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(2015) Spatiality and symbolic expression, Basingstoke, Palgrave Macmillan.

Op weg naar Broxeele

the production of shared spaces

Catherine Emerson

pp. 191-207

The collective spaces examined in this chapter are situated on the frontier between the concrete and the abstract zones: they are real places that take on imagined significance or, conversely, things that are not real space that we talk about using spatial metaphors and approach with a territorial mentality. These are the spaces that people create in communities, and it is worth lingering for a second on the creative metaphor. Spaces can be created, produced; this language does not disturb us because we are used to using the word 'space" with both a concrete and an abstract meaning. Michel de Certeau contrasts geometric, geographical space with a poetic, anthropological experience of space, but he uses the same word, espace, to talk about both, arguing that the first is like the immutable text and the second is like the ephemeral reading.1 Concrete spaces are there to be discovered, but the way in which we discover them creates abstract spaces that we invest with meaning. In this chapter we shall examine some very concrete spaces: a street corner in Brussels, a commune in northern France, and the inside of a moving coach that carries a group of people from one to the other. Reflecting on the way in which these are linked to form a territory of the imagination, which in media environments is treated as if it were a physical territory, we shall see the way in which these environments themselves, whether on the page or online, seem to take on spatial characteristics.

Publication details

DOI: 10.1057/9781137488510_10

Full citation:

Emerson, C. (2015)., Op weg naar Broxeele: the production of shared spaces, in B. Richardson (ed.), Spatiality and symbolic expression, Basingstoke, Palgrave Macmillan, pp. 191-207.

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