Extraordinary spaces in ordinary places: De Certeau and the space of postcolonialism



Publication Details

Buchanan, I., 1993, 'Extraordinary spaces in ordinary places: De Certeau and the space of postcolonialism', SPAN: Journal of the South Pacific Association for Commonwealth Literature and Language Studies, no 36, pp. 56-64.


The aim of this paper will be to explore and at the same time interrogate a number of theories relevant to the concept of space. The larger aim will be to show how de Certeau's ideas can be usefully incorporated into current work in the area of postcolonialism. Essentially, what I aim to show is that space is not a topic that can simply be glossed, as it so often is, and that literary studies needs to integrate a concept of spatiality into its fields of concern, and that postcolonialism, above all others, needs to think about space. This should already be apparent in the very term postcolonialism, implying as it does an intrinsic relation to space - an occupation, a being occupied and a de-occupying (of a space) - whether it be a homeland or suburban street. This brings me to the second aspect of my paper, which will be to argue that space is neither a uniform nor a homogeneous object or subject that can be apprehended without difficulty, that can be perceived similarly by all who choose to look. Put simply, there are spaces and there are spaces.

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