Place Article

The first thing that caught my attention in this article was the statement, made on page 158, that said that the definition and understanding of place has its own politics.  This immediately caused me to make a connection to earlier articles, which stated that politics is constantly in action throughout all processes of life.  Before analyzing politics in this sense, I would have never considered that the definition of place could employ its’ own political agenda.  A few general and vague definitions in the article defined place as “a portion of geographic space” or “an indefinite region.”  However, these general definitions raise the question as to how the terms “place” and “space” differ.  Space is definitely a more abstract term, whereas place suggests an area that is more specific and/or represents a sort of relationship or a “belonging.”  This concept of belonging to a place introduces a more cultural or social theme to a term that is commonly thought of as “an indefinite region.”  The example of women being in place in domestic environments or being out of place in public spaces helped to better grasp the idea of what belonging to a place entails politically.  I particularly liked the term the “moral landscape” of place because it defined what should be in place.

 

The idea of place as being dynamic and possessing its’ own history brings to light the fact that humans mold the environment in which they live.  This is an example of place serving as a political and social platform for human life.  On the other hand, the concept of place as a social process implied that place is constantly “becoming” instead of simply changing throughout time.  The social process also explains how place is inherently connected with other processes, and is therefore not simply local.  Since the social processes of place are not simply local, political conflicts can revolve around control over place and/or control over resources.  The term “the politics of turf” was used to describe the source of these conflicts.  The politics of turf allow for people to take refuge from the larger-scale conflicts occurring outside of their place.  Unfortunately, the politics of turf cause people to obtain place identity and a more community-oriented point of view.  This makes it difficult for people to understand social or cultural differences.  It is no mystery that a lack of understanding of dissimilarities leads to a fear of the unknown, and fear can breed hostility towards those differences present in others.  However, the social unity that is created through places fosters great economic development.  Therefore, place becomes a great medium for accomplishing political agendas.  Finally, the politics of deploying place is described as protesting or disrupting the moral landscape in order to implement changes.  I enjoyed this short section because it described the act of political uprisings or protests in terms of place.  It became apparent that in order to change a place, you must change the politics engrained in the moral landscape.

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