Soja and the Thirdspace

Publié le par olivier Legrand

    The first time I heard about Soja’s works it was at the Sorbonne University. My teacher described Soja as a Californian Neo-Marxist. My first image was that of a man wearing a flower shirt and a big white beard. Until today, I don’t know what Californian means, a region, a theoretical school, a way of life
    Soja look likes the father/leader of the Postmodern studies. In 1989, he published Postmodern Geography (Verso, London, New York) but my presentation will focus on Thirdspace, a journey to Los Angeles and Others Real-Imagined place, published in 1996.
The Thirdspace is composed of two parts, a theoretical  part and then an journey in real-imaged places.

    For Soja,the main definition of modernity is the dualectic opposition, so postmodernity is the overcome of the dual-opposition. Soja in the first part of his  books applies this main idea on differents topics.

-The trialectics of Being

  "It is surprising how long the problem of space took to emerge as a historico-political problem"
                    Faucoult, Power/Knowledge, 1980
Trialectic-of-been.gif                                                      Soja, Thirdspace, 1996, p71

    "The trialectics of Spatiality, Historicality and Sociality (summary terms for the social production of Space, Time and Being-in-the-world) apply at all levels of Knoweledge formation, from ontology to epistemology, theory building, empirical analysis, and social practice)"p.71
    "There has been a persistent tendancy during at least the past century to over-privilege the dynamic relations between the "making" of Historicality and the "construction" of social practices or sociality"p.71
This"pronounced tendency in Western pilosophy, science, historiography and social theory to bifocalize on the interactive Hisroticality and Sociality of Being", its tendency representing modernity.
    Soja attacks the persistence of historicism even in the scholars who consider themselve as Postmodern. From the page 174 to 183, he takes as for example the work of Hayden White and try to explain "why loving maps is not enough".
The importance of space comes  from the fact that "the social relation of production have a spatial existance to the extent that they have a spatial existance; they project themselves into space, becoming inscribed there, and in the producin the space itself" p.182

-The trialectics of spaciality and Lefebvre's works

    Lefebvre has an importance in the Soja's works, Lefebvre's works and life is explored deeply by Soja, and especialy The production of Space (1991).
    "With its foregrounding of relations of dominance, subordination and resistance; its radical openness and teeming imagery, this Third space of Lefebvre closely approximates with [Soja is] defining as Thirdspace" p.68
Trialectic-spatial.gif                                                 Soja, Thirdspace, 1996, p74

"The critique of the illusions of transparency  and opacity lays the groundwork for the thematic trialectic that is so central to rereading of The Production of Space, that which inter-relates in a dialectically linked triad:
  • Spatial Practice (espace perçu, perceived space)
  • Representation of Space (espace conçu, conceived  space)
  • Spaces of Representation (espace vécu, lived space)"p.65
These "three moments of social space" are described twice in the introduction chapter, "Plan of the Present Work, both times as a numbered list with underlined emphasis" p.65
"Both Thirdspace and Lefebvre's most encompassing notion of social space are comprised af all three spatialities- perceived, conceived and lived- with no one inherently privileged a priori"p.68. Soja changes the Lefebvre's three spatialities in types of space, percieved becomes the Firstspace, perceived  becomes the Secondspace and lived become the Thirdspace. If "no one of the three forms of spatial knowledge is given a priori or ontological privilege, but again there is a strategic priviligiens of the third term, in this case Thirdspace, as means of combating the longstanding tendency to confine spatial knowledge to Firstspace and  Secondspace epistemologies and their associated theorizations"p.74

-Why is Foucault Postmodern?
    "The power-knowledge link is acknowledged by every Foucauldien scholar but for Foucault himself the relationships was embedded in a Trialectic of power, knowledge, and space." p.148

-All the spatial feminist critiques are not postmodern
    "Beginning in the late 1970s, a broadly based feminist urban critique arose from within the spatial discipline (Architecture, Urban Planning, Geography), producing wide ranging  comtempory analyses of gendered spaces and the production of this masculinist and phallocentric gendering through the contextualizing effects of patriarchy on the city. For the most part, this early round of critical spatial feminism remained characteristically  modernist, in the sense of channeling its critical power and emancipator objectives around the gendered binary Man/Woman" p.107

Soja's Bibliography

Soja E. W. (1989), Postmodern Geographies, Verso, London, New York, p.

Soja E. W. (1990), "Heteroropologies", Strategies, Vol 3, pp;6-39

Soja E. W. (1991), "Henri Lefebvre 1901-1991", Environment and Planning D: Society and Space, Vol.9

Soja E. W. (1991), "The Stimulus of a Little Confusion", Amsterdam, Center fot Metropolitan Studies, Texts of a Special Lecture, p.37

Soja E. W. (1992), "Inside Exopolis", Variation on a Theme Park, pp.92-112

Soja E. W., Hooper B. (1993), "The Spaces That Difference Makes", Place and the Politics of  Identity, pp.183-205

Soja E. W. (1993), "Postmodern Geographies and the Crtittique of Historicism", Postmodern Contention

Soja E. W. (1995), "Postmodern Urbanization", Postmoderne City and Space

Soja E. W. (1996),"Planning in/for Postmodernity", Postmodern Cities and Spaces Theory, Oxford, Cambridge

Publié dans exploring the Post-

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