Geography Reference
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schemes” (Goldberg 1998, 17)—have overtaken the law and might of the state in main-
taining geographies of privilege.
The concept of place identity has provided a useful analytic tool for investigations of
how such preferences are exercised in the defense, and in some cases the extension of
privilege. Ontheonehand,theconcept ofplace identity simply captures thephenomen-
physical, and autobiographical “insideness” (Rowles 1983; Tuan 1974): an emotional,
also be associated with a sense of threat, exclusion, marginalization, or displacement
(Tuan 1979; Durrheim and Dixon 2001). Particularly under conditions of sociopolitical
change, constructions of place identity may justify the maintenance of the status quo,
a theme documented by several discursive psychological studies of everyday discourse
about place.
The discursive approach to place identity was in psychology inaugurated by extend-
ing the understanding of how places served as the grounds for identity (Dixon and Dur-
rheim 2000). Not only did place ground a sense of belonging, it also served as a “rhet-
orical warrant through which particular social practices and relations are legitimated”
(Dixon and Durrheim 2000, 33). This focus on language and rhetoric allowed research-
ers to politicize place identity, investigating the ideological traditions to which rhetoric
about place identity adhered (e.g., Hopkins and Dixon 2006; Manzo 2003; Di Masso,
Dixon, and Pol 2011). The personal, emotive, and psychological aspects of place be-
longing and attachment could be seen as doing the work of shoring up privilege. Thus,
for example, the sense of belonging and nostalgia for places developed under apartheid
needed to be understood from the perspective of how it was being used and deployed in
the broader ideological projects of racial segregation and inequality (e.g., Ballard 2010;
Brown 2009; Durrheim and Dixon 2005b).
This work in discursive social psychology was part of a greater questioning of hu-
manist accounts of the subject. In place of a “coherent, bounded, self-aware and uni-
versal subject” (Pile 2010, 7), feminist and nonrepresentational geographers proposed
not only that subjectivity was relational, fluid, and embedded in practice, but that sub-
jectivity—thoughts, emotions,feelings,andaffects—were,strictlyspeaking,notrepres-
entable (Thrift 1996). Expressions of subjectivity—narratives of belonging or displace-
ment—were always to be viewed as occasioned and interested accounts that could not
be taken at face value as reports of internal states (cf. Edwards 1997).
The idea that the subjective features of place identity were rhetorical and ideological
psychology and in the social sciences more generally. First, research began to focus on
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