A Global Sense of Place

Eleni Spiliotes
Friday 1 December 2023

Massey, Doreen. Marxism Today 38 (1991): 24-29.

In this landmark essay, Massey theorizes sense of place as a global phenomenon, challenging the postmodern notion that sense of place cannot withstand time-space compression. She identifies this misconception as indicative of the Western worldview, as globalization has transformed indigenous sense of place for centuries through the process of colonization. Thus, Massey views place as a social construct, visualizing places as the nodes of a vast social network that is superimposed over earth’s geography. Therefore, place is not a stable entity, rather it is both imagined and remembered, contested and regenerated, a point at which flows of people, capital, culture, and knowledge converge. Massey’s concept of a global sense of place provides a framework for visualizing spatial injustice as place networks reveal global power relations. Therefore, placemaking practices must negotiate an entire web of place relations, which casts doubt on the popular imagery of local, place-based peace initiatives. Bottom-up peacebuilding is championed due to its prioritization of democratic participation, yet such an approach does not address the power dynamics that enable peacebuilding in some places while hindering it in others. Therefore, it is essential that local initiatives are situated within Massey’s global framework.

Link: https://banmarchive.org.uk/marxism-today/june-1991/a-global-sense-of-place/

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