Thinking space


We’ve now looked at some of the precedents to our current era whether they are the shift to a new mode of discipline as Michel Foucault documented as well as other later manifestations of how space, indeed, shifts our capacity to think the self in society. Paul Preciado and Beatriz Colomina helped bring us into the mid-20th century in the United States by looking at the ways domestic life and architectures as they were thought through in the figure of the Playboy mansion codified certain post-World War II gendered and racialized understandings of private space.

Using ideas from Harvey, De Certeau, or others about thinking “space”, and keeping in mind (and citing!) some of the thinkers above, look around your own surroundings, interior or exterior, and try to unpack how the space is produced. What are the ways in which certain types of discipline or attention are activated? If you are looking at a city or neighborhood, how did it, say, come to have certain spacial features and how do those features (cul-de-sacs, highways, railways, but also streetlights and sidewalk, monuments and billboards, not to mention architectural styles, etc) affect the way people interact with the space and co-produce it?

This should be a short exploration (4-5 pages) and does not REQUIRE outside research, though it may be useful to you to do some for the sake of clarifying/fact checking/contextualizing. Focus on one feature of your environs – a park; a highway; a style of housing. By looking with a deeper focus at one facet of life, as each of the thinkers we’ve looked at does…you’ll find all kinds of things popping out at you.

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