Representation, destruction and the creation of territorial islands

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Issues of demolition and redevelopment are normally justified in quite straightforward terms such as upgrading or redevelopment. Implicit in many instances of demolition however, is an alternative claim on territory and a different spatial ideal. This paper explores the politics that often shadows acts of demolition - an associated terrain of displacement, separation and exclusion. Beginning with the selective representation that was a driving force in the demolition of a notorious slum area in East London this paper will go on to consider the impetus behind the construction of territorial islands, internally ordered and bounded places that form and migrate or are deliberately implanted into alien situations, constantly at odds with their surroundings. The impact of unresolved encounters and struggles between people threaten basic assumptions about inhabitation. People migrating across national boundaries with different belief systems and world-views often seek to impress new identities onto existing places and cultures. For those there already the sense of interior is interrupted by the arrival of others. They must struggle to maintain stability as daily routines and activity are curtailed, moulded and adapted to a changed environment. For newcomers, energy and resources are often expended on establishing new rules and conventions and in maintaining a protective skin. Jacqueline Rose has written about how, with such movement across national boundaries ‘you are just as likely to carry your enemies with you’. Nothing is ever simply left behind and this ‘baggage of the mind’ often surfaces as ‘fierce blockading protectiveness. This paper ultimately will address the way people struggle to make room for themselves in places that are crowded with conflicting claims and open to different interpretations. It will examine the way ideas are carried from one space to another.
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationBrisbane, Australia
PublisherQueensland Institute of Technology
ISBN (Print)9781864356410; 9781864356403 (CD-ROM)
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2010


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