22nd Sep2012

Weekly Post 5

by alexcarson

1: Soja begins by talking about, if not a dichotomy, a separation between spacial and temporal thinking. While I don’t mean to claim that Soja has declared these two necessarily exclusive, he does highlight that in the history of academic thought it generally has been. What I wonder is if this is the same historically or presently in other cultures. In my many anthropology classes I’ve learned that Western conceptions of time as a progression (rather than, for example, a cycle) are rather new, and I would be interested to see if scholarship from other cultures shared our focus on time with their varying conceptions of time.

2: Late in the reading, Soja addresses social and political movements for “justice” of varying types in response to the inequities of the new economy. He states in the chapter that justice has been encouraged as a “unifying force”. While he does bring up some examples, I feel these are contradicted by other movements for “justice” that have occurred in the wake of globalization. While these unified movements are there, I could point to several examples where movements for justice have been quite dichotomous and still in an “us vs. them” mindset, even if not by intent. As an example, one could argue that in the wake of the movement for liberty and justice against the regime of Hosni Mubarak, a very pluralistic effort, his successors to power comprise of groups which arguably support limiting rights and freedoms in their own manner and are very much a polarizing influence. I’m forced to ask how much traction this notion of a unifying push for social justice has on a global scale.

3: The whole of Soja readings and the notion of spacial justice has very much gotten me thinking. I’ve heard a great deal about gentrification and the movement of the young elite back into the cities, often to the apparent detriment of the those already living there. In addressing gentrification, how do we balance the liberty that Soja espouses – which would presumably include the right of individuals to live where they please – and economic justice for the current residents without impugning upon anyone’s rights, liberties, or livelihood? I believe that this is the sort of question spatial justice should seek to address – very much a problem of space – and an area where it can be directly applied.

Justice – Justice, as defined by Soja, is a conjunction of fairness and rights accorded by the law in order to guarantee that the former is established while the latter are preserved to the maximum possible extent in a society.

Temporal thinking – Somewhat of a pidgin definition. Temporal thinking which previously dominated (at least Western) academic thought examined the world as a series of events with a minimal accounting for space. While temporal and spacial thinking are by no means inherently dichotomous, they have been treated as such until recently.

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