Interlude, II

Reading Doreen Massey's "A global sense of place," where she arrives at a brilliant formulation of place:
What gives a place its specificity is not some long internalized history but the fact that it is constructed out of a particular constellation of social relations, meeting and weaving together at a particular locus. If one moves in from the satellite towards the globe, holding all those networks of social relations and movements and communications in one’s head, then each ‘place’ can be seen as a particular, unique, point of their intersection. It is, indeed, a meeting place. Instead then, of thinking of places as area with boundaries around, they can be imagined as articulated moments in networks of social relations and understandings, but where a large proportion of those relations, experiences and understandings are constructed on a far larger scale than what we happen to define for that moment as the place itself, whether that be a street, or a region of even a continent. (154)
And riffing briefly off that to think about Iran - one of the consistent tropes of American coverage of recent events has been the statement that "Iran has a long and illustrious history". Well, absolutely. But that doesn't sufficiently explain why "Iran" is such a potent place in the present - and this is I think where Žižek's project is so interesting: How do current events in Iran reflect larger processes at work in the world? How does thinking about capitalism (because that is one of Žižek's projects) give us a way to think about how Iran is produced and situated as a place in the present?


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