Response to “Social and Material (dis)Organization of the City”

(I’m re-posting my response to Juuso here, since discussions sometimes get lost in comments…)

I’ve been thinking along these same lines but more in terms of the compulsion to order space, rather than the disorder that arises in the wake of social struggle. But to stay closer to the questions you raise: I’m reminded of an article by Yael Navaro-Yashin, “Affective spaces, melancholic objects: ruination and the production of anthropological knowledge”

In it she investigates how the affect of melancholy arises in the Turkish Cypriots who appropriated space and objects from their Greek counterparts during the mid-70s war and partition of the country, and uncovers evidence of melancholy in everyday parlance that reveals the residents’ feelings toward appropriated property: specifically their use of the word “loot” in a self-deprecating way. Interviews with residents of an area near a military border reveal feelings of confinement and suffocation, which she interprets as a relationship between negative affective states and the aesthetic of ruination amongst which these people live.

This obviously isn’t politics directly, but it’s certainly an insight into the affective engagement with a ruinous environment, or as Holland says, citing D&G’s terminology, an “incorporeal transformation.” And though Harvey does actually mention the three elements of schizoanalysis — “political and economic powers of capital, along with its hegemonic ideological practices and its powerful grasp upon political subjectivities” (p. 120) — I don’t think his disciplinary background really gives him the ammunition he needs to engage with their interactions.