In the Meantime reviewed

s-l500Ella Harris reviews Sarah Sharma’s In the Meantime: Temporality and Cultural Politics. The book came out last year with Duke University Press and further information about it can be found here.

Forthcoming papers

Issue 2 of the 2015 volume of Environment and Planning D: Society and Space will go to press soon. In the meantime, many of the papers slated for that issue are up online:

In Encountering Occupy London: boundary making and the territoriality of urban activism, Sam Halvorsen situates an examination of Occupy London within literatures on boundary-making, and argues that Occupy’s practices of encountering provide ways to rethink the production of territoriality.

Practices of encountering are also examined in Elizabeth Johnson’s Of lobsters, laboratories, and war: animal studies and the temporality of more-than-human encounters. Through a reflection on field notes from an ethnographic encounter with lobster experimentation, she argues for the need to examine wider temporal and spatial relations, and particularly political economies, as important elements in any encounter.

Living absence: the strange geographies of missing people, by Hester Parr, Olivia Stevenson, Nick Fyfe and Penny Woolnough, seeks to understand urban geographies of absence through an analyses of the restaged testimonies of ‘missing people’.

Juanita Sundberg’s The state of exception and the imperial way of life in the United States-Mexico borderlands situates recent events in the US–Mexico borderlands in relation to modalities of power used in the expansion of US imperial hegemony, in order to support ongoing efforts to forge coalitions better able to contest legal suspension as a predominant technique of government.

In Cross-border marriage, transgovernmental friction, and waiting, Juan Zhang, Melody Chia-Wen Lu and Brenda S A Yeoh likewise consider governmental rationalities around border-crossing, here in relation to the experiences of Chinese marriage migrants in Singapore. [Note: for more papers on the governance of migration flows, see the virtual theme issue on International Immigration on this site]

In Wet ontologies, fluid spaces: giving depth to volume through oceanic thinking, Philip Steinberg and Kimberley Peters expand on work on volume that seeks to destabilise static, bordered, and linear framings of place, territory, and time, arguing that a ‘wet ontology’ can reinvigorate, redirect, and reshape debates that are restricted by terrestrial limits.

Finally, Jordan Fox Besek’s Neoliberal Niagara? Examining the political history of fish consumption advisories in New York State examines the ways that conservationist and neoliberal logics converge in environmental policies geared towards support for recreational anglers rather than those who fish for subsistence.


Also up early online are two papers that will appear in theme issue titled ‘War, law and space’ (guest edited by Craig Jones and Michael Smith) that will be published later this year:

Zoltán Glück’s Piracy and the production of security space utilizes Foucault’s analysis of security and Marx’s analysis of capital circulation to offer an analysis of the new institutional patchwork of ‘counterpiracy’. And, in Securitizing instability: the US military and full spectrum operations, John Morrissey examines the recent broadening of the US military’s overseas mission into what it calls ‘full spectrum operations’ and critiques how it is being enabled by what he terms ‘full spectrum law’.

‘Charlie Hebdo’ and the Politics of Response – A Forum

Photo by Rhodri Davies, used with permission.

Photo by Rhodri Davies, used with permission.

There have by now been many pieces published in response to the events that took place in Paris between 7 and 9 January 2015 that we now associate with ‘Charlie Hebdo’. Indeed, so much has been written that the novelist Hari Kunzru claims that he can barely bring himself to sit down and read the commentary. Many of us will share the feeling that we can’t bear to hear any more about the War on Terror: about the familiar discourses of ‘civilization’ and ‘barbarism’ (Marshall), the ‘political-theological spectres’ that hang over the event (Leshem), the recognisable pattern of ‘mobile, irruptive violence’ (Coward) and the style of the event, which quickly finds its ‘genre’ in 24 hour news media (Anderson).

Spectacular acts of violence such as those witnessed at the Charlie Hebdo offices on the 7th January 2015, where 8 journalists including the magazine’s editor, 2 police officers, 1 caretaker and 1 visitor were killed, are of course designed to demand a response. Such events, and the responses by political leaders to them, are also designed to polarize opinion, and to bolster ideas about ‘us’ and ‘them’. On this occasion, those ideas played out in the affective atmospheres conjured by the #jesuischarlie hashtag, which invited people to position themselves as either ‘for Charlie’ or ‘against Charlie’. Tariq Ali writes that this compulsion to announce ‘Je suis Charlie’ reminded him of the mood in the UK and US following the events of 11 September 2001, a mood described by Judith Butler as one of ‘heightened nationalism’, which made it impossible to oppose having to be ‘with us’ or ‘against us’, or query the terms through which that opposition was framed.[1]

What is going on, then, in this compulsion to respond? What is at stake in the scenes of ‘liberal solidarity and resentment’ (Baldwin) that we witnessed on the 10th of January, in one of the largest collective gatherings to take place in Paris since the Second World War? How do some of the responses circulating serve to solidify identity positions, re-draw power positions, so that the shock of the event nevertheless returns us to a familiar politics, where some can feel comfortable whilst others, especially minority communities, are placed on the alert? If these attacks, and others like them, are purposefully designed as ‘affective forms of violence’ (Coward), then perhaps remaining indifferent to the event of ‘Charlie Hebdo’ might offer an alternative ethical response.

This collection of short, largely spontaneous responses were first presented at an event organized by the Politics-State-Space research cluster at Durham University Geography Department. All of the contributors seek ways of responding to this event that refuse the ‘imaginative geographies’ of ‘us’ and ‘them’ (Closs Stephens), as well as other familiar framings through which this event has become known, but all nevertheless note the very difficulties of addressing ‘Charlie Hebdo’ otherwise, and in ways that refuse the ‘languages of terror’ (Ferreboeuf) in particular.[2]

[1] Judith Butler, Precarious Life: The Powers of Mourning and Violence. London: Verso, 2006.

[2] Thanks to all the participants who took part at the original event, all the contributors, and especially to Ben Anderson, Martin Coward, Paul Harrison and Natalie Oswin for their encouragement.

Angharad Closs Stephens, Department of Geography, Durham University

Ben Anderson, Becoming-Event

Andrew Baldwin, Tolerance and Resentment

Angharad Closs Stephens, Aesthetic Responses

Martin Coward, On Urban Violence

Rebecca Ferreboeuf, Languages of Change

Noam Leshem, Toward Another Political Theology

David Jones Marshall, Scales of Response: Between Elsewhere and Civilization Itself


Note from the editors: Also on this site, see the related commentaries Hate, by Mustafa Dikeç, and Resisting through and with comics, by Juliet J. Fall.  

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iBorder, Borderscapes, Bordering: A Conversation – Chiara Brambilla and Holger Pötzsch

Holger Pötzsch’s article “The emergence of iBorder: bordering bodies, networks, and machines” appears in issue 1 of the 2015 volume of Environment and Planning D: Society and Space, and is now open access for one month. Extending the insights of that piece, he and Chiara Brambilla discuss a range of theoretical and methodological issues in border research in the following conversation:

Holger Pötzsch: In the article on iBorder published in Society and Space, I argue that contemporary borders and regimes of bordering are dislocated, dispersed, and increasingly attach themselves to individual bodies. I move from a description of the socio-technological apparatus of management and control centered upon biometrics, dataveillance, and automation through which these processes are facilitated to questions of the practices through which the varying potentials for individualized in- and exclusion are actualized. I term this transition a movement of attention from iBorder to the contingent practices of iBordering. Would you say that this resonates with your recent demand, made in the article “Exploring the Critical Potential of the Borderscapes Concept” in Geopolitics, for a re-introduction of a phenomenological perspective into border research?

Chiara Brambilla: Yes, it definitely does. The shift from technology to cultural technique, proposed in your article, is required, indeed, to comprehend that a phenomenological perspective first and foremost demands a humanization of borders, even in the era of iBorders. As you put it, humans are not transformed into border cyborgs in the era of iBorders, but cultural techniques of bordering influence the formation of subjectivities and co-constitute contingent, rather than simply process given, subjectivities and frames for practices.

Continue reading here.

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International Immigration Virtual Theme Issue

This week, Indonesian domestic worker Erwiana Sulistyaningsih responded to the sentencing of the Hong Kong employer who severely physically abused her for many months with a call for the reform of domestic worker regulations, pointedly stating: “I hope the Hong Kong government can soon recognise we are workers in Hong Kong and we are not slaves.” In Italy, thousands attended an anti-immigration rally in Rome, while a counter-demonstration took place only a few hundred metres away; both held in large part as responses to Italy’s struggles to cope with the large numbers of migrants crossing the Mediterranean from Libya and Syria. In the US, Ernesto Javier Canepa Diaz was shot dead by police in Santa Ana, California. He was the third Mexican national to be killed by police in the country in the last month, and his death prompted condemnations and calls for response from the Mexican government and civil rights organizations. These stories, which represent only a tiny percentage of those filed with global news organizations on the topic of international immigration in just the last seven days, point instructively, and tragically, to some of the forms of violence that attend contemporary movements of people across borders as those movements come up against nationalist ideals, notions of identity and difference, austerity politics, security regimes, uneven labour geographies, and more.

Activists and policy-makers in countless sites respond in manifold ways to such violences, while scholars everywhere work to bolster these efforts. With this virtual theme issue, we, the Society and Space editors, have selected 17 pieces from the archives of Environment and Planning D: Society and Space and Environment and Planning A that fit within the frame of critical migration scholarship.

Continue reading here.

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Jonas, McCann and Thomas – Urban Geography: A Critical Introduction

Screen Shot 2015-02-20 at 5.52.52 AMAndy Jonas, Eugene McCann, and Society and Space editor Mary Thomas have written a fantastic introductory text on Urban Geography. The eBook version is out now, with paperback and hardback versions to follow shortly. From the publisher’s website:

An excellent textbook for urban geography courses: accessible, comprehensive and stimulating. For the student who wants to know how and why cities continue to matter, Andrew Jonas, Eugene McCann and Mary Thomas have produced a pedagogic tour-de-force.
Kevin Ward, University of Manchester

 An excellent and comprehensive introduction to cities’ uneven geographies and the diverse processes and experiences that co-produce them.  Each of its empirically rich and theoretically rigorous chapters will engage, excite and extend students, while giving them a solid grounding.
Pauline McGuirk, Director, Centre for Urban and Regional Studies, University of Newcastle, Australia

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Justin Clemens reviews Kate Schechter’s ‘Illusions of a Future: Psychoanalysis and the Biopolitics of Desire’

978-0-8223-5721-6_prIf psychoanalysis proved globally to be one of the greatest intellectual and ethical events of the twentieth century, crossing and scrambling the divisions between the sciences and arts, medicine and morality, the technical and the everyday, it perhaps had its most outrageous popular and institutional success in the mid-century United States. There, it not only enjoyed an almost-incredible triumph in its rapid and near-total takeover of psychiatric institutions across the country, but infiltrated the field of cultural production to the point where the shrink cartoon became a genre in its own right.

Continue reading Justin’s review here

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Alex Papadopoulos on Alexis Tsipras’s speech to the Greek Parliament

Before the Greek elections Society and Space hosted a mini forum on the possibilities and challenges to come. We now have the first of hopefully a series of contributions reflecting on the situation since SYRIZA’s victory. Alex Papadopolous writes on “Alexis Tsipras’ Historic Greek Parliament Speech in Support of Social Democracy – Against Neoliberalism“:

The Prime Minister of Greece and leader of the radical left party SYRIZA, Alexis Tsipras, delivered a major speech that addressed the near totality of domestic and foreign policy issues in the country’s political scene. Important questions about the separation of Church and State and LGBT rights—both in the party platform—were not covered, likely to placate the conservative coalition partner, the Independent Greeks. In certain respects this was business as usual, as a newly elected government commonly presents its program in a ‘state of the union-to-be’ sense to the Parliament and then seeks a vote of confidence. The affirmation of the Government and its program in at least a symbolic sense (since it is largely aspirational in character at this early point) signals the beginning of the legislative season.

continue reading here.

The previous posts in the forum were:

John Agnew (Geography, UCLA) – Ordnungspolitik: Germany’s Shadow over the Greek Election

Peter Bratsis (Political Science, CUNY) – The Greek Elections and the Rebirth of Europe as a Political Space

Costas Douzinas (Law/Institute for the Humanities, Birkbeck) – Greece and the Future of Europe

Antonis Vradis (Geography, Durham) – In-between Spaces

Rethinking place and protest in the digital age: two new reviews

Two new reviews are now available on the Open Site:

9780745333052First is Pollyanna Ruiz’s Articulating Dissent: Protest and the Public Sphere, reviewed by Hannah Awcock (Pluto Press, 2014).








9780415889551Second is Mobile Technology and Place, a collection edited by Rowan Wilken and Gerard Goggin and reviewed by Michael Duggan. The volume was published by Routledge in 2012 and has recently appeared in paperback.

Interview with Bruno Latour from Festival of Ideas in Valparaíso, Chile

An interesting interview with Bruno Latour conducted by Patricia Junge, Colombina Schaeffer and Leonardo Valenzuela appears on the VerDeseo blog, in English and with a link to a Spanish version.

See also these two open-access pieces by Latour and co-authors in past issues of Environment and Planning D: Society and Space:

November V, Camacho-Hübner E, Latour B, 2010, Entering a risky territory: space in the age of digital navigation Environment and Planning D: Society and Space 28(4) 581 – 599

Vargas E V, Latour B, Karsenti B, Aït-Touati F, Salmon L, 2008, The debate between Tarde and Durkheim Environment and Planning D: Society and Space 26(5) 761 – 777



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