Three new papers online « Society and Space – Environment and Planning D

Three new papers online « Society and Space – Environment and Planning D.


State encounters

Rhys Jones

Much has been made in recent years of the need to promote anthropological understandings of ‘the state’. Work in this area has tended to focus on either (1) the peopled aspects of state bureaucracies or (2) the effect of ‘the state’ on the everyday lives of its citizens. Some authors have also begun to move beyond these concerns by examining the ways in which the actions of state agents can affect the everyday lives of citizens and how citizens can reach back to influence the peopled qualities of ‘the state’. My aim in this paper is to examine the sociospatial encounters between what may be considered as state agents and citizens. In doing so I seek to: undermine the idea that there is a fixed boundary between what is considered to be ‘the state’ and what is viewed as civil society; illustrate how the identities of state agents and citizens are forged in relation to one another; show how these peopled encounters can be used by state elites as a means of promoting neoliberal agendas. As a way of grounding these conceptual concerns, I draw on some recent empirical work that I have conducted on Citizens Advice, the organisation that has worked since 1939 as a provider of all manner of welfare advice to the citizens of the UK. I conclude by emphasising that states—commonly conceived of as stable and enduring organisations that structure everyday life—are, in fact, in a continual state of emergence.
Keywords:anthropology of the state, everyday state, Citizens Advice

City becoming world: Nancy, Lefebvre, and the global–urban imagination
David J Madden

It is part of the self-conception of the contemporary era that the world is becoming increasingly global and urban. This paper explores the global–urban imagination in works by Jean-Luc Nancy and Henri Lefebvre. Both Nancy and Lefebvre understand globalization as a fundamentally violent and unequal process that unfolds through the uneven expansion of a particular sort of urban space. They both strive to articulate a critical stance towards this process by opposing globalization to the idea of mondialisation or world forming. While their respective approaches diff er in important ways, they both provide indispensible critical tools for conceptualizing the urban planet and its political possibilities. Their positions are briefly contrasted to the conservative imagery of the urban planet as techno utopia that was produced at Expo 2010 in Shanghai, China.
Keywords:globalization, urbanization, mondialisation, worldhood, urban planetarity, Nancy, Lefebvre, Expo 2010

Mapping children’s politics: the promise of articulation and the limits of nonrepresentational theory
Katharyne Mitchell, Sarah Elwood

Reflecting wider debates in the discipline, recent scholarship in children’s geographies has focused attention on the meanings of the political. While supportive of work that opens up new avenues for conceptualizing politics beyond the liberal rational subject, we provide a critique of research methods which delink politics from historical context and relations of power. Focusing on the use of nonrepresentational theory as a research methodology, the paper points to the limits of this approach for children’s political formation as well as for sustained scholarly collaboration. We argue instead for a politics of articulation, in the double sense of communication and connection. An empirical case study is used as an illustrative example.
Keywords:nonrepresentational theory, children’s politics, collaborative mapping, articulation, research methods