Scientific article
Open access

Grounding politics on nearness?

ContributorsFall, Juliet Janeorcid
Published inGeographische Zeitschrift, vol. 4, p. 213-225
Publication date2010

This paper starts with a sympathetic critique of Andrew Dobson's argument for an intellectual obligation for justice in a globalising world (Dobson 2006). He suggests that one way of getting round the motivational vacuum between an intellectual commitment to justice and a determination to act is to focus on what he calls ‘thick' cosmopolitanism, which is a type of post-national obligation based on the material connections between cause and effect, on the specific materialities of connections. In this paper, I discuss one example of the constitution of new political spaces based precisely on such material ties, using the example of the creation of transboundary protected areas – or national parks, biosphere reserves and the like – constructed around shared features such as large-scale ecosystems, charismatic megafauna and other ‘natural', material objects. I argue that this example points how a pernicious fetishisation of materiality can lead to things being considered not to unite unproblematically, but instead to contain, embody and reflect particular spatialized political scenarios of division. The assumption of nearness can thus paradoxically lead to a return of discourses of division.

Citation (ISO format)
FALL, Juliet Jane. Grounding politics on nearness? In: Geographische Zeitschrift, 2010, vol. 4, p. 213–225.
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