Sunday, September 28, 2008

Political Space

View of the Erechtheion, Athens

To any scholar of ancient Greece, the idea that the "politics" was fundamentally spatial in nature would not be surprising. Because the term politics was pseudonymous for both the city and the citizenry. For the ancient Greeks politics literally did not exist in the country side or for the non-citizen, but only in active member-based participation within an urban context.
It is surprising, or perhaps not surprising, that today our definition of politics is broad, imprecise , primarily relational and almost entirely non-spatial nature. That I can credibly define contemporary politics as "the attempt to influence or exercise control through social interaction" explains a lot about the 2008 presidential campaign. Transcendent of place or group, politics is focused on the perceptions of message and not the locations (were is the TV or Internet located?) or group identities where it takes place.

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