Geography Reference
In-Depth Information
by considering the local context in isolation. As Massey (1994) argues, the diversity of
people's biographies andtransnational connections mean that the global world is always
constituted in and through the local, and as such a local place is made distinctive by its
particular set of interrelationships with the global.
Thisconceptualization ofspaceasactive andalive hasitslegacy inLefebvre's (1991)
influential geography, which views space as simultaneously socially producing and so-
cially produced. Lefebvre constructs space as mutually created by and creating social
actors, through both discourse and the senses, and as necessarily involving issues of
identity, politics, and power (Merrifield 2000). These notions are brought together by
Lefebvre into an analytical framework which I suggest can offer a particularly useful
point of access to exploring the relationships between space, race, and (privileged) mi-
Migration involves multiple processes: at one end is the packing up of homes and
lives and the leaving of the familiar. Then, after traveling to a new country and land-
scape, there is, at the other end, the choosing of a place to live and the establishing of
a new home and life. In most situations this involves, at the very least, a multiplicity
of emotional, sensory, social, and political processes. In the case of British migrants to
South Africa, with its diverse and complex history of race/national relations, this has
also always involved decision making on how to position oneself within these relations.
Lefebvre's attempt to capture the complexity of space, and its connections with every-
day life, offers a conceptual framework by which to understand the multiple processes
involved here.
Lefebvre conceptualizes space through three key aspects. The first of these, spatial
practice, makes clear links with Merleau-Ponty (1962) and Bourdieu (1984) by recog-
or practical knowhow of the body. This describes how we develop everyday routines
through and in space, doing so in regular, habitual, and even prereflective ways. The
paths and journeys we make, whether short or long, whether walking, jogging, cycling,
or driving, require a combination of sensory and spatialized activities which not only
constitute the phenomenological ground of “doing everyday life” but are also useful in
revealing the embodied ways in which this is accomplished, both individually and col-
lectively, within specific social structures and relations (Hockey and Allen-Collinson
The conceptualization of the second aspect, representations of space, is particularly
useful in capturing the planned nature of space, and how this may be strategically rede-
signed in the management of cultural change. Since 1994, much of urban South Africa
has been subject to a new generation of property developers, town planning profes-
sionals, and land speculators who, as I have discussed above, have set their sights on
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