The line and the margin #1

March 27, 2015

Think of the lines drawn upon the urban entity: cognitive lines that nonetheless compartmentalise, divide, ordere-in-place. To map out is to draw a line: both in the literal sense of drawing as much as in the sense of deciding when a limit has been reached. And it is sovereignty that decides, at the first instance, when this limit has been reached, when the time has come and where the coordinate is apt for this line to be drawn.

But there are also those cognitive lines drawn in the minds of the urban dwellers, lines that build themselves through and thanks to the everyday. Lines fermented in memory, solidified in the lived form: lines that direct us in sinking in the untold.

Upon being drawn, upon completing itself into a shape, a line encloses: it forms a space. At that moment it simultaneously creates, by this process of deduction, an outside — since by definition content can only exist along with and thanks to the margin that defines it.

Neoliberal sovereign order has formed its spaces and by so doing, it has created its spaces of margin: the ghettoes, the banlieues, the favelas of its world. Spaces that lie outside the sovereign core due to, and as a result of sovereignty’s desired order.

Yet there are also those spaces that lie, however partially, beyond sovereignty’s jurisdiction, spaces that do so largely against and despite sovereignty’s desired order.

And the two are not mutually exclusive. Far from so: spaces of this outside, spaces in sovereignty’s margin, exist through and following a process wherein their outside-ness has been negotiated, even if inadvertently so: spaces produced through sovereignty’s spatial contract with its subjects.

But how does sovereignty create this outside? And where is the outside that has preceded neoliberal sovereign order itself?