Making spaces, D Massey

Tags: globalisation, middle class, Milton Keynes, Mexico, free trade, NAFTA, indigenous peoples, Chiapas, social geography, social groups, power relations, Europe, local consumption, Isle of Dogs, Rebellion in Chiapas, communal land, environmental pollution, space, Mexico City, global free market, corn, Emiliano Zapata, residential areas, economic migrants, country paths, universal mobility, social power, Mexican government, landownership, agrarian communities, Russell King, Australian aborigines, international conference, localism, Doreen Massey, middle-class families, the middle class, Cultural Geography, social security, Michael Howard, inalienable rights, Jean-Marie Le Pen, geographies of power, international migration, The Open University, North American Free Trade Agreement, Native American chief, Winston Churchill, Oxford University Press, David Sibley, NAFTA agreement
Content: 192
soundings issue 1 Autumn 1995 Making spaces or, geography is political too Doreen Massey In an increasingly 'globalised' world what are our rights to movement? And whatshould be the rights of 'local people? Doreen Massey explores the politics of space and place, arguing that, from the local scale to the global, geography and power are inextricably related-and that we have a responsibility for the geographies we construct, and in which we live. There is a story - I don't know if it is true or not - about a Native American chief in the middle of the last century. He had been asked by members of his society what had been the biggest mistake of the past generations' leaders. After thinking for a while, he replied 'we failed to control immigration.'1 I ponder this story sometimes when I read reports of today's debates in Europe about immigration; when I hear Jean-Marie Le Pen railing against migration into France, or Winston Churchill on the same topic in Britain. Whatever one's view on international migration, it is difficult to base it on any 1. 1 came across this story in Russell King, 'Migrations.Globalisation and Place', in D. Massey and P. Jess (eds), A Place in the World?: Places, Cultures and Globalisation, The Open University with Oxford University Press, Oxford 1995, pp5-44 193
simple notion of inalienable rights. There are no abstract, generalisable answers
to questions of space and place. One might clearly feel sympathy with the Native
American chief (or with Australian aborigines or even, at a more local level,
with working-class residents of Docklands faced with an invasion of yuppies -
but then what of their response to an 'invasion' of people from Bangladesh?). On
the other hand, I have no hesitation in my opposition to the views of Jean-Marie
Le Pen or Winston Churchill. The point is, of course, that the two attitudes are
set within very different power relations, very different geographies of power.
The mobility of the European immigrants to what was, to them, 'the New
World' was the mobility of the relatively powerful and, in the case of some of the
earliest settlers, that of the conquering invader. In the case of today's Europe,
those who would like to enter (or, certainly, the ones against whom the barriers
are raised) are international migrants seeking asylum or work; they are in a
relatively powerless position and have a million bureaucratic and racist barriers
'The mobility of the
to cross. The relation of the two groups to space is also therefore somewhat different: the one
European 'New World' venturing out with a degree of control and
immigrants wa s the confidence; the other more accurately described as
mobility of the relatively powerful'
escaping. In the New World (and in countries like Australia and New Zealand) the culture of the invaders and their deliberate military exploits were
to destroy altogether the places of the native way of life. They planted flags and
claimed total ownership. (In another story of reversal, in the late 1970s, a group
of Australian aborigines sailed to the shores of Britain, planted a flag on Dover
Beach, and claimed ownership of England. They were barely noticed; and when
they were, they were ridiculed.) Today's potential migrants to Europe would
certainly produce effects (there would be cultural and economic influences, and
probably social conflict), but they would not completely eradicate the places
where they settled. Most crucially of all, we are talking here of two migrations
set within very different geographical contexts of uneven development. The
early migration to the Americas was outwards from the centres of power and
economic development. The pressures for migration today are from the
underprivileged parts of the world, as Europe battens down its local hatches to
defend its existing advantages against those locked into the wrong side of uneven
Making spaces My point is not to engage in an immediate debate about the rights and wrongs, and difficulties, of migration policy in different situations. It is to argue that what is at issue in each of these cases is a different set of relations to place and to the power relations which construct social space. Take another pair of examples: this time where the issue revolves more around the question of what might be the 'rights of local people'. In the first case, groups of indigenous people in a coastal region of Honduras are protesting against a development plan which would allow the entry into their area of large-scale commercial development of such industries as logging, coffee production and oil extraction. The local groups argue h a t his kind of economic development will destroy the forests, create pollution and, through monocultural practices, threaten precisely he small-scale variety of the natural resource base on which heir own economy depends. In short, it will, hey argue, destroy the place as they know it, and heir way of life.2 In much the same period, on another continent, in a First World metropolis, another group of locals is also defending its patch. Here, middle-class people in an expensive suburb ( h e kind which is defined as 'exclusive') are resisting he building of a community hostel and cheaper housing for rent. Their area is quiet and leafy, and everyone agrees on how to behave wihin it. That is why hey are here: he place and the kind of life hey have so carefully constructed over he years go together. An invasion of this place by new and very different people would, so these locals argue ... destroy heir way of life. What are he rights of 'local people'? The surburban residents clearly want to exclude he entry of people they think of as different. But so do the indigenous groups of the Mosquitia in Honduras: one of he resolutions hey have approved is to prohibit he colonisation of he region by non-indigenous peoples, and to relocate existing colonists to other areas. Indeed, who are he locals? Or, more precisely, what does it mean to be 'local'? The wealthy suburbanites claim heir status merely on the basis that hey are 'already there'. Clearly, hey are unlikely to have been he first inhabitants of his place. Even in he immediate past, their leafy roads have been built over land where farmers and farmworkers once lived. So is 'local' just a matter of current possession? 2. This case is explored further in P. Jess and D. Massey The Contestation of Place' in Massey and Jess (eds), 1995, op. dr., ppl33-174 195
The situation in Honduras is not uncomplicated either. Clearly, the indigenous
groups have not been there for ever: they came across the Bering Strait some
15,000 years ago. They arrived first, but what does 'indigenous' mean? One of
the groups - the Garifuna - derives from a complex and international history,
hailing originally from Africa and arriving in the
'The "rights of local
area courtesy of British-run slave trade. Even rive
people" cannot be
group which is usually recognised as 'the most
elevated into an abstract indigenous' is not in any sense composed of
generalisable principle' purely local influences. The Miskito have
certainly lived in the area for centuries, but over
those centuries they have absorbed contacts with many other 'external' cultures
- from English pirates to Spanish colonisers. Such influences have been absorbed
in the past, so why prevent more outside influences now? Moreover, in the past
the Miskito themselves have apparently been none-too-respectful of the local
rights of others: they seem to have persecuted another group, for instance,
pushing them (with British help) into new areas.
just as with mobility and migration, the 'rights of local people' (whether
indigenous peoples, posh residents, or the Isle of Dogs white working class)
cannot be elevated into an abstract, generalisable, principle. We are all,
somewhere in the past, migrants, and none of us is simply 'local'. Indeed,
geography itself may be an important element in establishing our identity, in the
sense of defining outsiders as outsiders. What has been called the process of 'the
purification of space' - that is, the organisation of space into compartments
which are strongly classified in terms of the social groups which occupy them -
can play an important part in defining the groups themselves. The designation
of the expensive suburb as 'exclusive' really means what it says. The social
definition of the place involves an active process of exclusion. And in that process
the boundaries of the place, and the imagination and building of its 'character',
are part and parcel of the definition of who is an insider and who is not; of who
is 'a local', and what that term should mean, and who is to be excluded. It is a space of bounded identities; a geography of rejection3
The construction of 'the local' is just as much an act of social power as the
3. See, for instance, David Sibley, 'Outsiders in society and space', in K. Anderson and F. Gale (eds), Inventing Places: Studies in Cultural Geography, Longman, Cheshire, Melbourne 1992, ppl07-22
Making spaces ability, or inability, to prevent the arrival of new migrants. The social and the spatial are always inextricably entwined. Space, place and globalisation Yet it is also true that what we are living through today is a reorganisation of that social spatiality, and on very particular terms. It is often said, and with reason, that we are living in a period of accelerated globalisation. People, communications and products - even environmental pollution - can move around the world more, and at greater speed, than ever before. Places and communities are being increasingly opened up to external influences from the farthest-flung parts of the planet. Yet it is a very unequal globalisation. Even at the macro level of the World Economy this is clear. After seemingly endless negotiations, the Uruguay round of GATT agreements was signed earlier this year. It is an agreement which is designed to foster 'free trade'. In effect, it reinforces the power of capital to roam the world. The potential economic implications of this are still hotly disputed, most particularly concerning what its effects on the poorer countries of the world are likely to be. But what is equally interesting is the one-sidedness of the agreement: there have been no parallel negotiations opening up the world to the free movement of people, or even of labour. Indeed, the very people who are often found most strongly arguing for free trade on the basis of some - unspecified, unquestioned - right to global movement (the term 'free' immediately implying something good, something to be aimed at) are often also the ones who would erect barriers to the free movement of migrants. (Here, too, there is inequality: global migration is far easier for highly-skilled workers and those with capital than it is for those without training or resources.) Right-wing conservatives who, in one breath, assume that free trade is akin to some moral virtue, in the next breath pour out venom against economic migrants ('economics' is, apparently, not a good enough reason to want to move) and asylum-seekers who are always assumed to be trying to worm their way in without sufficient excuse. Michael Howard recently proposed that headteachers, hospital administrators and Social Security officials be trained and encouraged to identify illegal immigrants and report them to the Home Office. Yet one of Mrs Thatcher's first acts of government, back in 1979, was to abolish 197
a whole range of restrictions on the movements of international finance (this,
incidentally, being a bigger blow to British 'sovereignty', and 'our ability to
govern ourselves from Westminster' than many of the proposals Eurosceptics are
currently worrying about). The point is that what we are witnessing today is a
re-organisation of global economic space on highly unequal terms. In this age of
globalisation, the extraordinary success has just been announced of 'sniffer dogs'
in detecting people in the holds of boats.
The North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), for example., brings
together the United States, Canada and Mexico as a new economic bloc, a free-
trade area. It will allow, with various adjustment periods for different sectors, free
trade and movement of capital across the national 'Capital and trade can boundaries between those countries. One thing it flow across boundaries, does, of course, is enable companies - in particular
while Mexicans are to US companies, since these are stronger - more
be held in place'
easily to take advantage of different places for
production. They can - and this is the classic case
- more easily move to Mexico to take advantage of the conditions of production
there: cheaper labour (i.e. lower wages) and axer implementation of
environmental regulations. The treaty does not, however, allow the 'free'
movement of Mexicans into the United States (although many will continue to
find their way 'across the river' by other means).
This is a clear and simple case of inequality in the terms of globalisation,
between the freedom of movement of capital and products on the one hand, and
of people on the other. Capital and trade can flow across the boundaries, while
Mexicans are to be held in place, to be employed and exploited where they are.
'Globalisation' here, then, is a major restructuring of economic space, but in a
way which all-too-accurately reflects existing power relations and inequalities.
It is, in this case, the transnational corporations whose freedom of movement is
Moreover, the reorganisation of economic and social space which NAFTA
represents reinforces the power of the already powerful. The right to mobility of
multinational corporations is increased: their ability to discipline workforces in
the United States with the threat of relocation to Mexico if they won't take a
pay-cut or accept new 'flexible' working arrangements, and their ability to avoid
cleaning up their environmental act (thus making it harder for any government,
Making spaces for fear of losing investment, to attempt to impose tougher environmental legislation), are both enhanced. This is globalisation by and for the already powerful. From the global to the local These global-level reorganisations of the world economy trickle down the system to affect also the spaces and places of daily life even at a very local level. It is often remarked that they threaten local identities. Not long after the inauguration of NAFTA, the people of California approved a Proposition which would deny access to all public services, except those of serious emergency, to 'undocumented migrants'.'' This was another kind of battle over space and place: here, the power of the relatively wealthy of California was pitted against potential immigrants from Latin America. The ability of the powerful to defend 'their local place' from invasion by 'outsiders' (California, of course, was part of Mexico until 1848), was pitted against the desire for mobility on the part of those from poorer regions to the south. The relationships between space and power could not be clearer. These relationships were clear, too, at the other end of Mexico in Chiapas, far from the US border. For here another battle over the perceived integrity of local place was being played out. The Zapatista uprising came to world notice on the very day the NAFTA agreement was inaugurated (1 January 1994). The armed rebellion by mainly indigenous peoples in one of the poorest regions of the country was fuelled by many sources of discontent: a long history of being on the wrong side of uneven development had been compounded by the effects of the neo-liberal economic policies of the then president Carlos Salinas. But one of the immediate reasons was NAFTA itself: in an early communique' the Zapatistas stated that NAFTA is a death warrant for the indigenous peoples of Mexico, who are regarded as dispensable by the government of Carlos Salinas de Gortari. If the Californians want to defend their local place, so do the Zapatistas want to defend theirs. Central both to the economy and to the belief systems of the indigenous peoples of Chiapas is corn (maize). It is the source of human existence and the 4. Proposition 187 was approved in a popular vote in 1994- Its constitutionality has subsequently been challenged. The resemblance to Michael Howard's recent proposals for the UK are notable. 199
central symbol around which much of life revolves. Three quarters of the ejidas
(communal land groups) and the agrarian communities which make up the social
sector in Chiapas grow corn as their principal crop.
This local, small-scale production has been badly hit by the attempt to insert
Mexico into the global free market. World-Bank-encouraged measures to
decrease subsidies and to overvalue the peso have generated severe financial
pressures, as has the government's shift towards the encouragement of export
agriculture rather than growing food for local consumption. In its eagerness to
become part of the free-trading world, the Mexican 'In Mexico as a whole government has gone so far as to change the
some 2 million
country's constitution. Article 27 of that Constit-
producers of corn will ution enshrined the central gains of the original
be unable to survive' Zapatistas, the followers of Emiliano Zapata in the
Mexican revolution of 1910-17, by establishing the
principle of communal landownership. By 1991 about half the country's land
surface was owned communally and about 20 million people (a quarter of the
country's population) lived on such land. In 1992 the Mexican government
modified Article 27, reducing protection for ejidos and encouraging private
ownership. As many people have pointed out, whatever the changes in
landownership which eventually result from this move, the immediate effect on
the peasants of Chiapas (and of other regions of Mexico) was 'at the level of expectations, hopes and fears':5 the end of land reform in Chiapas cancelled the
hope, however vain it might have been, of one day having access to a piece of
land. A workshop convened by the Diocese of San Cristobal (capital of the state
of Chiapas) just before the alteration of the Constitution concluded, among
other things, that the proposed changes to the status of ejido land reflected the
objectives of the proposed NAFTA.
But this was just preparation: NAFTA itself was a further blow. Despite vociferous opposition from peasant organisations, corn was included in the treaty. Over a period of 15 years, and in the spirit of free trade, all tariffs and import quotas currently protecting local production will be abolished. It has been estimated that, in Mexico as a whole, some 2 million small producers of corn will
5. From Neil Harvey, 'Rebellion in Chiapas: Rural Reforms and Popular Struggle', in Third World Quarterly, Vol.16, No.l, 1995, p39-73. The figures above are also taken from this article.
Making spaces be unable to survive. The economic and symbolic centrality of corn to village life would be undermined. 'Free trade' with a neighbour that boasts one of the world's largest grain surpluses will make it impossible for such systems of production to compete. Estimates of the possible consequent displacement of people from the Mexican countryside range from 700,000 upwards to a figure of many millions. Local places and systems of spatial relations will be disrupted. The people will go to the cities, to Mexico City, to the maquikidara-land of the north or, if they can get across the border and California does not throw them out again, to Los Angeles. What treaties such as NAFTA and GATT represent is a potentially massive reorganisation of the world geography of social relations. While multinational companies are freed even more to roam the globe - their already-existing power forcing down borders and further increasing their power - the local production and trade relations of peasants and small farmers are undermined. More people leave the land and make for the cities. Yet they cannot go to just any city. Free trade does not go so far as that. The US border, and the EU border, still remain closed to such people from outside. And so it is that yet more people arrive in unprepared, polluted, Mexico City. This is a real, global, spatial reorganisation, but one in which different groups are very differently implicated. Different places (Chiapas, California) and different social groups occupy very different locations in this shifting, global power-geometry. Some barriers are torn down; others are maintained. New spaces are created (of global trade and of new squatter settlements in third world cities); others are destroyed (the spaces of more integrated national economies, and those of small-scale agriculture). Some identities (the hybrid-Mayan cultures of Chiapas) come under threat from such spatial reorganisations; while those who already have more strength within the shifting power-geometry can wall themselves more tightly in. Here 'at home', on the day when the call went out to clamp down more severely on the use of public services by illegal immigrants, another story focused on the proclaimed need to teach people, in school, what it means to be 'British'. The ordinary business of daily life We all live, then, in complex geometries of social power, and our relationship to place may be, and can be used as, an important component of defining our 201
identities. Moreover, these social geometries stretch from the local to the global
with these 'levels' being deeply implicated in each other.
But the crucial point is that we create those places and those geometries of
power. We create them via the economics and politics which we vote for or allow
to happen; we create them through social and cultural imaginings; we create
them in the ordinary business of daily life. We have some responsibility for them.
Let's take somewhere completely different - Milton Keynes. It is early autumn,
a few years back, and the light is perfect. There are swans on the river, grey
willows with twisted bark stand duty along the banks and a dusty path winds past
thick hedgerows. The colours of the trees, as everywhere in Milton Keynes, are
breathtaking. It is a bit of English countryside, but beautifully planned into the
city. A place to walk slowly, to allow your mind to wander as the sun goes down.
Except that you probably won't. I'm told that rapists sometimes operate on
paths like these. A number of women have been assaulted. A friend of mine, who
lives here, says she will never walk this way after dark. And her friend Jane no
longer cycles to work in winter: it's not light enough to be safe.
When Milton Keynes was first imagined, issues of space and place, and how
they might be organised, were high on the agenda. It was the late 1960s, and
above all this was to be a modern city. Its spatiality was planned so as to prioritise
mobility, rationality and zoning. Mobility was promised by the road system:
'The crucial point is that we create those places'
through-routes and local roads are separated, with only roundabouts at intersections to slow you down. I'm told there is only one set of traffic lights in the whole of the new city. But there are cycle paths and pedestrian-ways
galore. There was once the idea of having a dense network
of public transport, too, with frequent buses and diallable services; but that did
not happen. So it was not mobility in some abstract sense which was initially
envisaged here: there was at least the aim of some equality of access and
movement too.
The city is also a 'modern' space in the way that it organises life. Different
activities are assigned their own special places: industry in some areas, residential
developments in others. Life is zoned. The paths along the river and across the
fields are, supposedly, one of the means of linking the zones, and thus the parts
of life, together. They were to be spaces to take a breather between-times, to
Making spaces
The threat of violence along these paths is just one of the ways in which that
first imagined spatiality of Milton Keynes has been re-worked. The social life of
the city is moulding the meaning and the function of its physical form. In this
case, what has happened is quite simple. There is nothing inherently threatening about country paths, nor even canalside walkways. It is the existence of these attackers that makes them so. And this in turn restricts the mobility of others; women, though by no means only women, are
'Inequalities are structured into that universal mobility that was the planners' dream'
wary. Fear, warranted or not, has its effects. People devise rules and manoeuvres
in order to cope. They adjust their lives. As a result of different forms of social
power - in this case violence - the experience of the geography of the city is
changed; for some it is restricted. Even in daytime there are those who feel they
cannot wander alone, relax in solitude, without continually having to scan for
Inequalities are thereby structured into that universal mobility which was once
the planners' dream. Particular time-spaces (pathways-after-dark) become no-go
areas for certain groups of people. (And yet today, even more than in the 1960s,
the talk is of mobility as the spirit of the age.) The social geography of the city
is shifted, reorganised a little, along lines determined by differential social power.
Only one thing seems to be certain about the identity of the attackers: they
are men. But in Milton Keynes many people also suppose - without any actual
evidence at all - that they are from a particular estate. They are thus pictured,
not just as men, but as men 'from the Lakes'. The different residential areas of
Milton Keynes may have been born out of nothing, but they have rapidly
acquired reputations. And in the imaginative geography of this city, 'the Lakes'
estate figures strongly. It is one of the poorest areas, with male unemployment
reaching 40 per cent. Originally put up to house the people who came here from
north London to begin building the city, there is even an ethnic (Irish)
dimension to its place in the geographical imagination. In a few decades the
identity of people and place have been merged in folklore. Being from the Lakes
estate carries a particular meaning.
But in this case the meaning (that relation between place and identity) has been constructed by those who do not live there. The conflicts and lines of division within the estate remain unknown to outsiders. Indeed, the estate as a
Soundings whole remains largely unknown to most people in the city. The way the residential areas of Milton Keynes are designed reinforces this. Each is a world unto itself. That separation of through-traffic from local journeys precisely means that the estates - like many 'estates' in this country - are not on the way to anywhere else. They are designed to be gone to, not gone through. Unless you already know someone in the area, or have a specific reason for visiting, you are unlikely to find yourself there. Spatial seclusion reinforces the sense of the unknown to those not from the place itself. Social difference and spatial separation combine to construct this 'other world'. This is absolutely not a critique of Milton Keynes. None of these things are unique to that town. Space and place are never just the physicality of plans and bricks and mortar (or even concrete). They are products of our social interactions and imaginations, and we construct them in a constant negotiation with each other. A place of their own: geography and the middle class Power over space and place is, then, a major weapon in the negotiation of today's world. That power may rest on economic muscle, on the loudness of your voice in international fora, on ethnicity or country of origin, on violence, on gender... But whatever it is based on, such power differentiates us. Among other things, in Britain, it is very tied up with social class. Indeed, it is possible to argue - at least for purposes of provoking debate - that spatiality and relation to place (geography) may be significant differentiators between socio-economic groups. It seems, for instance, that in England and Wales if you want to be middle class you may have to move. Certainly, your chances are better if you live in the right place. Some fascinating recent research shows that, in the 1980s, geographical mobility was an important aspect of gaining access to certain social classes.6 In particular, this is true of the middle class (managers, professionals and the petty bourgeoisie). The statistics show that entry into middle-class occupations was often accompanied by movement from one region to another. The quite reasonable inference would be that climbing into these groups may be easier if 6. See Tony Fielding, 'Migration and Middle-Class Formation in England and Wales 198191', in T. Butler and M. Savage, Social Change and the MiddleClasses, UCL Press, London 1995. 204
Making spaces
you are prepared to move house.
There is, moreover, a big difference between these social groups and others.
Entry into blue-collar occupations, for instance, shows very little relation to
migration between regions. In other words, some groups seem to reproduce
themselves in particular places - on the basis of these statistics one might think
of working-class communities - while others quite actively gather together from across the country to establish social strata. Such a picture, and the sharpness of the contrast,
'In England and Wales if you want to be middle class you may
can be overdrawn. These statistics refer only to one, have to move'
recent, decade. The longer historical view shows that
now seemingly stable working-class communities were themselves constructed
from long migrations of people seeking work: the trek to the coalfields of South
Wales and the North East in the 18th-century, the migration of Scots to work
the Corby iron, of rural families to the mills of Lancashire and Yorkshire.
Moreover, the statistics relate to a decade when the blue-collar working class was
in decline, while the managers and professionals of the middle class were growing
rapidly in numbers.
One must not, then, generalise beyond the time and place of these particular
statistics. But they do catch something important about the social geography of
our times. Some classes, or occupational groups, appear to be formed in situ far
more than are others.
What is more, the mobility of the aspirant middle class is a particular mobility:
overwhelmingly it consists of movement to the south east of England. As 'the
middle class' has grown in size so it has continued to concentrate in the south of
the country. Certainly, not all middle-class people live there and, even more
surely, not everyone in the south and east is middle class. But this region is its
heartland. As middle-class jobs have proliferated, so the geographical distance
between them and working-class jobs has been maintained and at times
reinforced. This is not something which has to happen; it is not somehow a
technical necessity of economic efficiency. The middle class putting geographical
distance between itself and manual labour is a social phenomenon, part of the
formation of the middle-class groups themselves. Occupational, social and
spatial identities have been constructed together. Much middle-class movement,
within regions as well as between them, had had as its aim the creation of a
Soundings geography of difference. There is, of course, more to 'mobility' than moving house. But in these other areas, too, the middle class seems to score more highly. It is overwhelmingly the middle class - or, more accurately, it is middle-class men - whose jobs take them travelling, whose work-contacts are conducted through international conference calls and the internet. It is middle-class families, on the whole, whose holidays take them further afield; keeping a little ahead, perhaps, of the frontiers of mass tourism. This, moreover, is a mobility of choice, conducted in relative ease and style: quite different from the mobility of the international refugee or the unemployed migrant from Liverpool coming south to find work. Not just the degree of mobility, but also its social meaning and its character as an experience, indeed the way it becomes part of the process of identity-formation, vary hugely between social groups. But if, for the middle class in this country, the world is increasingly its oyster, the desire for the other side of the coin, for a settled localism, seems equally strong. The mobilities of life are counterposed to, or perhaps even compensated for by, a desire for a place of their own. I have recently been studying some high-tech scientists, men whose working lives (through the companies they work in, through travel to conferences, through the networks of contacts and debates in which they daily participate) are thoroughly internationalised. And at the end of such globalised days a quite impressive proportion of them go home (should one say 'retreat'?) to a cottage in an 'Olde Worlde' English village whose symbolic essence (if not reality) is stability and localism. This is, of course, a phenomenon far wider than a handful of scientists. It would be interesting to analyse in the same terms the home-bases of those who work in the City, the prime UK location of untrammelled globalisation. Perhaps the two sides are related. Just as it is often migrants who get most sentimental about 'home', so those whose lives span the globe seem very strongly to want 'a place of their own'. It seems that at least some significant elements of the British middle class today embody in their own lives that tension between the global and the local, between relatively unfettered geographical mobility on the one hand and a commitment to an exclusive localism on the other. (It is, perhaps, a measure of their cultural hegemony that it is their experience that is taken as the sign of the times. And it is, of course, primarily they who write about it.) 206
Making spaces What is more, these are the groups which have the most power to ensure that they do have a place of their own. What is at issue here is not just the happenstance congregation of different social groups into distinct geographical locations but the active making of places. Such a making of place is part of constructing the identity and coherence of the social group itself. This is true of the exclusive suburb, whose 'exclusivity' is an altogether different phenomenon from that of the Lakes Estate. It is also true of he rural English middle class in which, as has often been remarked, a particular kind of white ethnicity is constructed in relation to the symbolic meaning of he countryside.7 So often, he power to defend an exclusivist localism is greater for hose that are already strong, while he places of others (in Chiapas, in Docklands, or in he lands of h a t Native American chief) come under threat. I n a fine exemplification of the easy mobility of the professional middle classes, I have recently been in Mali. Mali is not one of he parts of he world with which my scientists are much in contact. Indeed, on most maps of the phenomena of globalisation it simply doesn't appear. Most globalisations are, in fact, remarkably selective in he parts of he world which hey reach. But one globalisation which does reach here is that of music: Mali is big in world music. And so, one night, we filmed a group of musicians playing in he yard of one of heir houses, a small building which is home to many people. The floor was of sand, the yard open to he night sky and he air unbelievably hot. Everyone from he road (unpaved, no infrastructure) had crowded in to listen and later to dance. On a TV on a stool to one side Arsenal were playing Zaragosa in the Final of he European Cup Winners' Cup. The music h a t evening drew on he world. Local instruments (local in he sense of probably having arrived there centuries ago from Egypt) mixed in with electric guitar. There were cadences from he east, hints of Chuck Berry, traces of slave-songs reimported from Cuba. Quite consciously some of these groups have made use of influences from 'outside', but to build a music which hey see as specifically Malian. It is a music which draws on the world and is exported back to it. One of he musicians said to us: 'some countries have oil; we have music' 7. See, for instance, Deborah Phillips and Philip Sarre, 'Black Middle-Class Formation in Contemporary Britain', in T. Butler and M. Savage, op. cit. 207
Soundings Most of the people gathered in the yard had not been outside Bamako; some knew the rest of the country and stretches of the Sahel, through migrations and family connections; others (the musicians themselves) had been abroad. Some members of the group are on their way to becoming international stars. They come home to towns and villages in a country not on most people's maps of the world. To make major recordings, they have to go to a studio in France. Here was yet another view of globalisation; another social space being made and constantly re-made. I wondered how we might be affecting things - being there, filming. On the stool in the corner David Seaman came out of his goal just that little bit too far and Arsenal fans thousands of miles away in north London, occupying at that moment another point in the constantly shifting set of relations we know as 'space', were plunged into despair. 208

D Massey

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