Subtopia: A Scarecrow Empire

A Scarecrow Empire

Central to the effectiveness of any form of security is its ability to project power and to exponentialize its apparent sphere of influence beyond the verifiable boundaries of its control; to dupe people, essentially. Territory – as a material of power – succeeds in part not only because it marks its authority with definite radius but also its ability to transcend that same demarcation through a more fluid and illusory expansion of the imagination that defies the scrutiny of formal measure. Power, as a phenomenon, is as much a colonizer of the psychological landscape as it a producer or a product of the built environment. I mean, that’s one aspect, anyway – power’s ability to endure based on assumption, deception, and its occupation of the mind.

As you know, the parameters of sovereign power aren’t simply a matter of coordinates on a map, recorded border geographies, or security zones strategically linked over a grid, but are a striation of imaginary longitudes and latitudes that more abstractly territorialize an insinuation of “evil” and “threat” through the making of culture, which helps in turn to justify the constitution of power’s alleged means for interdicting “evil” well within and beyond its own borders.

In the opening of his book The Colonial Present, Derek Gregory describes Edward Said’s concept of imaginative geographies this way:

These are constructions that fold distance into difference through a series of spatializations. They work, Said argued, by multiplying partitions and enclosures that serve to demarcate “the same” from “the other,” at once constructing and calibrating a gap between the two by “designating in one’s mind a familiar space which is ‘ours’ and an unfamiliar space beyond ‘ours’ which is ‘theirs’. ‘Their’ space is often seen as the inverse of ‘our’ space’: a sort of negative, in the photographic sense that ‘they’ might develop into something like “us,” but also the site of an absence, because “they” are seen to lack the positive tonalities that supposedly distinguish “us”. We might think of imaginative geographies as fabrications, a word that usefully combines “something fictionalized” and “something made real,” because they are imaginations given substance.

An idea you undoubtedly are familiar with already, but which also makes more obvious the notion that power is often exercised because its authority is unchecked and taken completely for granted, as it is a kind of ethos that populates thought, and in this sense it is the invisibility of the border that wields tremendous influence here, the dissolution of it; the border’s internalization and exportation beyond the site of the border itself and as anything but structurally visible. I guess in simpler terms, the point here is that a border often exists only because the public believes it does, and that is usually enough to contain or deter them.


[Image: Via The Subversion.]

Read entire wonderfully illustrated article at Subtopia: A Scarecrow Empire.

This entry was posted in Activism, Art, Community, Government, Liberty, News, Parapolitics, Police State, Politics, Surveillance, Technology and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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