blue flag

Location: Lecture Theatre 1, Kramer Building, University of Cape Town

Spatial Justice is an open question: what happens when a body moves into the space of another body? What happens when one body desires to be exactly where another body is, at exactly the same time? And how does this tie in with resistance?

Spatial justice fleshes out the violence of unitary emplacement: only one body can occupy a specific space at a specific time. The result of such desire is conflict, displacement, marginalisation, invisibilisation. The question of spatial justice is at the core of every geopolitical, economic, colonial and post-colonial, racial, gendered, class and so on, conflict. It remains the ultimate quest, bringing together justice as emplacement and spatiality as movement. Its emergence does not offer a final solution but urges towards a constant repositioning. Thus, resistance not as staying put but as constant questioning. In order to explain this, I employ the concepts of the lawscape, namely the spatial and legal tautology, and atmosphere, namely the material illusion of justice as perfect emplacement. I argue that spatial justice can only emerge through a radical withdrawal from the atmospherics of control perpetuated by the neoliberal, self-policing affective society of growth and consumption; and a movement towards the perpetual questioning that comes from the infinity of space as manifold.

Through the above definition and practice of spatial justice, I propose a radical conceptualisation of law and politics of movement, on the basis of a posthuman, affective, embodied and generally material understanding of justice.

British Academy logo
Newton Fund logo