[URBANTH-L]AAA Panel on Spatial Governmentality

ASpal84583 at aol.com ASpal84583 at aol.com
Wed Mar 16 20:49:18 EST 2005

Sorry this is last-minute!  I got some great responses from a space and place 
listserve yesterday, so I figured I'd try the urbanth list too.  Anyone 
interested in writing an AAA paper on issues related to spatial governmentality 
(see beginning panel abstract below), please contact me at ASpal84583 at aol.com.  
Include a paper title and abstract, your contact information, and your 
departmental affiliation by March 25.  


Ashley Spalding
Doctoral Student in Anthropology
University of South Florida

Proposed AAA 2005 Panel on Spatial Governmentality (beginning abstract--to be 
expanded and revised based on paper abstracts submitted):

Sally Engle Merry provides an excellent synthesis of theorizations of spatial 
governmentality in her 2001 American Anthropologist article, "Spatial 
Governmentality and the New Urban Social Order: Controlling Gender Violence through 
Law."  She discusses the scholarship that, drawing on the work of Michel 
Foucault, has identified a shift from disciplinary mechanisms of social control to 
the regulation of space-referring to these new mechanisms of social ordering as 
"spatial governmentality" (Merry 2001:16).  Among the key points are that, 
increasingly it is the case that spaces are governed rather than people.  For 
instance, rather attempting to reform offenders, they are simply excluded from 
certain spaces.  While Merry looks at this trend in US domestic violence 
policy-for instance, the increasing popularity of restraining orders--she writes 
that spatial strategies are "typically used by the wealthy to exclude the poor, 
while those who fail to respect these islands of safety are incarcerated" 
(2001:17).  This transformation in forms of governance is not only typical of 
cities in the United States.  Merry writes:  "Indeed, contemporary urbanism is 
shaped not only by features of size, scale, and anonymity but also by globally 
produced inequalities and transnationally circulating notions of governance" 
(2001:17).  The papers in this panel will examine diverse articulations of spatial 

(My own paper will detail gating, nuisance abatement, and code enforcement as 
forms of spatial governmentality in a mixed income neighborhood in Tampa, 

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