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Brian Wemp

The Grands Magasins Dufayel, a huge department store built on the northern fringe of late nineteenth-century Paris, had an important cultural influence on the city's working class. In a neighborhood with few public spaces, it provided a consumer version of the public square. It encouraged workers to approach shopping as a social activity, just as the bourgeoisie did at the famous department stores in central Paris. Like the bourgeois stores, it helped transform consumption from a personal transaction between customer and merchant into an unmediated relationship between consumer and goods. Through advertising the store portrayed itself as a space where the working-class visitor could participate in new and exciting forms of entertainment and technology. Its unique instore cinema and exhibits of inventions like X-ray machines and the gramophone created a new kind of urban space that celebrated the close relationship between technology and consumer culture.

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Danielle Brady

The struggle to save the Beeliar Wetlands, an urban remnant bushland in Perth, Western Australia, demonstrates elements of both urban social and urban environmental movements. At the end of 2016, 30 years of objection to the continuation of the Roe Highway development (Roe 8) culminated in months of intense protest leading up to a state election and a cessation of work in 2017. During the long-running campaign, protestors fought to preserve high-conservation-value bushland that was contained in the planned road reserve. At the heart of this dispute were competing spatial uses. This article will analyze four protest actions from the dispute using Henri Lefebvre’s concept of the production of space, and will demonstrate that the practices of protest gave those fighting to preserve Roe 8 the agency to reinscribe meaning to the natural uses of the Beeliar Wetlands over and against the uses privileged by the state.

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Claiming Space

Documenting Second-generation Iranian Americans in Los Angeles

Amy Malek

In 2009–2010 I collaborated with four Iranian documentary photographers to document everyday lives of the second-generation Iranian-American community in Los Angeles (LA). This article offers an overview of that project and exhibition, along with a selection of images, and presents interview data that suggests several impacts of place and of representations of Iranians on second generation Iranian-American identity. Youth experiences of geopolitical, community and familial struggles have motivated many in this generation to re-mould the image of ‘LA Persians’ by claiming space in diaspora for themselves and their children, the growing third generation.

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Alterpolitics or alterotopies

A critique of nomadology with reference to West African Fulbe

Riccardo Ciavolella

This article offers a critique of how the anthropology of pastoral nomadic societies participates in the debate about alternative forms of political organization and emancipation. In the first part, I retrace the roots of the reciprocal and circular influence between anthropology and critical theory, focusing on Deleuze and Guattari's “nomadology” and their reliance on ethnographies of “primitive” and especially nomadic people. Attracted by the spatial autonomy and immanent forms of resistance of nomads, their work nourished the poststructuralist interpretation of power, which in turn influenced contemporary radical political anthropologists. In the second part, I reintroduce ethnographic evidence on pastoral nomads into the discussion. Relying on recent ethnographic evidence of the crisis of nomadism, especially in West Africa, I argue that we should be more prudent in considering interstitial spaces of freedom and resistances as strategies for structurally changing power and for emancipation.

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Tiffany Pollock

Fire dancers in Southern Thailand, almost exclusively young, intra-/international migrant men from rural Thailand and Myanmar, are paid to entertain tourists at nightly beach parties. An unacknowledged economy fueled largely by tips, fire dancing is fast becoming an iconic symbol of Thailand’s young backpacker tourism sector but is not considered an acceptable form of labor or a valued artistic practice, because tourist beach spaces are perceived as sites of immorality, excessive drinking, and sexuality. Male fire dancers, then, come to be known as young social deviants who do not belong in the national imaginary and thus must maneuver around a complex politics of belonging with vast differences in social and economic power. Drawing on ethnographic fieldwork, this article examines how belonging is negotiated among Burmese fire dancers working in Thailand, and how experiences of belonging are shaped by spatialized gendered moralities and masculinities that operate within the fire dancing scene.

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Mapping Time, Living Space

Comment and Reply

Stephan Feuchtwang and Susan Bayly

The Bad, Fear and Blame? Comment on Bayly’s Mapping Time, Living Space Stephan Feuchtwang

Reply Susan Bayly

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Rowan Mackenzie

Lefebvre describes how ‘space is lived not represented (or conceived)’ in the context of his spatial triad of perceived, conceived and lived spaces. This article focuses on the extent to which Shakespeare can enable those who feel imprisoned (whether literally or through social, mental, physical or economic constraints) to expand the space in which they exist. Drawing on the work of Lefebvre and Foucault in their consideration of spatial creation, manipulation and alteration by the social experiences within it, I develop on these theories to focus specifically on the use of Shakespeare’s plays to evolve these, often constraining, spaces into somewhere that gives the participants the freedom and space to explore alternatives to their previous experiences of life. This article considers the impact of using Shakespeare as a method of creating space for a group of men in Leicester Prison as part of their 2017 Talent Unlocked Arts Festival.

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Between the Linguistic and the Spatial Turns

A Reconsideration of the Concept of Space and Its Role in the Early Modern Period

Yair Mintzker

This exploratory essay seeks to unravel the inherent contradictions between two fundamental trends in contemporary historiography: the “spatial turn” on the one hand, and the “linguistic turn” on the other hand. The “spatial turn,” it argues, turned “space's” status as a category of analysis into an accepted dogma. Under these circumstances, one often overlooks the fact that “space,” like all concepts, can also be problematic and at times even misleading. By looking at several examples from and about the intellectual world of early modern Europe, the article demonstrates how the use of space as a category of analysis encounters two fundamental challenges. First, the problem of the absence of the word “space” itself from important early modern texts (“shrinkage”); and second, the overuse of the term “space” in translations and analysis of early modern intellectual works (“contamination”).

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(Un)seen Seas

Technological Mediation, Oceanic Imaginaries, and Future Depths

Stephanie Ratté

Remote technologies and digitally mediated representations now serve as a central mode of interaction with hard-to-reach sea spaces and places. This article reviews the literature on varied scholarly engagements with the sea and on the oceanic application of technologies—among them geographic information systems, remotely operated vehicles, and autonomous underwater vehicles—that allow people to envision and engage with deep and distant oceanic spaces. I focus on the extension of a digital and disembodied human presence in the oceans and the persistence of frontier fictions, in which the sea figures as a site of future-oriented possibilities. Finally, I ask what the emphasis on “seeing” through technological mediation means for how we imagine vast spaces, and consider how these elements of the oceanic imaginary can be productively complicated by drawing attention to the materiality of the oceans and the scalar politics of dynamic spaces.

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Religion, Space, and Place

The Spatial Turn in Research on Religion

Kim Knott

Following a consideration of the impact of the late twentieth-century spatial turn on the study of religion by geographers, anthropologists, sociologists, historians, and religious studies scholars, two trends are distinguished: the poetics of place and the sacred; and politics, religion, and the contestation of space. Discussion of these reveals substantially different approaches to religion, space, and place—one phenomenological, the other social constructivist. The spatial turn has been extremely fruitful for research on religion, bringing together scholars from a variety of disciplines, and connecting not only to traditional areas such as sacred space and pilgrimage, but to new ones such as embodiment, gender, practice and religious-secular engagements.