29th Nov2012

Cosmopolitanism and Transnational Spatial Practices

by melissarogers

Space: the final frontier. (I’ve been waiting to make this joke all semester.)


  1. I’m wondering about the language of cosmopolitanism. According to Georgiou, the term is supposed to draw our attention to “the complexities of multiple forms of belonging and of heterogeneous and fragmented publics” (210). In this formulation the transformation of cities into cosmopolitan spaces is apparently a good thing, but I do not see how the language of cosmopolitanism tells us who is “‘in charge’ of time and space compression” and when they “lose control” (210). This seems like an oversimplification of power to me. Are we celebrating cosmopolitanism for making more visible the stratification of power in global cities or should we be critiquing it for the same reasons?
  2. I also felt that Georgiou relied on a conceptualization of home that valorized privacy, security, intimacy, and containment, aspects of home that are not universal and that need to be historicized. Drawing on Massey, she attempts to complicate home by suggesting that we understand home’s place in a network of relationships, and argues that mediated communication across and within transnational communities unsettles our understanding of the bounded nature of home. This may be a small point but I’m just wondering about other ways of understanding home in a transnational context. Home may have always already been transnational.
  3. Similarly, I worried that Georgiou put too much emphasis on the city at the expense of the rural or say, the suburban. The city always seems figured as a space of potential, even in spite of Sassen’s explorations of the distribution of power and infrastructure in global cities. What kinds of spatial practices do we overlook when we focus on the city? What might surprise us about rural and suburban uses of mediated communications?

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