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Saskia Sassen “The Repositioning of Citizenship”

February 27, 2013 Leave a comment

Sassen, Saskia 2005. The Repositioning of Citizenship: Emergent Subjects and Spaces for Politics. – Passavant, P.A.; Dean, J. (eds). Empire’s New Clothes: Reading Hardt and Negri. London; New York: Routledge, 177-201.

The global city is a denationalized space where people from all over the world come together and claim-making is not confined to formal citizens. (178)

Linn kui ruum, mille suhete ja ülesehituse keerukus ei allu riiklikule poliitikale. Riiklik kodanikustaatus ei ole (globaalsele) linnale niivõrd oluline: võimalus arendada teistlaadi praktikaid ja kohalolu-viise.

One of my hypotheses, partly worked out in the paper that follows, is that in these types of cities we can detect emergent types of political subjects and political spaces. Their emergence is partly enabled by the destabilization of key elements in nation-based politico-legal architectures, a result of what Hardt and Negri call the “new global order.” (180)

We still need to identify, however, a theoretical schema that can sustain us in this inquiry. The old analyses of imperialism will not be sufficient here because in the end they stop at the threshold of the analysis of subjectivity and concentrate rather on the contradictions of capital’s own development. We need to identify a theoretical schema that puts the subjectivity of the social movements of the proletariat at center stage in the processes of globalization and the constitution of global order. (180; Hardt and Negri „Empire“: 235)

Hardti ja Negri mõtte keskmes subjektsus? Peab hoolikamalt lugema. Siiamaani olen aru saanud, et nende “multituud” ei anna kuidagi poliitilise subjekti mõõtu välja: pigem desubjektivatsioon, mitte-subjektsus.

The transformations afoot today raise questions about this proposition, insofar as they significantly alter those conditions that in the past fed the articulation between citizenship and the national state. The context for this possible alteration is defined by two major, partly interconnected conditions. One is the change in the position and institutional features of national states since the 1980s, resulting from various forms of globalization. These range from economic privatization and deregulation to the increased prominence of the international human rights regime. The second is the emergence of multiple actors, groups, and communities partly strengthened by  these transformations in the state and increasingly unwilling automatically to identify with a nation as represented by the state. (181)

More broadly, the destabilizing of national state-centered hierarchies of legitimate power and allegiance has enabled a multiplication of nonformalized or only partly formalized political dynamics and actors. These signal a deterritorializing of citizenship practices and identities and of discourses about loyalty and allegiance. (182)

Kodanikustaatuse deterritorialisatsioon. Küsimus: kui suhtes rahvusriigiga saab kodanikustaatus deterritorialiseeritud, siis millistes praktikates-võimusuhetes see reterritorialiseeritakse. D & G rääkisid, kui õigesti mäletan, et iga deterritorialisatsioon viib reterritorialisatsioonini: kapitalismis lõhutakse vanad suhted (nt identiteet, mis seotud maaga, riigiga jne) ning luuakse koheselt uued (rahasüsteem kui aksiomaatika). Rahvusriigist lahtisidumine tähendab eelkõige majandusliku subjekti – kodaniku – sündi? Kuid ilmselgelt ei taha Sassen siin piirduda vaid majandusega, vaid otsib uusi poliitilise eksistentsi võimalusi, mispärast ongi vajalik deterritorialisatsiooni järje ajamine uutese territoriaalsustesse. Poliitilisuse topoloogia.

One of my assumptions here is that the destabilizing impact of globalization contributes to accentuate the distinctiveness of each of these elements. A case in point is the growing tension between the legal form and the normative project towards enhanced inclusion, as various minorities and disadvantaged sectors gain visibility for their claim-making. Critical here is the failure in most countries to achieve “equal” citizenship—that is, not  just a formal status but an enabling condition. (182)

Passiivne ja aktiivne kodakondsus: formaalsed kodakondsustunnustused võivad takistada poliitilise subjektsuse eksistentsi: naised kui valimisõigusetud kodanikud. Kuid see kodakondsuse võimaldamise kaudu poliitilise subjektsuse hülgamine loob samal ajal ka (hüljatud) ruumi, milles luua teistlaadseid praktikaid.

Generally, the analysis in this paper suggests that we might see an unbounding of existing types of subjects, particularly dominant ones such as the citizen-subject, the alien, and the racialized subject. (183)

“Linnakodanik” saab määravaks? See oleks siis mitte omadustele keskenduv kodakondsus, vaid konkreetselt praktikale? Kodaniku tegevus linnas, kogukonnas määrab tema staatuse? Selles mõttes: mitte-identifikatsiooniline.

[…] insofar as equality is based on membership, citizenship status forms the basis of an exclusive politics and identity. (187)

Võrduse põhistamine kuulumisega loob välistava poliitika: sissearvav väljaarvamine? See, et keegi on kodanikuna defineeritud, identifitseeritud, ei kindlusta tema “igavesi ja võõrandamatuid” õiguseid. Võrdsus kuulumise alusel – väljaheidetuna, hüljatuna võib igast kodanikust saada mitte-kodanik, võõras, vaenlane (nt vanglad kui “hüljatute ruum”, milles seadused ei kehti – vangla pole mitte seaduste täideviimise ruum, vaid seaduste peatamise ruum – samamoodi getod ja slummid).

[…] legal citizenship does not always bring full and equal membership rights. Citizenship is affected by the position of different groups within a nation-state. (187)

Perhaps one of the more extreme instances of a condition akin to effective, as opposed to formal, nationality is what has been called the informal social contract that binds undocumented immigrants to their communities of resi dence. Hence, unauthorized immigrants who demonstrate civic involvement, social deservedness, and national loyalty can argue that they merit legal residency. (188)

At perhaps the other extreme from the undocumented immigrant whose practices allow her to become accepted as a member of the political community is the case of those who are full citizens yet are not recognized as political subjects. In an enormously insightful study of Japanese housewives, Robin LeBlanc finds precisely this combination. […] A “housewife” in Japan is a person whose very identity is customarily that of a particularistic, nonpolitical actor. Yet, paradoxically, it is also a condition providing these women with a unique vehicle for other forms of public participation, ones where being a housewife is an advantage, one denied to those who might have the qualifications of higher-level political life. (190)

1) Kodanikud praktika alusel, kes ei ole ametlikult/formaalselt tunnustatud. 2) Kodanikud, kel formaalne tunnustus, kuid ei ole poliitilise subjektsuse (praktika) võimalust. – Mõlemad kui uue tegutsemisruumi loojad; alternatiivse poliitika. Hea näide poliitikast badioulikus mõttes.

Women in the condition of housewives and mothers do not fit the categories and indicators used to capture participation in political life. Feminist scholarship in all the social sciences has had to deal with a set of similar or equivalent difficulties and tensions in its effort to constitute its subject or to reconfigure a subject that has been flattened. (191)

Insofar as citizenship is theorized as necessarily national, by definition these new developments cannot be captured in the language of citizenship. An alternative interpretation would be to suspend the national, as in postnational conceptions, and to posit that the issue of where citizenship is enacted is one to be determined in light of developing social practice. From where I look at these issues, there is a third possibility beyond these two. It is that citizenship—even if situated in institutional settings that are “national”—is a possibly changed institution if the meaning of the national itself has changed. (192)

I distinguish what I would narrowly define as denationalized from postnational citizenship, the latter being the term most commonly used and the only one used in the broader debate.46 In my reading, we  are dealing with two distinct dynamics rather than only the emergence of locations for citizenship outside the frame of the national state. Their difference is a question of scope and institutional embeddedness. The understanding in the scholarship is that postnational citizenship is located partly outside the confines of the national. In considering denationalization, the focus moves on to the transformation of the national, including the national in its condition as foundational for citizenship. Hence it could be argued that postnationalism and denationalization represent two different trajectories. Both are viable, and they do not exclude each other. (192)

My efforts to detect the extent to which the global is embedded and filtered through the national51 is one way of understanding whether therein lies a possibility for citizens, still largely confined to national institutions, to demand accountability of global economic actors through national institutional channels rather than having to wait for a “global” state. (193)

The loss of power at the national level produces the possibility for new forms of power and politics at the subnational level. The national as container of social process and power is cracked. This cracked casing opens up possibilities for a geography of politics that links subnational spaces. Cities are foremost in this new geography. (193-194)

Where Lefebvre found this agency in the working class in the Paris of the twentieth century, I find it in two strategic actors—global corporate capital and immigration—in today’s global cities. (194)

Immigratsioon kui tänapäevase poliitilise agentsuse võimaldaja. Riigispoliitikast mööda minev, agambenlikult öeldes, rahva (populus) õõnestaja. Siin on oluline, kui immigratsiooni vaadata uue poliitilise subjektsuse võimaldajana, minna mööda “kuuluvusest”, sellest, mis võimaldav väljaheitmist. St, reterritorialisatsiooni-iha, tahtmine “süsteemis sisalduda”, kustutab poliitilise subjektsuse võimaluse. Immigrant kui poliitiline subjekt ei tohi muutuda “formaalseks kodanikuks”, kelle nt välismaine sünnikoht võimaldab deportatsiooni (vt Immigration Reform 2013).

Today’s citizenship practices have to do with the production of “presence” of  those without power and a politics that claims rights to the city. (194)

The conditions that today mark the possibility of cities as strategic sites are basically two, and both capture major transformations that are destabilizing older systems organizing territory and politics. One of these is the rescaling of what are the strategic territories that articulate the new political-economic system. The other is the partial unbundling or at least weakening of the national as container of social process due to the variety of dynamics encompassed by globalization and digitization. (197)

There is something to be captured here—a distinction between powerlessness and the condition of being an actor even though lacking power. I use the term “presence” to name this condition. In the context of a strategic space such as the global city, the types of disadvantaged people described here are not simply marginal; they acquire presence in a broader political process that escapes the boundaries of the formal polity. This presence signals the possibility of a politics. What this politics will be will depend on the specific projects and practices of various communities. Insofar  as the sense of membership of these communities is not subsumed under the national, it may well signal the possibility of a politics that, while transnational, is actually centered in concrete localities. (197)

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Lagopoulos “From Stick to the Region”

Lagopoulos, Alexandros Ph. 1993. From the Stick to the Region: Space as a social instrument of semiosis. – Semiotica 96-1/2. 87-138

For Eco, the arhitectural object is, semiotially speaking, a sign-vehile, a signifier, denoting its ‚primary funtion’. Thus, the stick does not denote the space delimited by it, but in connection with it denotes the function performed by the stick (for example, to measure the position of the sun, to indicate a point of reference); this conceived function is cultural unit. (90)

It is on this spatial aspect of architectural meaning that Greimas, contrary to Eco and closer to the traditional architectural view, insists, arguing that the spatial signifiers have their own immediate signifieds, with whic they constitute the spatial language; the integration of these signifieds into new ones leads to autonomous discourses on space. (92)

[…] the architectural work may have elementary forms; that even restricted parts of an architectural whole may be endowedwith meaning; that the spatial signifier is not necessarily a well-formedshape, especially as we move from architectural to urban space; and that not only the connotations of space, but even the denotations may engage any possible cultural code. (93)

[…] the central ideological themes of a culture may appear at different scales, be incorporated in different semiotic systems, and be expressed through different morphological elements. (96)

The property signs [in Nicholas V time] thus functioned as metalinguistic signs pointing to the owner of a building. The result of this metalinguistic function was to create the architectural denotation of the owner of the building, and this denotation led to the insertion of the building in the connotative network discussed above. At this point, I would like to remind the reader of my view, presented in the theoretical introduction to this article, about the existence of non-functional denotative architectural signifieds; the denotation just examined belongs to a personal-legal code and constitutes a personal-legal space. (103)

[…] the location of the pope’s insignia in Rome create a semiotic system unfolding in urban space, anchored in architecture, and initiated by small-scale para-architectural signs. These signs are identical and repetitive, and thus the text they constitute, on their own level, does not emerge from their syntax; their function as a whole is to extend the patronage code from the individual structure of the whole of the city. (105)

[…] it is not the physical setting that ‚can furnish the raw material for the symbols and collective memories of group communication’ [Lynch]; on the contrary, space is at the service of meaning and spatial orientation a meaningful orientation. (105)

There is, thus, a continuous transmission of meaning between the two syntagmatically related elements: the city semantizes the threshold as its threshold, and the protection of the threshold semantizes the city as protected, as the threshold is. Sculpture, architecture, and urban space, viewed from the urban standpoint, are the nodes for the circulation of meaning. (106)

The Borgo plan is, as Constantinople, a new Rome and a condensed image of existing Rome. The symbolic unification of the city which it achieves finds its exact parallel in the unification of the Vatican and the Lateran, the two extremities of the axis urbis, through the multiple orientation pattern. We pass with this pattern from the general urban message of Nicholas’s insignia to the new messages added to it by the specific syntactic and semantic relations between the sites to which certain of these insignia are attached. Because of the identification of the axis urbis uniting these sites with a cosmicaxis, new messages emerge involving the city as a whole. In this manner, these latter messsages resemble the general message of the insignia in that both relate to the city as a whole. The two types of messages differ, however, in that the message of the insignia originates in an unstructured geographical reality, while the messages sent by the axes of the city are anchored in a structured pattern, which in itself generates meaning not simply through repetition, but through articulation. It goes without saying that these levels of meaning are only analytically discernible, since they are in practice interwoven. (116)

The planned quadripartite settlement was not uncommon in the medieval period, either as a strict geometric form os as a looser spatial organization, but what in the cities seems to have been mainly retained as the spatial expression of the cosmic heavenly Jerusalem are the radiating divine center and the outer limits dividing chaos from cosmos. (117)

I concluded earlier that the Vatican is a summit on the basis of the structural similarities betweeb the Borgo plan and the city of Rome. In both cases, which are related as part to whole, the same symbolic model was used. The same cosmic model is used irrespective of the urban scale, as was the case with urban and regional space […] a semiotic mechanism identical to that already studied of the incorporation of the same themes in different semiotic systems. It is not, then, strange in this context to find different points in space characterized by the same qualities – for example, centrality or extremity. This is a contradiction only for rational thought. Symbolic thought is qualitative, and the same qualities may be attached to quite different objects and spaces. The cosmic model is projected not only on the horizontal plane, but also on the vertical plane, absorbing in this manner all of three-dimensional space. (125-126)

[…] the radial pattern is interwoven with the concentric pattern. The twelve parts of Plato’s city follow from the subdivision of the four quarters of a circle defined by two perpendicular diameters. Plato explains in Timaeus how the universe was created through the bending of the two bars of a cross into two circles. The twelve parts of the ideal city correspond to the twelve months of the year (i.e one revolution of the universe). On the basis of our data, we may conclude that, in respect to the urban model, the passage from Middle Ages to the Renaissance, effected through the mediation of Greek and Roman antiquity, was founded on the cosmic cross. (130)

… aesthetization of a cosmological model in renaissance (architecture and art – perspective) (133)

Renaissance urban model:

1)      the denotative level, corresponding to the description of the elements of the urban form and expressed in the latter. (Metonymic)

2)      Connotative level – symbolic and aesthetic considerations, follow from metaphorical connections.

3)      Pragmatic: from the military point of view, the radial plan was a pragmatic adaptation to the physics of artillery. (134)