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3 - Germany's Local Orientalisms

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  05 December 2013

James Hodkinson
Affiliation:
Associate Professor in German Studies at Warwick University.
John Walker
Affiliation:
Senior Lecturer in European Cultures and Languages at Birkbeck College, University of London.
Shaswati Mazumdar
Affiliation:
Professor in German at the University of Delhi.
Johannes Feichtinger
Affiliation:
Researcher at the Österreichische Akademie der Wissenschaften.
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Summary

In For Space, Doreen Massey challenges what she terms “an essentialist, billiard-ball view of place” that imagines cross-cultural contact as a series of collisions between self-contained units that may ricochet in unpredictable angles across the surface of the global pool table, but which never change their basic identities as solids or stripes, cue ball or eight ball. Instead, Massey argues that we should understand “place as the sphere of the possibility of the existence of multiplicity in the sense of contemporaneous plurality; as the sphere in which distinct trajectories coexist; as the sphere therefore of coexisting heterogeneity.” In her understanding of space as a social construct Massey builds on the work of Henri Lefebvre, her stress on the heterogeneity of particular societies echoes Michel Foucault's concept of the heterotopia, and her vision of a world conceived in hybridity and engaged in an ongoing process of global exchange is shared by others too numerous to list. In this view, the billiard balls are porous, not solid; when they meet, they mesh and change color and change color again, mixing and matching in unpredictable and never-ceasing ways.

Such theories not only challenge the essentialism of ethnic nationalism, but also compel us to rethink our understanding of orientalism. If cultures, societies, and nations are not “imagined as having an integral relation to bounded spaces, internally coherent and differentiated from each other by separation,” as Massey puts it, then it is also no longer adequate to conceive of the Occident and Orient as geographically fixed and ideologically rigid.

Type
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Information
Deploying Orientalism in Culture and History
From Germany to Central and Eastern Europe
, pp. 55 - 77
Publisher: Boydell & Brewer
Print publication year: 2013

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  • Germany's Local Orientalisms
  • Edited by James Hodkinson, Associate Professor in German Studies at Warwick University., John Walker, Senior Lecturer in European Cultures and Languages at Birkbeck College, University of London., Shaswati Mazumdar, Professor in German at the University of Delhi., Johannes Feichtinger, Researcher at the Österreichische Akademie der Wissenschaften.
  • Book: Deploying Orientalism in Culture and History
  • Online publication: 05 December 2013
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  • Germany's Local Orientalisms
  • Edited by James Hodkinson, Associate Professor in German Studies at Warwick University., John Walker, Senior Lecturer in European Cultures and Languages at Birkbeck College, University of London., Shaswati Mazumdar, Professor in German at the University of Delhi., Johannes Feichtinger, Researcher at the Österreichische Akademie der Wissenschaften.
  • Book: Deploying Orientalism in Culture and History
  • Online publication: 05 December 2013
Available formats
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  • Germany's Local Orientalisms
  • Edited by James Hodkinson, Associate Professor in German Studies at Warwick University., John Walker, Senior Lecturer in European Cultures and Languages at Birkbeck College, University of London., Shaswati Mazumdar, Professor in German at the University of Delhi., Johannes Feichtinger, Researcher at the Österreichische Akademie der Wissenschaften.
  • Book: Deploying Orientalism in Culture and History
  • Online publication: 05 December 2013
Available formats
×