Territories, Borders and the New Geography
The process of globalisation prompts a rethinking of the operation of the world and a problematisation of the modern concepts of “continent”, “border”, “state” and “city”. Indeed, in the global world, flows of people, capital and information move through deterritorialised networks that change the meaning of ideas of proximity and distance.
These migrations exert pressure on the epistemological postulate of modernity – the immobility of the subject – and on its geopolitical consequence – the nation state as territorially confined, delimited and, therefore, univocally representable. Furthermore, the planet seems to remove itself from any possible reduction to being a mere surface: the map, cartography, no longer succeeds in representing a territory in all its ramifications, connections and stratifications.
We seem to be observing the end of space, understood as geometrical extension, measurable and traversable starting from a defined centre. Today, rather, the proliferation of centres and their hybrid nature are contrasted with the isomorphism and homogeneity that have characterised the geography of the territory and the nation state in the modern age. Moreover, crisis of space also means crisis of time and its passage and crisis of scales for its representation. There seem to be two fundamental issues that must be tackled, therefore.
On one hand, the need for a new geography to be developed starting from the concepts of “place” and “network”, instead of “space” and “time”: a “spherical”, no longer cartographic geography, capable of investigating the labyrinthine character of the planet, both on the surface of “localised” places and in the interaction of these with the immaterial flows and global and deterritorialised networks that traverse them.
On the other, an analysis of the consequences that the “crisis of space” produces in the territories and in the subjects that inhabit them. In fact, the contemporary manifestations of these new relationships between local and global, between the location and its multiple forms of belonging to planetary networks are many and complex.
(This issue is scheduled to appear at end-October 2016).