The Politics of Non-space

How do we understand space? What happens when we invest our belonging to a space? Do we mark our boundaries like other animals? Humans as-beings-in-the-world are territorial and territorialize to humanize. When we invest meaning and belonging to a space it becomes a place. There are several modes of territorializations. Some also involve deterritorialization. We have several archeologies of space. These archeologies are epistemes or paradigms that enable and guide our territorializations. Our territorialization is complex relation with place which makes us what we are. We are bound to a place and we also become what the place makes us. Thus, for instance, our relation with a place that we call as Goa goanizes us. Goa is not a nonspace for us. We Goans are intimately linked to it. It belongs to our life and being. This is why we cannot academically objectify our goanizing process. It is said that we can take a Goan out of Goa but we cannot take Goa out of a Goan. The same is true of us Indians , we indianize or territorialize as Indians and India in return make us Indians. We do not just territorialize , we also historize. We link our place and us to time. This means as Goans, we see a past linked to us as well as dream a future for Goa. As Indians, we to do the same. There are also several archeologies or paradigms of time that guide our historizations or temporalizations . Thus, we are not merely beings-in time, as beings-in-the-world, we are also beings-in-space.

Space and time are intertwined. We are tempo-topographical beings. Several archeologies of space and time cross each other and generate our life, culture and politics. Today we are spending a lot of time in web or the internet. The web is taking space and time at a new level. Besides, we have a development of other kinds of spaces. Marc Auge calls them non-spaces. We do not relate to non-spaces as we do with places. Non-spaces are places like the bus stands, airports , shopping malls, buses, trains, flights etc., where we relate to this spaces differently. This are spaces where often our identities are checked, permits are issued, gat passes are given. We become anonymous in such spaces and in the name of security, we made to pass to many strictures that kept under the eye of surveillance. We seem to be sorted out for our identity. Besides, tourism depends on exoticization of place. Some places are marketed as exotic destinations that are viewed as far away exotic locale. Thus, we have the challenge to understand the technology of production of spaces as well as understand how we territorialize and deterritorialize and temporalize in them. Some of these spaces become chiefdoms of the privileged few. This in many ways have displaced, dislocated and denationalized great sections of people. Suddenly, these communities are exiled in their own place by the reigning populist politics that excludes the minorities and the vulnerable sections. We can see this in the politics of Mandir vs Majid of Hindutva that treats the minorities as disposable.

The politics that we are facing appears to be a politics of non-spaces. We are sorted out for our identity. Just like the non-spaces sort our cars and allot them parking lots and we are made to pass through channels of security checks involving biometrics and technologies of face recognition. With the rise of Artificial intelligence, this segregation and surveillance will only increase. Foucault had taught us that modernity had kept us bound to closed spaces like the schools, hospitals and prisons. In our days, we kept bound in an open space. Non-space has increased and we are subjected to invisible walls that keep us bound and hold us under surveillance. This is a new for of bio-power. This is why Gilles Delleuze teaches that we have passed from disciplinary societies to societies of control. The archeology of our space has changed. We are now under total surveillance and there is no hiding place under the sky. This condition gives unlimited powers to a minority that controls us in the name of a majority. Foucaults panopticon has muted into a banopticon where surveillance includes possibilities of some of us being declared as dangerous to our society/ nation and could be made what George Agamben calls Homo Sacer. This condition allows people to share territory but some are considered the privileged citizens while those who are deemed as non-citizens are banned from sharing freedoms and accessing what are defined as national goods. Thus, politics of non-space makes some of the people into non-citizens. We in India seem to be facing a politics of non-space. It has constricted our territorializations and temporalizations. Some are rendered first class citizens while others are second rate citizens. We seem to be haunted by casteism. Once again our society is sorted and some citizen are marked and treated as upper castes and others are relegated as out castes .

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Hypocrisy is the tribute that vice pays to virtue.

- Fr Victor Ferrao