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Breaking "spatial rules". Micro-practices of resistance and refusal against dominant forms of territoriality II 
Paolo Grassi (Polytechnic of Milan)
Anthony Fontes (American University)
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Tuesday 22 June, 16:15-18:00 (UTC+3)

Short Abstract:

The panel will ethnographically analyze the breaking of spatial rules within dominant forms of territoriality, to explore the co-production of subjects, groups and their wider social environments.

Long Abstract

The concept of territoriality, developed above all in the context of human geography, essentially corresponds to any spatial manifestation of power. As, among others, David Storey pointed out, territoriality describes how space is claimed, regulated, or controlled, the construction of borders to circumscribe belonging and politics, and consequently determines how inclusion and exclusion mechanisms are activated within such spaces. While in the past scholars have deployed territoriality to focus on controlling social actors - i.e. on territoriality's role in reifying certain devices of power - more recent approaches - see for example the works of Claude Raffestin - explore how territorial power and control are produced through interactions among subjects, groups and their wider social environments. Using such exchanges as a starting point, what happens when dominant forms of territoriality are contested, reinvented, or refused? How can we study the breaking of spatial orders and what are the implications of such transgressions? Rather than merely romanticize deviance, this panel seeks ethnographic approaches that highlight the nuanced motivations for and consequences of breaking spatial rules - acts like prison breaks and informal border crossings, squatting, sabotage and vandalism — to elucidate how trespassing territorial orders affects political possibility, notions of spatial justice, and the flow of power.

Accepted papers: