Harvey’s Seventeen Contradictions reviewed

harvey-seventeen-contradictionsDavid Harvey’s new book Seventeen Contradictions and the End of Capitalism is reviewed by Ståle Holgersen from Linnaeus University, Sweden. The book was published by Profile Books earlier this year.

An interview with the author and other related videos are available here.

Laleh Khalili – A Habit of Destruction

As a follow-up to the virtual theme issue on Israel-Palestine that we posted last week, we have asked a number of scholars/ activists to contribute related postings. This powerful piece by Laleh Khalili is the first of these to come in. Others will follow in the coming days and weeks.
- The Editors

The devastation to which Gaza has been subjected in the last few weeks seems to be yet another repetition of Israeli settler-colonial apparatus’ habit of destruction. Gaza has become emblematic of this habit, because in recent years it has so frequently been subjected to bombing while under a state of siege, but like all settler-colonialisms, the violence of the state is rooted not in an episodic “cycle of violence” but in the very ideology and practice of the settler-colonial movement.

The zero-sum struggle over the control of the land –whether as nationalist symbol, state territory, or capitalist/agricultural resource– is not just the fundamental basis of Israeli settler-colonialism, but that of all settler-colonialisms, with exploitation of indigenous labour forces appearing as an additional feature at some times and in some places. Such an indigenous population has to be brought to heel or else expelled. An oscillation between policies of subjugation and moments of expulsion –and often both simultaneously, though in different locales– has characterised Israeli violence towards Palestinians since the state’s very inception. Both in implementing policies of subjugation and policies of expulsion, the Israeli political and military apparatus has deployed the whole range of means –from administrative to military.

Expulsion of the great majority of the Palestinian population in 1948 and again in 1967 has produced large populations of refugees and refugee camps in the neighbouring states as well as West Bank and Gaza, themselves targets of military violence by Israel, its local allies, and other reactionary forces in the region. The Palestinian population who remained behind in 1948 has also been subjected to curfews, administrative detentions, closures, and violence in varying intensities over the last 66 years. The policies that effectively entail the expulsion of Palestinians –especially through the revocation of Palestinians’ Jerusalem residency cards– continue apace even where there are no ongoing military operations.

Continue reading here.

Everyday utopias and dystopias

Two new titles are reviewed on the Open Site:


cooperFirst is Davina Cooper’s new book  Everyday Utopias: The Conceptual Life of Promising Spacesreviewed by Gerda Roelvink (Duke University Press, 2014).









srvrutil_getImgSecond is Pnina Motzafi-Haller’s In the Cement Boxes: Mizrahi Women in the Israeli Periphery, reviewed by Michal Braier. This book was published in Hebrew in 2012 by The Hebrew University Magnes Press.









A review of Michael Gardiner’s Weak Messianism: Essays in Everyday Utopianism by Davina Cooper is available here.

Gratton on Rancière’s Aisthesis

rancierePeter Gratton reviews Jacques Rancière’s Aisthesis: Scenes from the Aesthetic Regime of Art (Verso, 2013).

Jacques Rancière has become the most discussed French philosopher over the last few years. From multiple introductory books and special journal issues to collected volumes, Rancière, whose work was often marginal in the 1970s and 80s, has come to be a major influence over artists and activists, pedagogues and geographers. His political writings are best known for placing at their core an axiom of equality among all, as well as a certain aesthetics of spatiality—every regime is but a policing of the distribution (partage) of the sensible. But while Rancière’s political writings have been central to his reception among English-language readers, over the last decade his work has almost completely focussed on aesthetics. Aisthesis comes as the culmination of such efforts.

Continue reading Gratton’s review here.

Israel-Palestine virtual theme issue

Source: Lisa Bhungalia

More than 1900 Palestinians and 66 Israelis have been killed since Israel launched ‘Operation Protective Edge’ in July 2014. Among the Palestinian dead are more than 1400 civilians. All but two of the Israeli dead are soldiers (the names of those killed as of August are published here, though many Palestinian dead remain unidentified). These figures attest to the constitutive destruction of a people and territory, of everything that makes life “liveable” in Judith Butler’s terms. Mosques, schools, residences, hospitals and clinics have been attacked with horrific force, and the UN estimates that the damage that has been done to Gaza’s infrastructure is more severe than the destruction caused by either of the last two Gaza wars (see the New York Times’ interactive maps that depict this devastation). Further, hundreds of thousands of persons have been internally displaced as the width of the ‘no-go zone’ bordering the Gaza strip has been increased by 3000% (see Derek Gregory and Léopold Lambert‘s compelling commentaries on this topic).

Continue reading here.

Volume 32, Issue 4 now out

Issue 4 is now online.

Performing homeland security within the US immigrant detention system 571 – 588 Nancy Hiemstra
Citizenship at work in the Israeli periphery: the case of Peri Ha’Galil 589 – 605 Nir Cohen, Meirav Aharon-Gutman [open access until 13th September 2014]
An anatomy of symbolic power: Israeli road-sign policy and the Palestinian minority 606 – 621 Liora Bigon, Amer Dahamshe [open access until 13th September 2014]
Mobile places, relational spaces: conceptualizing change in Sydney’s LGBTQ neighborhoods 622 – 641 Andrew Gorman-Murray, Catherine Jean Nash
Bringing democracy back home: community localism and the domestication of political space 642 – 657 Quintin Bradley
Gifted places: the inalienable nature of belonging in place 658 – 671 Julia Bennett
Are residential dwellers marking and claiming? Applying the concepts to humans who dwell differently 672 – 688 Chelsea Schelly
Contestation and bracketing: the relation between public space and the public sphere 689 – 703 Carl Cassegård
Nice save: the moral economies of recycling in England and Sweden 704 – 720 Kathryn Wheeler
Waste matters: compost, domestic practice, and the transformation of alternative toilet cultures around Skaneateles Lake, New York 721 – 738 Mike Dimpfl, Sharon Moran
Organismic spatiality: toward a metaphysic of composition 739 – 752 Tano S Posteraro

Carscapes reviewed by Martin Dodge

carscapesMartin Dodge offers his review of Kathryn Morrison and John Minnis’ Carscapes: The Motor Car, Architecture and Landscape in England here.

This profusely illustrated book was published by Yale University Press in 2012 and won the Peter Neaverson Award for Outstanding Scholarship awarded by the Association for Industrial Archaeology and the Railway & Canal Historical Society’s Transport Book of the Year Awards 2014.

The book was also shortlisted for the 2014 Art Book Prize and for the Alice Davis Hitchcock 2014 Award sponsored by the Society of Architectural Historians of Great Britain.

Seeing resilience like a state – Kevin Grove


Read Kevin Grove’s photo essay ‘Seeing resilience like a state’ here.

He contributed it to this site as a supplement to his article that appears in issue 2 of the current volume (32) of Society and Space“Agency, affect, and the immunological politics of disaster resilience”. Open access until September 5, the piece stems from ethnographic fieldwork that he conducted with Jamaica’s national disaster management agency and shows that resilience operates through an affective economy of fear, hope, and confidence that enacts an immunological biopolitics. Through his analysis, he concludes that recognizing the immunological logic at the heart of disaster resilience opens up new ethical and political imperatives in disaster management that value adaptive capacity as the vital force of new socioecological futures, rather than as an object of governmental intervention and control.

Judith Butler 2012 Parting Ways: Jewishness and the Critique of Zionism reviewed by Lisa Bhungalia

Lisa Bhungalia reviews Judith Butler’s 2012 book “Parting Ways: Jewishness and the Critique of Zionism”parting_ways_jewishness_and_the_critique_of_zionism-butler_judith-17414021-frntl

This is an updated version of the original posting.

It is day twenty-four of Israel’s latest military assault on Gaza. At the time of this posting, the Palestinian death toll exceeds 1,300 with casualties mounting by the hour. As per the most recent statistics from the United Nations, more than 250,000 residents have been internally displaced, many made refugees again, and much of Gaza’s urban and civilian infrastructure lay in ruins. To date, Israel has expropriated forty-four percent of this densely populated territory for a ‘buffer zone’, decimating neighborhoods within the demarcated area and forbidding Palestinians to return. As Israel’s ground invasion and aerial bombardments continue, the blockade imposed on this territory in 2006 remains in place (Rabbani 2014). Palestinians in Gaza are thus not only targeted by military violence, but they are further victimized by a regime of enforced immobility that has produced and maintained a humanitarian crisis for the 1.8 million inhabitants of this territory (Feldman 2014). Israel’s policy of forced enclosure (upheld along the southern border with Egypt) makes a mockery of the Israeli military’s ‘humanitarian warnings’ of impending attack. As even Jon Stewart has observed, ‘Evacuate to where? Have you seen Gaza?’

The scale and scope of destruction wrought on Gaza in the last twenty-four days, while devastating, is not exceptional. Rather it is, as Nimer Sultany (2014) notes, ‘once again’. It is ‘once again’ in multiple senses – first, and perhaps most commonly, the phrase is evoked in reference to the repetition of Palestinian death and destruction, as currently on brutal display in Gaza, as well as during previous Israeli incursions (2008-9, 2012). It is also used rhetorically to refer to an unceasing ‘cycle of violence’ between Israelis and Palestinians wherein wanton violence, it is argued, is inflicted on both sides (Shupak 2014). In this sense, ‘once again’ posits a false symmetry between Israel and the Palestinians while rendering outsiders passive, even if despaired, onlookers. However ‘once again’ is, as Sultany (2014) notes, not a ‘mere rhetorical gesture nor symptomatic of tragic despair.’ Rather it signals a ‘recursive power dynamic and a structural relationship between an occupier and an occupied.’

It is this context that is so often omitted from view in dominant coverage of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. As evidenced in popular coverage of Israel’s latest military assault of Gaza, the narrative most often begins with an unprovoked act of violence carried out on the part of the Palestinian ‘side’ to which Israel responds – and the cycle repeats. We hear of rockets launched into Israel; we hear of Israeli soldiers captured and killed. The narrative is about Israel’s victimhood, restraint or triumphalism in the face of imminent threat. Meanwhile mass Palestinian displacement and death is lamented as the unfortunate result of the dismantlement of ‘terrorist infrastructure’, or equally troubling, attributed to a ‘culture of martyrdom’ in which Palestinians will sacrifice even their own. Palestinians are themselves to blame for their own death and suffering. We hear nothing of the fact that in the absence of rocket fire into Israel, the siege on Gaza remains, settlement expansion across the West Bank continues and Palestinians remain subjects under Israeli military rule. During times of ‘calm’, strategies of containment and dispossession continue unabated.

That Palestinians continue to live in a political and ideological context in which they are deemed a demographic problem to be contained and controlled, in which their lives are taken with impunity, and in which they are disenfranchised, divided and placed under siege is rarely foregrounded in analyses of this ‘conflict.’ We are instead given sensational and easily digestible tropes of violence on ‘both sides’, ‘war’, and unrelenting ‘age-old religious conflict.’ In the absence of context, a false symmetry emerges – Israel and Hamas, it is commonly said are ‘at war’ (and if not Hamas, then any other number of Islamic and Palestinian ‘threats’ and ‘spoilers’ to peace). Such a framing however erases the multiple qualitative and quantitative differences at play between Israel and the Palestinians – yet even more crucially, it masks a political project predicated on the privileging of Jewish life, and correspondingly, devaluation of the life of the non-Jewish other. It is this context that has inspired Judith Butler’s most recent book, Parting Ways: Jewishness and the Critique of Zionism.

Continue reading Lisa’s review here

Look out for an interview from Palestine with Lisa Bhungalia by Society and Space editorial team, Mat Coleman, Mary Thomas and Kathryn Yusoff next week.

Readers might also be interested in Christopher Harker’s review “Five Broken Geographies” of Emad Burnat’s film “5 Broken Cameras” on Society and Space Open Site and Gerry Kearns review of Judith Butler’s geopolitics, “The Butler affair and the geopolitics of identity” in Environment and Planning D: Society and Space (paywall).

Atlases of disease

9780199572922Matthew Smallman-Raynor and Andrew Cliff’s Atlas of Epidemic Britain: A Twentieth Century Picture is reviewed by Tom Koch. The atlas was published in 2012 by Oxford University Press.

A selection of hi-res illustrations and maps from Andreas Vesalius and Abraham Ortelius’ atlases, which are discussed in the review, can be viewed at the online exhibition ATLASES: Poetics, Politics and Performance.

A review of Koch’s 2011 book Disease Maps: Epidemics on the Ground is available here.



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