Adey on Merriman: Mobility, Space and Culture

9780415593564Pete Adey reviews Peter Merriman’s book Mobilities, Space and Culture (Routledge 2012).

Other mobilities titles recently reviewed on the Open Site inlcude Kathryn Morrison and John Minnis’ Carscapes and Jensen’s Staging Mobilities.

Inwood, Tyner and Alderman: Remembering the Real Violence in Ferguson

This commentary by Joshua F.J. Inwood, James A. Tyner, and Derek Alderman offers a trenchant look at the social-spatial legacies of racial violence and police brutality in the US.  The murder of Michael Brown is just one of many cases of young African-American men shot by police every year.

Look out later this year for Tyner, Inwood, and Alderman’s paper in Society and Space, “Theorizing Violence and the Dialectics of Landscape Memorialization: A Case study of Greensboro, North Carolina”. Through a case study of racialized violence in Greensboro, North Carolina, the authors argue that scholars must articulate more clearly how violence, as a theoretical construct, is abstracted from the concrete realities of lived experience and represented discursively and materially on the landscape.

- The Editors

Ferguson Day 6, photo taken by Loavesofbread and  uploaded to Thank you Loavesofbread. No changes were made to this image; it is part of the Creative Commons.

Ferguson Day 6, photo taken by Loavesofbread and uploaded to Thank you Loavesofbread. No changes were made to this image; it is part of the Creative Commons.

Remembering the Real Violence in Ferguson

As we type these words, Ferguson, Missouri is burning.  Almost a month after the local Ferguson Police Department killed Michael Brown, an unarmed African American teenager, members of the Ferguson community demand justice.  While the situation in Ferguson is complex, we nonetheless want to draw attention to the ways the violent death of Michael Brown and the subsequent community uprising is indicative of the work that violence accomplishes within our present neoliberal and racialized condition in the United States.  More specifically we highlight how the broader media focus on the “rioting” and “looting” in the aftermath of the police shooting deflects attention from the actually existing structures of violence that permit such killings.  This deflection is indicative of the ongoing legacies of traditional (mis)understandings of violence.

Violence has a geography and for this reason, geography lies at the center of discussions of violence (Tyner and Inwood 2014; Blomley 2003). Within the United States a myriad of taken for granted assumptions about identity, place, power, and memory undergird the nation’s psyche.  These normative interpretations intersect with a particular kind of geographic formulation that places persons of color in general, but black men most specifically, at the center of the violent structures of the nation.

Continue reading here.

Daniel P S Goh – The Little India Riot and the Spatiality of Migrant Labor in Singapore

This commentary by Daniel Goh provides a detailed critique of migrant worker issues in Singapore, an important locale for global migrant worker flows. For more on the politics of migration and borders on this site, see the commentary Border choreography, bare bodies, and penal states and the postings Immigrant policing, not immigration enforcement and Carceral society on Guam and Saipan that appeared as part of our US Carceral Society Forum, as well as multiple posts in our book reviews section (such as reviews of Intimate Encounters, Fortress Europe, Beyond Walls and Cages, and Working Lives). 
-The Editors


“South Asian foreign workers at a busy lane in Little India, Singapore” (Photo credit: Thaejas Kocherlakota, 2008; downloaded from Wikimedia Commons, licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported

“South Asian foreign workers at a busy lane in Little India, Singapore” (Photo credit: Thaejas Kocherlakota, 2008; downloaded from Wikimedia Commons, licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported

Migrant Labor Flows and the Asian Global City

Migrant labor flows from poorer to richer countries have been raising significant political, social and cultural issues worldwide. For conservatives, these flows pose issues of national integration and identity, and provide fodder for early pronouncements of the death of multiculturalism, as we have seen in Britain, France, Germany and Australia in recent years. For liberals, questions of human rights are sharpened when illegal economic immigrants are shot or left to drown in the borderlands, and when the citizenship and labor rights of those already working in the country are denied or neglected. For me, as a student of spatial politics based in Singapore, I am interested in how these issues intersect with the production of space and the rapid urbanization of Asia.

In comparison to the migrant labor experience in North America, Europe and Australasia, these issues take on a different color for Asian cities attracting migrant workers from the poorer hinterlands. To differentiate even further, there is a special class of Asian global cities that have been attracting cross-border migrant labor immigration. Unlike the Chinese coastal cities or the South Asian mega-cities, transnational and transient migrants flows to aspirant global cities, such as Dubai, Hong Kong, Kuala Lumpur, Qatar and Singapore, pose special problems and raise peculiar issues. These are cities ruled by national regimes with an autocratic grip on municipal space. “Flexible citizenship”, extra-legal recruitment regimes and exclusion from labor laws are used to control and manage migrant workers.

Continue reading here.

Philosophy and Ecology at the End of the World: Morton’s Hyperobjects reviewed

hyperobjectsCara Daggett reviews Timothy Morton’s Hyperobjects: Philosophy and Ecology after the End of the World (University of Minnesota Press, 2013).

Timothy Morton’s Hyperobjects: Philosophy and Ecology after the End of the World is a queasily vertiginous quest to synthesize the still divergent fields of quantum theory (the weirdness of small objects) and relativity (the weirdness of big objects) and insert them into philosophy and art, which he notes are far behind ontologically speaking. Morton’s wager is that for the first time, we in the Anthropocene are able to see snapshots of hyperobjects, and that these intimations more or less will force us to undergo a radical reboot of our ontological toolkit and (finally) incorporate the weirdness of physics.

Continue reading Daggett’s review here.

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


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 3,533 other followers