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Geography 2144A/B Lecture Notes - Infinite Space, Dialectic, Stumbleupon

Course Code
GEOG 2144A/B
L.Graham Smith

of 4
Guest Lecture- Mar. 12. 12
-Michel Foucault (Geographer)
-Yi Fu Tuan (Philosopher)
-Absent presence: fb, e-mail etc. while on vacation
Before: distance played a vital role; contact affected by speed & reliability of
Now: no problem with contact; distance does not play a role- Internet, cell phones,
Facebook, blogs, etc.
Do we ever leave home?
-Concept of home, how we define home
-Purpose of vacation
Home: somewhere comfortable, familiarity, friends and routine,
-Shelter (material)
-Social relationships (symbolic)
-Located; “thresholds between memory and nostalgia, everyday life in the present,
and future dreams and fears”
-Site: of domesticity and consumption (politics: struggle or resistance)
-Fixed, bounded and confining 9rootedness); but also fluid, evolving, liberating
Multiple meanings (Somerville)
-Shelter: physical security
-Hearth: relaxation, comfort and a place to welcome visitors
-Heart: support, stability, and affection (symbolic), being with friends and family
-Privacy: central part of being at home, control, can lead to privatism: withdrawal
from public life and into the home (if it becomes too much of a comfort zone we may
withdraw, viewed as negative aspect of home)
-Roots: identity and meaningfulness… somewhere we return and identify with
-Adobe: any place where one can sleep and rest
-Paradise: idealization of all positive features (ideological construct)
-Individual: home (sense of belonging, identity and rootedness)
-Nation: (very import for sport communities) homeland, ex. Diasporic communities-
emotional and physical connection to homeland; refugees; immigrants)
Housing design: not just neutral “containers”- a reflection of our social values,
practices and norms
Feminist geographers argue: homes can be read like ‘maps’ of social structures and
-Occupants: number, ‘place’ of women/men
Guest Lecture- Mar. 12. 12
-Use of space
-Home and work (reproduction and production)
-However, work criticized for being overly simplistic (assuming homogeneity) &
environmentally deterministic (ignored complex social relationships)
Homed and homeless
-Absence of a ‘place’ to sleep and receive mail (social disaffiliation)
-BUT… being ‘homeless’ is a continuum; shelterless, temporary or insecure housing
-Res, living on campus
-Violence within the home (‘hidden homelessness’)
-Not only urban problem, rural as well (but maybe more hidden, or individuals may
decide to migrate to urban areas to change this)
-Not only no shelter, but no hearth, heart, privacy, roots, adobe or paradise
-However, homeless do create relationships, social networks & appropriate spaces
that take on the ‘meaning of home’ (benches etc)
-Moving them to a shelter may “take them away from their home”
Home is a location and emotion, but is it a space or place?
Stumbleupon, beautifual mess,
Space and place: Perspective of experience (Yi-Fu Tuan)
-Space- freedom; long for
-Place- security and attachment
Pause within space
Centre of felt value
Spaces and places- saturated with varying meanings and evoke varying experiences
-Perspective of experiences really matters within the concept of space
“Epoch of Space” – M. Foucault
-Near and far
-Side by side and dispersed
Intersection of time and space
Middle ages: separation and order (hierarchic relationship): Sacred and profane
protected and open/exposed; urban and rural; supercelestial (Heaven) & terrestrial
Location (sacred): place of Earth in the solar system
Galileo: Heliocentric universe (discovered… rediscovered)
Real scandal: Proposition of infinite and infinitely open space
-He displaced the Earth, hierarchic relationship falls apart
Why would that be impt?
Today we live in the ‘Epoch of Space’
But places are ‘de-sanctified’ not as sacred as previous times
Guest Lecture- Mar. 12. 12
-Relationship among sites:
-Networks, proximity, circulation
-‘Desantification’ of space (starts with Galileo)
Not entirely ‘de-sanctified’
-Public space and private space
-Family space and social space
-Space of leisure and work
-…Hidden presence of the sacred
However: we do not live inside a void (infinite space)
We live inside a set of relations (networks) and sites
-Embedded within network of your family, relatives and friends, specific pts
Meanings of home:
“In an ever more globalized world, the question of where one dwells is not a simple
matter of residential geography. It is also a matter of emotional geography. Where
does one’s heart, one’s identity, reside? Where is one’s emotional home?” (Williams
and McIntyre, 2001; 392)
“[Without email I would feel that0 I had purposely detached myself from my
environment, my friends and the life I had led. It would not be a good feeling.”
(female, 42 traveling with partner)
“You feel that you belong to smth. I think that feeling tht you belong to a family and a
group of friends is smth that you need, even when you are traveling. Because all the
time that you are traveling you know tht you have a place to go back to. If you cut all
your roots you might feel lost. “(Female, 39)
Emotional geographies:
-Emotionally at ‘home’ but not corporeally
-Independence of proximity; social vs physical
-Social worlds that are constructed intersubjectively and shared with other (fb)
-Social locations/gathering places that are not tied to any specific geographical sites
-Actual vs potential reach
-De-territorialized relationships
When traveling… we now leae
-Locations- geographic places
-Not emotional geographies that ‘place’ us in the lives of others
-But ‘home’ – is still a location (symbolic or actual place) from which we venture and
to which we return… (dialectic)