Space, politics, and the political
- Publisher: SAGE Publications
politics | [SHS.SCIPO] Humanities and Social Sciences/Political science | Rancière | [SHS.GEO] Humanities and Social Sciences/Geography | the police | space | [ SHS.GEO ] Humanities and Social Sciences/Geography | [ SHS.SCIPO ] Humanities and Social Sciences/Political science
International audience; Introduction Geography and politics'', Gottmann wrote in 1980, ``have long been in search of each other'' (page 11). Debates in the literature suggest not only that they have found each other, but also that the encounter has instigated, notably in the last decade or so, a body of literature seeking to think space politically, and to think politics spatially. This is not to suggest that previous work on space was apolitical, nor to suggest that previous work on politicsöat least in geography and urban studies öwas aspatial. (1) This is to suggest, however, that the issue of geography and politics has since become a significant issue orienting research and informing theoretical endeavors. More so, perhaps, in geography and urban studies as exemplified by the works, among many others,. Although the response of political theorists to this encounter has been less marked, (2) some of the recent work suggests that its effects have not been one-sided (Bickford, 2000; Kohn, 2003; for an earlier example see Shapiro and Neubauer, 1989). In this paper, which also is a product of this encounter, I engage with the issue of space and politics' through a reading of Jacques Rancie© re's theorization of politics. `Politics' is qualified, for, as we will see, different understandings of politicsöand of the political'öhave different implications for the links between space and politics. Politics is commonly indicated by the presence of power or by the multiplicity of interests, power, and values. The political, in the first view, is signaled by the presence of any human relations organized by power'', whereas in the second it is signaled by the distinct problematic of negotiating the powers and values of enduring collectivities'' (Brown, 2002, page 569). The problem these understandings of the political pose for political Abstract. In this paper I offer a reading of Jacques Rancie© re's conceptualization of politics, and consider its implications for the links between space, politics, and the political. I provide an overview of Rancie© re's conceptualizations of the police', politics, and the political, and try to recover the spatiality of these notions. Based on this overview, the argument pursued in the paper is that space does not become political just by virtue of being full of power or competing interests. It becomes political by becoming the place where a wrong can be addressed and equality can be demonstrated. This definition makes space not only an integral element of the defining moment of the political, but an integral element of the disruption of the normalized order of domination as well.