, and their intellectual contribution have been immensely important to me for decades.  Among the many ways through which we came to know each other over the years were the Aegean Seminars which they organised – a mixture of intellectual exploration, personal friendship, social commitment, and much fun, that perfectly expresses Costis and Dina’s contribution (and is also what we all need).  What those seminars, and our longer and wider endeavours, have been about is trying to understand the world through a radical, and geographical, perspective. This is a perspective that has had to be actively forged; indeed the process is still going on.  And among our commitments was a theme – very appropriate to the present occasion – that geography matters.  That the spatiality of a society makes a difference to the way it works; that distinct societies and social settlements have distinct geographies; that building a new world means building new geographies too.

Εξώφυλλο του γνωστού βιβλίου της Massey «For Space», στα ελληνικά «Για το χώρο»

That geography really does matter could hardly be more evident in the present conjuncture (Massey, forthcoming). The crisis of the Eurozone has its roots in geography and in the inability to take geography seriously.  The failure to construct a financial architecture that could adequately work with the pre-existing economic uneven development between countries led to a further deepening of that economic inequality.  Today, and with unconscious but deep  irony, the hegemonic discourses explain the collapse of their geographically inadequate model by turning the blame on to individual constituent spaces (Spain, or Greece) while in fact it is the elites themselves who have produced the problem.  In other words, having not taken sufficient care with uneven development (geography) in their construction of the euro they then set about politically constructing the inevitable disastrous result precisely in those terms.  It is a geographical sleight of hand that is now having grave consequences.

First, it runs the risk of setting the peoples of different countries against each other: the people of Greece or Spain against the people of Germany, for instance.  Second, and this is the purpose, in this geographical conjuring trick the real enemy disappears.  The capitalist reality, which is that the struggle is between on the one hand the financial sector and the elites and on the other hand the majority of the people of all the countries, is effectively obscured.  Third, by this means in turn the political frontier is converted from being one between classes and social and economic interests into being one between countries and peoples.  And fourth, this entails the moulding of our political identities in terms of geography and nationality rather than in terms of class.  (I’m not saying that geographical identities are never appropriate, but in this particular instance they are worse than inappropriate.)  All of this follows from a lack of understanding of, and a political manipulation of, geographies.  For sure, geography matters.

In the present essay I want to take up again this theme of geography matters, but in a rather different way, and in response to another issue that has come to the forefront at the current moment.  This is the question of democracy.

It has become commonplace to argue over the last three decades of neoliberal hegemony that we have been witness to a serious evisceration both of the public sphere and of democracy.  We have observed this in a thousand ways, and some of them will be taken up later in this essay.  It has also been widely noted that some of this closing down of the potential for democracy has had a specifically geographical configuration.  Indeed ‘the privatisation of public space’ has become a major theme both within some critical social sciences and among political protesters.  It is a privatisation that selectively refuses access, and denies the right to gather, protest or demonstrate.  London’s contribution to the Occupy movement, to take one example, was deeply moulded by this denial – its original choice of location, outside London’s Stock Exchange (hence the name LSX) – being refused precisely on the grounds that this square was now private property.  (The subsequent move, to the steps of St. Paul’s Cathedral, and on to land owned in part by the Church and in part by the (financially dominated) Corporation of London was in fact to prove highly propitious – see Massey 2012).  To this, many other less recognised phenomena could be added.  I would argue, for instance, that the weakened and often decrepit form of representative democracy that we have in many European countries has become, even more than before, spatially centralised on to major (capital) cities.  This follows a certain spatial centralisation of capital, and of elites.  The voices of poor regions, and of rural areas, rarely get heard.  Reporters, of tv, radio and the print media, rarely venture to report seriously beyond the capital city, and so on.  Indeed, in this regard much of the opposition to the neoliberal regime has been just as guilty.  In the so-called critical social sciences there is a persistent tendency to replace the term society with the word city. Everything is about ‘the city’.  There are reasons for this – for instance the argument that it is from the cities that alternatives are most likely to be articulated (but even then what of the Zapatistas and the Naxalites?).  But it is both theoretically inadequate and in itself undemocratic (and smacks a bit of self-absorption too, since this is where many of the protagonists are based) to reduce the politically recognised world to that of the large metropolis.  The general point, however, is unarguable – that ‘democracy’ in whatever terms has taken a severe battering.

 It is in part as a result of this that there is a strong current within many of today’s street-level protest movements, not for the reinvigoration of current forms of democracy (party politics and representative democracy) but for their complete rejection.¹  Instead, the proposal is for direct democracy, decision-making in assemblies, the pursuit of consensus and, at a wider level, the emergence of ‘the common’.

Part of what I want to argue here is that these two approaches to democracy are implicitly founded on contrasting spatial imaginations, contrasting background assumptions about the geography of society, and that excavations of these spatial contrasts may contribute to the debates between them.  However I want to begin with a wider argument : that there are deep connections, connections that go beyond the, perfectly correct, observations about public space and so forth, between democracy and the conceptualisation of space.

Space : coevalness and respect

What I should like to propose, then, is that there may be deep relations between spatiality and democracy, relations that stem from the very conceptualisation of these two phenomena.

One of the characteristics of space that is probably undisputed is that it is the dimension of multiplicity.  That is to say, if time is the dimension of succession (one thing after another), of development, and of becoming in the Bergsonian sense, space – in contrast – is the dimension of the existence at the same time of more than one thing, event, trajectory, etc.  Space is the dimension of the simultaneity of a multiplicity of trajectories.²  This is important.  Space is in that sense the essential dimension of our thrown-togetherness.

A number of political implications follow from this.  The first, simplest and most obvious is that it is space, as that dimension of contemporaneous co-existence, that is the ground for posing to us that most fundamental of political questions : how are we going to live together.  It is, in that sense, the grounding dimension of the social (in its most general sense, referring not just to human society but to our condition of living in a non-human world too – that is, the social in contrast to the individual).  The second, and consequent, implication is that it is space that poses to each of us the challenge of the existence of others, human and other-than-human.  Taken seriously, this characteristic of the spatial dimension urges upon us an attitude of outward-looking-ness. It begins, thereby, to pose the challenge of democracy.

This sounds so bland.  It is easy to agree without taking seriously its political implications.  For what is at issue here is a radical contemporaneity : the acknowledgment of co-evalness.  The anthropologist Johannes Fabian, who has written much about background conceptualisations of space and time within his own discipline, argues that ‘coevalness aims at recognizing cotemporality as the condition for truly dialectical confrontation’ (1983, p.154).  Coevalness concerns a stance of recognition, of equality in mutual engagement.  It is an imaginative space of interaction that speaks of the power-relations in that interaction, and it is informed by an underlying conceptualisation of space as the dimension of contemporaneous multiplicity.

This is a challenge posed by spatiality that, as has often been noted, is frequently evaded.  Fabian’s critique is of a discipline (anthropology) which has a history of ‘placing’ its objects of study – in this case peoples in what we now call the global South – not only far away in space but also back in time.  As he writes, ‘The absence of the Other from our Time has been his [sic] mode of presence in our discourse – as an object and victim.  That is what needs to be overcome’ (p.154).  However it is not only in anthropology that this happens.  Constantly, in social and political discourse, and in the implicit imaginations of space and time on which they depend, the initiating recognition of equality that is required by radical contemporaneity is evaded.  We speak of sequences such as developed – developing – underdeveloped, we implicitly imagine societies as ‘backward’, and so forth.  It is the compression of contemporaneous heterogeneity into temporal sequence, of the multiplicity of space into a singular temporality.  Its pervasiveness, and its political significance, is captured by Fabian in his Introduction when he writes, ‘The radical contemporaneity of mankind is a project’ (p.xi). It is, I suggest, a project fundamental to democracy.

There are two immediate implications of this evasion of this challenge of space.  The first is that there is assumed to be only one temporality, one big historical path onto which different societies can be placed.  The denial of the multiplicity of space entails also the denial of the multiplicity of temporal trajectories.  It could be argued that the whole notion of ‘modernity’ and of ‘the modern’ themselves entail this convening of spatial heterogeneity into temporal sequence.  In what follows, however, I shall argue that it has become of particular significance during our three decades of neoliberalism.

The second implication of this evasion of the challenge of radical contemporaneity is that we do not, in the founding imaginative constructions of our interaction, recognise the others as of equal standing.  We relegate them to the past (occasionally we may elevate them to the future) when what is required is simple acknowledgement of our simultaneous existence in our difference.

It is something of this that Jacques Derrida seems to be trying to catch when he aligns this recognition of the character of the spatial with an attitude of ‘respect’.  If Fabian concentrates (as I have done) on the denial of contemporaneity, then Derrida is focussing on the distance implied in the multiplicity of space and on rejecting any founding characterisation as more or less worthy of respect.  Thus he writes, ‘There is no respect….. without the vision and distance of a spacing’ (1997, p.60, emphasis in the original; cited in Donald, 1999, p.166).  There are many aspects of Derrida’s conceptualisation of space and time with which I take some issue (see Massey, 2005), but this is a really important point.  A real recognition of the radical contemporaneity of others as an essential aspect of spatiality demands an attitude of respect.

It is important to emphasise, however, that these notions of coevalness and respect refer to initiating stances in moments of interaction.  In no way do they imply that there will not be antagonism.  Indeed it is an argument of this essay that one necessary element of true political engagement is the drawing of clear frontiers of contestation.  Still less does urging respect and a recognition of coevalness imply the development of some stance of liberal toleration.  Absolutely not.  The engagement may be one of fierce opposition, but before the fight, or at the same moment, there is respect.  Respect in that sense is one of the challenges posed by the dimension of space.

Much of this argument is already present in our debates; indeed I have myself often written about it.  But I wanted to rehearse it here in order to draw it into new arguments.  Most especially, this question of respect and coevalness is implicated in the question of ‘voice’, and of whose voices are heard, and whose are not.  One, among many, of the essential preconditions for an adequate democracy at whatever level, from the household to the nation to the global arena, is that voices are equally heard.  How one responds to what those voices say is another matter.

Space ; multiplicity, democracy and neoliberalism

 

This matter of the essential character of space as the dimension of multiplicity is key, I believe, in the current conjuncture.  It is a deep, but rarely remarked-upon irony of the present age that we are bombarded by ‘choice’, consumer choice, and dragooned into making a thousand ‘choices’ we don’t give a damn about, while at the level that really matters – the question of, for instance, the kind of society in which we would like to live or what future we should like to build – we are told, implacably, absolutely, that There Is No Alternative.

For three decades, three neoliberal decades, the idea has become established, certainly here in Europe, that there is no other way.  The notion has become established as the hegemonic common sense, in the Gramscian meaning, though as we shall see there are ironic contradictions here, that there is no alternative.  The only way forward is that promoted by the elites.  According to them, there is only one possible path to follow, only one basis on which to build a future.  There is, in other words, no co-existing multiplicity of possible futures.

Now, it is clear that, in one sense this is quite normal.  The battle to establish the hegemony of a particular political position, and a particular strategy for the future, is the very nature of political struggle (see below).  Everyone, in political argument, claims their way to be the only one.  Yet, I would argue, this strategy has been of a different nature, and certainly more successful, in this period of neoliberalism than has been typical of other social settlements.

There are many reasons for this success. However, one element is key : the establishment of the idea that ‘markets’ or ‘the market’ are/is a force of nature – a force external to society.  This can be detected in many ways.  There is the language that is used to describe the financial markets as they roam Europe attacking country after country – an external force, a wild beast maybe, certainly not the product of particular social strata and their economic and political interests.  There is the understanding of ‘human nature’ and of the long histories of human societies as ‘naturally’, as part of their very nature, given to market trading : an understanding beautifully demolished by Karl Polanyi in The Great Transformation as long ago as 1944, but still living on as an effective underpinning of political discourses on the Right.  There is that shrug of resignation and powerlessness by ordinary folk as something happens that they do not like : ‘well, it’s the market I suppose, isn’t it’.  A ‘thing’ one cannot gainsay.  There is, within the academy itself, the pretension on the part of neoclassical economics to be a natural, or physical, science, rather than a social science.  The degree to which these ideas, this ideological scaffolding, currently infuses the hegemonic common sense is astonishing.  The assumption that markets are natural is so deeply rooted in the structure of thought, certainly here in Europe, that even the fact that it is an assumption seems to have been lost to view.  This is real hegemony.

 

This particular nature of the current hegemonic claim to be the only way forward has serious consequences for democracy.  Most obviously, the re-situating of ‘the economic’ into the realm of the natural or the scientific removes it from the sphere of political and ideological contestation.  It becomes a matter for ‘experts’ and for ‘technocrats’.  The recent imposition of technocrats into the governments in Athens and in Rome is just one of the most obvious examples of this.  The widespread popular understanding of ‘the troika’ that governs European monetary policy as ‘expert’ rather than as both political and as working for certain interests rather than others is another.  But there are subtler and deeper ways too in which this removal of economic questions from political contestation has been accomplished.  In the United Kingdom, for instance, one popular view on the streets at the moment of the formation of the present government as a coalition of parties (unusual in the UK) was that : ‘it is good if they stop their political squabbling and get together to sort this thing (economic crisis) out’.  In fact of course what we needed was more, but real, political argument over the nature of the crisis, its roots in class and political interests, and radically alternative ways out.  And  of course the coalition government that emerged from this getting together is not ‘expert’ at all; as at the European level it is politically committed to a right-wing strategy, not only in which the poor pay for the crisis but in which the deepening of neoliberalism and the further dismantling of the public sector and the public sphere is avidly pursued.  Yet all the while they told, and tell, us : ‘We really don’t want to do this, we know it hurts, but there is no alternative’.

There are many other examples that could be given but the point is that this assertion of the naturalness of markets and the economic, and the consequent rhetorical removal of that sphere from political debate is crucial in the assertion of, and the success of, neoliberal ideological hegemony.  And it is an assertion that, in itself, is anti-democratic.

Of course, there are many ways in which the last thirty years of what we have come to call neoliberal hegemony have entailed attacks on democracy.  At the local level, as already mentioned, there has been the loss of public spaces, a loss of the kinds of spaces propitious for the development of democratic subjects.  And indeed privatisation in general is a way of reducing democratic control, whether it be of industries, services, or spaces.  Or again, genuine democracy requires a reasonable degree of equality (in contrast to ‘liberalism’ – and the appeal to democracy when Western governments intervene in other countries is often no more than a cover for liberalism – see Massey, 2011).  But neoliberal economic strategies produce increasing inequality.  Indeed that redistribution from labour to capital was one of the aims of neoliberalism’s introduction by the currently hegemonic strata.

There are therefore many who argue that neoliberalism in its very constitution represents a threat to democracy; and I agree with this.  However, given the preceding discussion I would add two reasons for it, beyond those that are usually cited.  The first is what was discussed above: the removal of the economic from the sphere of political contest, through the claim that markets are natural, and so forth.  But that in turn, I would argue, has been – and is – central to the claim that there is no alternative.  And what that claim represents is a denial of multiplicity.  And that in turn is a denial of democracy.  Keeping open the possibility of there being alternatives, and thus the possibility of political argument, is the essence of democracy.  What are at issue here are implicit spatial imaginaries : the denial of the multiplicity of the present closes down the possibility of alternative futures, and thus the possibility of politics.

This is key at the present moment.  For while there is most certainly an acute crisis of the economic model of neoliberalism, it has not yet been thrown into crisis at the ideological level (Massey, 2011).  Certainly, there are challenges to this ideological dominance, from the indignados and Occupy through Melenchon in France and Syriza in Greece, to the radical experiments underway at both grassroots and governmental levels in Latin America.  Indeed, the ferocity and mendacity of the attacks launched against every one of these initiatives themselves demonstrate the importance to the current elites precisely of maintaining their slogan that there is no alternative.  And there has as yet been no serious fracturing of, nor the production of rupturing contradictions within, their ideological carapace.  But without fracturing the hegemonic common sense it will be impossible to break the dominance of the current economic discourse: to establish the multiplicity of futures between which we can, and must, choose.  And only if that can be achieved can a moment of conjunctural rupture, in the Gramscian sense, be arrived at in which a change in the balance of social and political forces may finally be possible.

 

Contrasting spaces of democracy

The very establishment of real alternatives is, then, equivalent to the spatialisation of the political terrain.  But we can go further.  For one of the things at issue in this argument, I would like to propose, concerns our spatial imaginations of both society and democracy.  In discourses, and political debates, about forms of society and alternative forms of democracy, these implicit spatialities are rarely brought to light.  Yet making these spatialities explicit may help us to understand more clearly the alternatives before us.

It is perhaps easiest to begin with aspects of the implicit spatialities of the current neoliberal hegemonic position, since these are reasonably well recognised.  The irony of the counterposition between the celebration of ‘choice’ within, and the lack of choice without, has already been pointed to.  It is also ironic that, given neoliberalism’s resonance with many aspects of what has been called postmodernism, and given that one of the most significant challenges posed by postmodernists has been to the modernist conception of Grand Narratives, the current postulation of the mantra of ‘There is No Alternative’ shares so much of the structural form of a Grand Narrative.  Here there is only one possible model of successful development, and societies are evaluated, and imaginatively positioned, on a line measuring out their progress along that path.  This is a classic case of the imaginary temporal convening of contemporaneous spatial heterogeneity (eg between societies) into a simple sequence; it is an annihilation at that level of the multiplicity of space.  Given that this age of postmodernity is frequently described as ‘spatial’, in contrast to the dominance of the modern imaginary by temporality (Jameson, 1991), this is an irony indeed.

As has been argued, what is most required at the current moment is a blasting open of this closure and a challenge to the ideological hegemony through the assertion of radical alternatives.

One of the achievements of that street-level movement of indignados and Occupations over the autumn and winter of 2011-2012 was to do just that.  And a sophisticated understanding and political use of space was critical in their success (see Massey, 2012, for a fuller discussion of this in relation to London).  In London, Occupy LSX finally set up camp alongside and on the steps of St. Paul’s Cathedral, but still amongst the buildings of finance capital.  Its very location was an assertion of the presence of a stream of thought that disrupted the assumptions of its surroundings.  The incongruity of the symbolic humility of the tents, huddled between the soaring stone edifices, itself spoke of radical challenge.  (I would argue that it instituted a political frontier – see below.)  St. Paul’s Cathedral, indeed, was thrown into confusion by the very requirement to make a real choice (in this age of meaningless choices), a dilemma that led to two senior clergy and one other member of the Church, who were more sympathetic to the (right to) protest, leaving their jobs.  This was a dramatic eruption into, and disruption of, the smooth space of neoliberal capitalism.  In that sense it posed a radical alternative, irreconcilable with the dominant ideology.  It was posing questions we weren’t supposed to ask : a kind of shock-tactics of the imagination – which is just what is needed, and what is essential for the operation of real democracy.

Occupy LSX enriched democracy in another spatially-aware way too.  Out of merely a place of passage (public space in the very loosest sense of that term) it created a site for the nourishment, potentially at least, of engaged political subjectivity.  It was, it told us, ‘open’ – open to passers-by, open to debate, open through the web to global connections and conversations.  A place of engagement.

However, drawing upon this sense of openness and engagement, Occupy LSX also asserted, in the concluding line of its main explanatory leaflet (its Initial Statement) : ‘This is what democracy looks like’.  This is a proposal that has been much in use in these circles at least since Seattle.  The reference in London was to the democracy internal to the site, conducted through discussion and direct democracy.  And certainly, this did exemplify one challenging alternative form of democracy.  However, different kinds of democracy do different jobs.  Moreover they imply and require different kinds of spaces and places.  This mode of direct democracy leading to consensus makes one of two assumptions.  Either it assumes, and in spite of the invitation at the end of the Statement to ‘come and join us!’, the exclusion of the enemy with whom one could never agree (in other words, it is not really an open space) or – and if taken to be the only form of real democracy – it assumes that in the end there can be universal consensus, even with one’s structural and political antagonists, a position that relies upon both the possibility of a full totality and essentialist immanentism.  What it does not include is that kind of passionate conflict of values and ideas that are not simply reconcilable (the conflict with finance capital, with the 1%, the conflict between classes).  Yet I would argue, along with many others (for instance, Chantal Mouffe, 2005) that this radical confrontation of political visions, the drawing of political frontiers, is what real politics (in the Mouffian sense of ‘the political’ in distinction from the daily practice of ‘politics’) is all about.  Real choice.

The approach to democracy at Occupy does not contain, within its own space, its own society, such political choice.  This approach is consistent with that proposed by Michael Hardt and Antonio Negri (2001, 2004), and it lies behind many of the experiments in democracy that have been developed within the social-forum movement also.³  But in its claim to be the only  form of democracy it entails a particular spatial imaginary of society as potentially reconcilable into a totality, stemming from universally immanent desires.  Here, in this kind of consensual direct democracy, there is a dependence upon an image of society, of the ‘place’ of democracy, as potentially coherent.  Here there are no internal frontiers of political antagonism, no radical heterogeneity.  Within these societies/places/spaces there will be no engagement with – or, perhaps, no recognition of the potential existence of – the political antagonist.

It is, in contrast, the insistence upon the necessary presence of the possibility of radical heterogeneity – of the possibility of challenge from radically distinct political projects – that is central to that stream of political philosophy that derives from the work of Antonio Gramsci and that draws in particular upon the concept of hegemony.  In this view, any apparent coherence or unity of a society or place is understood to be a political achievement – a constructed hegemony – which is not therefore in fact totalising but always open to the possibility of radical contest.  There is no assumption of any potential unfractured wholeness.  This is place as always multiple and always, at least potentially, contested.  It is a view that, first of all, respects the inescapable challenge of multiplicity that is thrown up to us by the very existence of the spatial dimension, and its presentation to us of the existence of others.  It is also a view that is in accord with arguments within geography that have challenged notions of place as settled coherences to insist upon the inevitable need for their negotiation.  This is not, then, a smooth or coherent unity, but a space that is fractured (differentially over time) and struggled over.  It is for that reason democratic : it is multiple.

Conclusion

Different kinds of democracy, then, do different jobs, and they are each open to different deficiencies.  A system of political parties and representative democracy without a public sphere of engagement with the potential for the formation of an informed citizenry can result merely in an empty formalism.  Consensual small groups of the like-minded may fail to engage in their practices of democracy with radically different political projects.

In practice, of course, different forms of democracy are rarely found in pure form.  And they may not even live up to their own potential.  Actually-existing representative democracy in many  European countries has over recent years totally failed to produce the political frontiers between different visions that, in principle, it has the potential for.

What it seems wisest to conclude is that we need many different forms of democracy to co-exist in a society, performing different kinds of roles in different kinds of spaces.  A society is not really ‘democratic’ only because of its formal structures but also as a result of its more general ‘texture’.  And that means lots of different spaces, and different kinds of spaces, of engagement.

Finally, behind that again, lies the need for a more general stance.  An attitude that infuses people’s engagement with the world.  An attitude that recognises multiplicity and the existence of others with their own, different, trajectories; an attitude, in that sense, that is outwardlooking.  An attitude that acknowledges co-evalness – an achievement more difficult than is commonly recognised – and that enters into any engagement with a stance of respect.  And all these attributes, I would argue, are in one way and another tied up with the hard discipline of developing a radically spatialised imagination.

Notes

1)    There are many other reasons too, the rejection of any forms of ‘constituted’ (as opposed to ‘constituent’) power being one of them – see Hardt and Negri, 2001; and Holloway, 2002.

2)    This is only one element.  On the conceptualisation of space more generally see Massey, 2005.

3)    There has, of course, been much critical debate about this form of democracy.  See Featherstone, 2012, especially chapter 17, for a discussion.

References

Derrida, J., 1997, Politics of friendship, London : Verso.

Donald, J, 1999, Imagining the modern city, London: The Athlone Press.

Fabian, J., 1983, Time and the Other : how anthropology makes its object, New York : Columbia University Press.

Featherstone, D., 2012, Solidarity : hidden histories and geographies of internationalism, London : Zed Books.

Hardt, M. and Negri, A, 2004, Multitude, New York : Penguin Books.

Hardt, M. and Negri, A., 2001, Empire, Cambridge, Mass : Harvard University Press.

Holloway, J., 2002, Change the world without taking power, London : Pluto Press.

Jameson, F., 1991, Postmodernism, or, the cultural logic of late capitalism, London : Verso.

Massey, D., 2011, ‘Ideology and economics in the present moment’, Soundings : a journal of politics and culture, issue 48, Summer, pp.29-39.

Massey, D., 2012, ‘Londres, diciembre de 2011’ in Albet, A. and Benach, N. (eds), Un sentido global del lugar, Barcelona : Icaria : Espacios Crítícos, pp.247-264.

Massey, D., forthcoming, ‘Espacio, lugar y política en la coyuntura actual; Urban (Madrid).

Mouffe, C., 2005, The democratic paradox, London : Verso.

Polanyi, K., 1944/2001, The great transformation, Boston, Mass : Beacon Press.

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