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Negotiating nation-states: North American geographies of culture and capitalism Sparke, Matthew 1996

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NEGOTIATING NATION-STATES: NORTH AMERICAN GEOGRAPHIES OF CULTURE A N D CAPITALISM by Matthew Sparke B.A., hons., The University of Oxford, 1989 M.A., The University of British Columbia, 1991 A THESIS SUBMITTED IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF DOCTOR OF PHILOSOPHY in THE FACULTY OF GRADUATE STUDIES • Department of Geography We accept this thesis as conforming to the required standard THE UNIVERSITY OF BRITISH COLUMBIA August 1996 © Matthew Sparke, 1996 In presenting this thesis in partial fulfilment of the requirements for an advanced degree at the University of British Columbia, I agree that the Library shall make it freely available for reference and study. I further agree that permission for extensive copying of this thesis for scholariy purposes may be granted by the head of my department or by his or her representatives. It is understood that copying or publication of this thesis for financial gain shall not be allowed without my written permission. Department of The University of British Columbia Vancouver, Canada Date 'Z^oV ^g(^ e»<W<-DE-6 (2/88) Abstract. i i Abstract The nation-state has for a long time appeared to have eluded the attempts of scholars to encapsulate its essence in theory. Rather than propose another attempt at encapsulation, this dissertation represents a form of geographical supplementation to these efforts. As a work of geography it focuses on the negotiation of nation-states, and, in doing so, traces a double displacement of encapsulation. Primarily, the four major studies comprising the dissertation represent geographical research which, using a wide range of archival and contemporary media material, makes manifest the irreducible complexity of the negotiations in, over and between nation-states at the end of the twentieth century. Focused on Canada and the USA, these studies trace how a diversity of cultural as well as political-economic processes come together in the inherently geographical negotiations of First Nations struggles, Canadian constitutional politics, continental free trade developments, and American patriotism. These are negotiations where no one process fully encapsulates an explanation of the events and where their collective but contested territorialization calls out for an open-ended and anti-essentialist analysis. Secondarily, while the dissertation's first and more central work of displacement is enabled by poststructuralist critiques of essentialist explanation, its other displacing effect comes in the form of a geographical deconstruction of so-called poststructuralist theory itself. This represents an attempt to turn the elusive nature of the nation-state vis-a-vis theory into a living and politicized site for investigating the limits of poststructuralist theorizing. Overall, the geographical investigations of the dissertation illustrate the value of anti-essentialist arguments for furthering geographical research into the nation-state while simultaneously calling these epistemological innovations into geographical question. Using such questioning to critique the limited geographical representation of the nation-state, it is concluded that geographers cannot not persistently examine such limits. iii Table of Contents Title page i Authorization Abstract l i Table of Contents iv List of Figures v i List of Tables vi i Acknowledgements viii Dedication ix Epigraphs . x INTRODUCTION 1 GRAPHING THE GEO: FROM SUPPLEMENTARY EXPLANATIONS TO THE NEGOTIATION OF NATION-STATES PARTI 44 A MAP THAT ROARED A N D A N ORIGINAL ATLAS: CANADA'S ENDS, CARTOGRAPHIC BEGINNINGS A N D THE NARRATION OF NATION Chapter 1: Contrapuntal Cartographies 45 Chapter 2: The Trial: Pedagogy Policing Performance 61 Chapter 3: The Atlas: From the Pedagogic Root to Performative Routes 84 Chapter 4: Disseminating Conclusions 104 PART II 110 THE SPECTRAL SPACE OF THE NATION-STATE: CANADA'S CONSTITUTIONAL CRISIS A N D THE LIMITS OF RADICAL DEMOCRACY Chapter 5: Constitutive Conclusions 111 Chapter 6: Democracy and the Struggle Against Neoliberalism 119 Chapter 7: The National Boundaries of Discontinuity 144 Chapter 8: Beyond the Space of Deep Diversity ,167 PARTIII 172 A N ALMOST TRANSCENDENTAL LEVEL PLAYING FIELD: FREE TRADE A N D LIMITS OF THE NATION-STATE Chapter 9: From Canada's Constitution to the Constitution of Capital 173 Chapter 10: The Appearance of Negotiating Nation-states 183 Chapter 11: Free Trade and the Production of the Level Playing Field 224 Chapter 12: Renegotiating the Almost Transcendental Nation-State 250 iv PART IV 255 FROM THE GULF WAR TO THE O K L A H O M A BOMBING: OUTSIDES INSIDE THE OVERDETERMINED NATION Chapter 13: Identifying the Outside Inside 256 Chapter 14: Chauvinism: The Complicity of Patriarchy and Nationalism 272 Chapter 15: From Chauvinist Identity to fort/da and Beyond 284 Chapter 16: The Patriot System: Beyond the Forgetting of Secret Truths 306 CONCLUSION 326 THE PERSISTENCE OF NEGOTIATION Bibliography 332 List of Figures Figure Ll ^ A Map that Roared 49 Figure 1.2 Outside the Space of Justice 64 Figure 1.3 Inside the Space of Justice 66 Figure 1.4 The Law vs. Ayook 68 Figure 1.5 Gitksan Territory 72 Figure 1.6 Wet'suwet'en Territory 73 Figure 1.7 A black and white copy of a portion of the Coast Tsimshian map 94 Figure 1.8 A black and white copy of the 'Two Views of Land in British Columbia' map 108 Figure III.l Peter Murphy the free trade negotiator as butcher 188 Figure 111.2 Dismantling the Nation 189 Figure III.3 Ratio of Canadian Foreign Direct Investment in the US to US Foreign Direct Investment in Canada, 1926-1992. 195 Figure III A Mulroney and Turner: Head to head 198 Figure III. 5 Perot and Gore: Head to head 213 Figure III.6 Fencing the father's home 219 Figure III.7 Specific Rules of Origin: Example I 234 Figure III. 8 Specific Rules of Origin: Example II " 235 Figure IV.1 Tha rationality of targetting 258 Figure IV.2 The irrationality of targetting 258 Figure IV. 3 America at War 274 Figure IVA Patriotic Missiles 274 Figure IV.5 Fantasies of spatial control 279 Figure IV.6 Nintendo World Order 280 vi List of Tables Table II.1 Provincial Vote, referendum of 26 October 1992 161 Table 11.2 Aboriginal Vote, referendum of 26 October 1992 162 vii 7 Acknowledgements My thanks go first and most profoundly to Katharyne Mitchell who has helped me in uncountable ways with the production of this dissertation. Her own examinations of the geographies of culture and capitalism have been an intellectual inspiration, her writing has been a guiding example of clarity and wit, and her ongoing support at home and at work has made it possible for this text to emerge as such from what, because of her, has been the far far richer textuality of our everyday life. Intellectually, I also owe a huge debt to Derek Gregory who has been a constant source of new ideas, new readings and, most of all, new and encouraging energy at the most wearying moments of the dissertation journey. Gerry Pratt and Trevor Barnes likewise played crucial roles in guiding and helping me from start to finish, showing substantive intellectual interest in my work when others portrayed it as a passing polemic. My gratitude also goes to Dan Hiebert for a wonderfully diligent reading of the final text, David Ley for his continued trust and interest, and to Cole Harris for his early support. My friends and fellow grad students at U.B.C. have kept me alert to the complexity of the issues this dissertation attempts to address: in particular, Jennifer Hyndman, Bruce Willems-Braun, Robyn Dowling, Alison Blunt, Tim Solnick, Michael Brown, David Demerrit, Noel Castree, Lynn Stewart and Daniel Clayton have all brought nuance to my arguments as well as the spirit of friendship to my time at U.B.C. Rhys Evans, Debby Leslie, Suzy Reimer, all also played an early part in making my graduate career in Vancouver a happy and interesting one. At the University of Washington in Seattle, I have speedily accrued similar debts to Viccy Lawson, Dick Morrill, Lucy Jarosz, Resat Kasaba and David Hodge. In addition to the support of these trusting colleagues, I was also kept afloat during my last year of the dissertation and first year of teaching by the birth of my daughter Sage, whose laughter and smiles made many an uproductive day seem worthwhile. My family debts extend from Sage and Katharyne to George and Beth to my own mother and father, Angela and Colin. They have nurtured my intellectual journey the longest, from the early quest to find the university of dustmen, to the search for the best loading bays in Oxford, to the odyssey of learning (and the idiosyncracy of travelling) in and about North America. It is to them, with great gratitude, that this dissertation is dedicated. viii To M and D with thanks and love ix Very affluent people may come to believe that they have: broken free of imperialism through acts of reading, writing, lecturing and so forth. For human collectivities in the ... zones of capital, however, all relationships pass through their own nation-states, and there is simply no way of breaking out of that imperial dominance without struggling for different kinds of national projects and for revolutionary restructuring of one's own nation-state. So one struggles not against nations and states as such but for different articulations of class nation, and state. Aijaz Ahmad fust as none of us is outside or beyond geography, none of us is completely free from the struggle over geography. That struggle is complex and interesting because it is not only about soldiers and cannons t but also about ideas, about forms, about images and imagings. Edward Said Persistently to critique a structure that one cannot not ... inhabit is the deconstructive stance.... [A]ll I mean by negotiation here is that one tries to change something that one• is obliged to inhabit, since one is not working from the outside. In order to keep one's effectivness, one must also preserve those structures — not cut them down completely. And that, as far as I can understand, is negotiation. Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak INTRODUCTION Graphing the Geo: From Supplementary Explanations to the Negotiation of Nation-States THE NATION-STATE, a simultaneously metaphysical and practical, world-.shaping geographical concept, is perhaps the most commonly taken for granted geopolitical construction of the modern world. Hyphenated in its English spelling and, in practice, hybridized in varied contexts around the globe, its inherent instability has nevertheless been hidden by its geographically grounded grip on the modern imagination. This geographical grounding, combined with the global hegemony of the nation-state form, makes its non-transcendental contingency hard to acknowledge. Nevertheless, as historians of modernity such as Eric Hobsbawm point out, the nation-state is really only of recent, late eighteenth century origin, and may well turn out to have a relatively short duration in historical terms.1 Indeed, Hobsbawn argues in his most recent work that the short life of the nation-state has begun, like much else, to be further shortened towards a final eclipse in these last few fin de siecle years of what he calls the "Short Twentieth Century."2 Anticipating this putative transcendence, the historian pre-emptively uses the past tense to summarize how thus in these years the nation-state "was eroded."3 As a work of geography this dissertation departs from such historicizing grammar with the rather blunt, even banal counterpoint, that at least now, in 1996, four years before the millennium, the political geographic map of the world's nation-states is still largely intact. The many transcending trends tracked by Hobsbawm exist: information, people and capital move increasingly often and fast across borders. However, given 1 Eric Hobsbawm, Nations and Nationalism since 1780: Programme, Myth, Reality, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1990. 2 Eric Hobsbawm, The Age of Extremes: A History of the World, 1914 - 1991, New York: Vintage, 1994. 3 Ibid., p. 576, my emphasis. - 1 -GRAPHING THE GEO the peculiar persistence of what is supposedly being transcended, our intellectual efforts need also to be directed in part at understanding the negotiation of, the nation-state's continued existence. If the primary components of today's geopolitical world map represent a form of territorialization that is thus neither historically transcended nor ahistorically transcendental, we need to come to terms with the ongoing negotiation of the nation-state's geography in the context of all the clearly momentous cultural and political-economic changes that are preceding the millennium. While outside the academy nation-states are daily renegotiated by other nation-states, corporations, citizens and, most vulnerably, by non-citizens, the more common intellectual response to their chronically messy geographical persistence is not negotiation so much as interpretation turned explanation turned theoretical encapsulation. Even apart from the glib epitaphs to its 'end' written by the evangelists of economic globalization, critical, supposedly emancipatory, accounts also repeatedly enframe some sort of end to the nation-state in theory.4 That is to say, they epistemologically enclose rather than disclose the full complexity of the political struggles, contingencies, and heterogeneity held together by the geographies of power hinted at by the space-spanning hyphen in 'nation-state'. Instead, assumptions about the spatiality of nation-states, and, most especially, their existence as autonomous spatial units, mean that the power of an assumptive and absolutist geography often comes to conceal the far more complex geographies of power that constitute the abstract but geographically articulate nation-state effect. From the perspective of contributing to an engaged and transformative intellectual endeavour, the perspective of Marx's eleventh thesis on Feuerbach which is also the guiding perspective of this dissertation, such abbreviated analysis is not an enabling basis for negotiating with nation-states in a practical,' emancipatory way. Of course, theoretical encapsulation might be argued to constitute a form of negotiation, but it is unreflective and unexamined as such. Thus its most common tactic as a genre of intellectual closure is to close off the full constitutive, and possibly transformable, geographies of the nation-state by instead employing a simplifying divide-and-conquer approach. In this way, theoretical explanations frequently begin by breaking * The work of the popular free trade guru Kenichi Ohmae advertises the glibly globalizing approach at its boldest in books with titles such as The End of the Nation-State: The Rise of Regional Economies, New York: Free Press, 1995. -2-GRAPHING THE GEO up the hyphenated hybrid into its component categories, using assumptions about space to eventually reconnect the argument to the nation-state as a unit while meanwhile analyzing nation and state separately or, as is more common, proceeding to ignore one component and the whole geography of power indicated by the hyphenated structure altogether. State theory, whether Weberian, Marxian or Foucauldian, commonly begins by abstracting the state from the nation, thereby facilitating its examination as something separate and indeed abstract from the ideological and territorial inconsistencies of national identities.' Whether it is as a holder of a monopoly on the legitimate use of violence, as a container of class struggle, or as a congeries of disciplinary procedures, the state is thus disassociated from the complex and geographically uneven processes of national identity formation. Similarly, although theorists of the nation and nationalism often refer to the organizing effects of the modern state, this by no means indicates that intellectual attention will be paid by such scholars to the substantive economic and bureaucratic affairs coordinated by state practices, instead, recent work on the cultural construction of nations and nationalism, work which commences now with an almost ritualized bow to Benedict Anderson's Imagined Communities, has included brilliant analyses of the sexualized and racialized imagination of nation while virtually ignoring the context of state-capital connections which Anderson himself, with his attention to print capitalism and the class implications of 'official nationalism', clearly acknowledged.6 The problem, though, is not simply one of bringing state and nation back together and theorizing their territorial combination. Perhaps the most zealous forms of totalizing intellectual closure are written by those who essay a complete geographical theory of the nation-state as a unified spatial unit. Political geographers as different as Harm de Blij and Philip Cooke have 5 Bob Jessop's work, one of the best recent contributions to state theory, virtually ignores the nation all the while he produces an ingenious Marxist account of state-projects and state effects that puts a Weberian attention to bureacratic force together with a Poulantzian sensitivity to the power of law. See Bob Jessop, State Theory: Putting Capitalist State in their Place, Cambridge: Polity Press, 1990. The "place" of the state for Jessop does not therefore include the geography of the nation. ' Benedict Anderson, Imagined Communites: Reflections on the origin and Spread of Nationalism, second edition, London: Verso, 1991. For examples of narrations of nation as separate from the state see Homi K. Bhabha, ed. Nation and Narration, New York : Routledge, 1990; and Andrew Parker, Mary Russo, Doris Sommer, and Patricia Yaeger, eds. Nationalisms and Sexualities, New York: Routledge, 1992. - 3 -GRAPHING THE GEO sought to thus somehow encapsulate the nation-state in geographical generalizations. In de Blij's 1967 Systematic Political Geography, it becomes "the ideal form of politicoterritorial organization," and in Cooke's more recent work, a theory of nations is put together with the spatially sensitive state theory of Nicos Poulantzas in order "to derive a generalizable set of propositions which are sufficiently interlinked to constitute a model of the connection between national movements and nationalism."7 Whether as ideal form or generalized model, the complex contingency-cum-conventionality of the nation-state is epistemologically appropriated in these accounts into dehistoricized spatial abstractions. Such abstraction ignores or occludes the ongoing and active negotiation of nation-states. Plotting their borders and internal organization in analytical space, it erases the constitutive and dynamic geographies of negotiation. Against such erasure, I submit that theorists of the nation-state need to remember the now well recognized critique of the arrogance of spatial abstraction. Edward Said, whose work on the arrogance-turned-abstraction of the space of 'the Orient' has inspired much of this critique, has himself noted with regard to the nation-state that "no single explanation sending one back immediately to a single origin is adequate. And just as there are no simple dynastic answers, there are no simple discrete formations or social processes."8 To begin with, therefore, the nation-state's historical heterogeneity must be detailed, and this is the first of two reasons why I began this introduction by invoking not a theorist of systematic political geography but rather a historian of modernity. It is the wide swathe of historiographie scholarship on modernization, scholarship represented at its most sweepingly detailed in Hobsbawm's voluminous ouevre, that has best attended to the historical negotiation of the nation-state on the ground. Yet, even while acknowledging the historical contingencies of nation-state formation, the historicizing approach has itself also been marked in turn by a form of epistemological will-to-power. This, in fact, is the second and more critical reason for invoking the historiographie tradition at the start. Because it has combined detailed studies with probably 7 Harm J. de Blij, Systematic Political Geography, New York: Wiley, 1967; and Philip Cooke, "Nation, space, modernity," in Richard Peet and Nigel Thrift, eds., New Models in Geography. The Political Economy Perspective, Volume One , London: Unwin Hyman, 1989, 267 - 291, p. 268. 8 Edward Said, "Opponents, audiences, constituencies and community," in Hal Foster, ed., Postmodern Culture , London: Pluto Press, 1983, p. 145; and, for the critique of the abstraction of the Orient, see idem, Orientalism, New York: Vintage Books, 1978. -4-GRAPHING THE GEO the most intellectually dominant definitions and explanations of the nation-state, its acts of epistemological enclosure will serve later in this introduction as my working illustration of the more general pattern of explanation turned encapsulation. In the historiographic tradition such epistemological enclosure has come in the form of a historicist tendency towards teleology. It has led to an appropriation of heterogeneous world-wide examples into a fundamentally developmental and, as such, Eurocentric narrative of the nation-state's rise and, as the narrative inevitably has it, fall. Rather than denounce this as another 'dynastic answer', however, I instead read the resulting contradictions and the theoretical supplementation they lead to as an illustration of a broader pattern of explanatory supplementation in theories of the nation-state. One unfulfilled theory seems to follow the next, with something — the state and the nation being two glaring examples ~ always left behind. Interpreted not as a theoretical failure but as a clue to the nature of the nation-state, such supplementation also provides, I will argue, a valuably displacing geographical lesson. ' If not in the same terms exactly, other critics have already remarked upon the pattern in which one theory of the nation-state supplements the next in a series of always already failed attempts to encapsulate the full complexity of the hyphenated hybrid. Ephraim Nimni thus comes to summarize his own deconstructive discussion of the pattern in Marxist treatments by describing the nation-state as an "obstinate form of social contingency."' My own argument about the resistance to encapsulation is equally attentive to such obstinacy and is similarly informed by the philosophy of deconstruction. However, it is distinct insofar as it also supplements such philosophical anti-essentialism with attention to some of the geographically grounded processes and patterns that seem to evade encapsulation. In this way Negotiating Nation-States traces a double displacement of encapsulation. On the one hand, the four major studies comprising the dissertation represent research aimed to disclose some of the irreducible complexity of the negotiations in, over and between nation-states at the end of the twentieth century. Focused primarily on Canada and the USA, these studies trace how a diversity of cultural as well as political-economic processes come together in inherently geographical negotiations. ' Ephraim Nimni, Marxism and Nationalism: Theoretical Origins of a Political Crisis, Concord, MA: Pluto Press, 1991, p. 7. - 5 -GRAPHING THE GEO These are negotiations where no one process fully encapsulates an explanation of the events and where their collective but contested territorialization calls out for an open-ended and anti-essentialist analysis. On the other hand, while the dissertation's first form of displacement is thus enabled by poststructuralist critiques of essentialist explanation, its second displacement comes in the form of a geographical deconstruction of so-called poststructuralist theory. With this second displacement, my project represents an attempt to turn the elusive nature of the nation-state vis-a-vis theory into a living and politicized site for investigating the limits of poststructuralist theorizing. Specifically, I rework the theories of Homi Bhabha, Timothy Mitchell, Ernesto Laclau and Chantal Mouffe, amongst others, to come to terms with the questions of geographical negotiation raised by the case studies. Through this geographically grounded critique, I simultaneously set out to chart where assumptions or arguments these authors make about space foreclose the otherwise irreducible geographical complexity of negotiation. This critical reworking reflects what I view as the pre-eminent value of anti-essentialist social theory as a tool for coming to terms with the non-transcendental but untranscended cultural and political-economic negotiation of nation-states. Yet, in moving from the space of theory to the spaces of geographical negotiation, I also argue that a certain essentialization of space marks a moment in which poststructuralism falls prey to a geographical version of its own critical argument. In order to convene what is effectively a two tiered analysis of both the practical and theoretical negotiation of nation-states, I turn throughout the dissertation to a notion of what I call anemic geography. I use this term to describe the various abstract assumptions about the spatiality of the nation-state that do the work of consolidating theoretical encapsulation all the while betraying that same work with various forms of spatial essentialization and metaphorization. I suggest that this intellectual essentialization also actually reflects the role anemic geography plays in the day to day negotiation of nation-states. It is the power of such anemic geography, I will argue, that conceals the geographies of nation-state constituting power, and which therefore contributes to the taken-for-granted coherence of the metaphysical hyphenation. These are clearly rather synoptic descriptions of complicated arguments, and in the rest of this introduction I unpack their implications as GRAPHING THE GEO well as clarify my use of geography through a more sustained discussion of the critical approach I am employing to critique anemic geography. I have summarized my critical approach in the title of the chapter as graphing the geo, a term for a deconstructive gesture which I argue is often implicit in the work of geographers but which, like the notion of theoretical supplementation I have deployed above, is also adapted from the writings of the French philosopher Jacques Derrida and his most geographically attuned critic, Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak. That Derrida's and Spivak's work, so often derided as a form of elitist and aestheticized textual gymnastics, might have something to do with both geography and the day to day negotiation of nation-states may not be immediately obvious. Therefore, in the next section I begin by introducing the disciplinary-cum-deconstructive conjunction of geography and Derridean writing I see as thematic in the notion of graphing the geo. In the subsequent section, I proceed to illustrate how this notion can be used to examine an anemic geography in the work of those who, like Hobsbawm, seek to historicize the nation-state. I argue that this approach renders explicit a geography hidden by such historicism. In the process, I not only illustrate the limiting implications of anemic geography, but also outline how my own critical approach seeks to broaden such analysis. Finally, in the last section, I introduce how the specific North American geographies of the dissertation are aimed to put such a deconstruction of anemic geography into . practice, the practice, in this case, of understanding the complex cultural and political-economic negotiation of nation-states. GRAPHING THE GEO Graphing the geo: or, the responsibilities of catachresis The responsibility of geography The powers that transform and are reproduced by space are transported, and hence activated, by and through representations. The conditions of space/power are thus equally material and representational. Indeed, the trifold nexus of space/power/representation brings into question the very distinction between the material and the representational, and with it, the stability of all disciplines demarcated via their separation. Wolfgang Natter and John Paul Jones &T° In "Signposts towards a Poststructuralist Geography" Natter and Jones argue that various forms of normative history "should be unsettled by both Derrida's analysis of context and the critical reassertion of space."11 However, as their conclusion, which I have quoted above, insists, this critically contextualized reassertion of space does not translate into an exercise in asserting the disciplinary strengths of geography per se. Likewise, my claim to be geographically supplementing and thereby problematizing post-structuralist theory should not be taken as a narrowly disciplinary plea about how work in cultural studies and critical theory has somehow lacked a geographical imagination. It has not; although much of the reference to space plays a supplemental role in such theory and, as such, often appears as a form of metaphorical embellishment. Nor am I arguing that geographers have better access to some metaphor-free 'real' space that has been ignored in the recent rush to metaphorize space in anti-essentialist writing. Certainly this instrumentalization of space as a metaphorical vehicle in otherwise non-geographical arguments has often left space itself unproblematized.12 Yet incorporating arguments from the discipline of geography may by no means prevent this, and may even promote more unproblematized usage if the incorporated arguments come from geographers who presume to reveal the ontological truth about space.13 Following Geraldine Pratt, I would suggest 1 0 Wolfgang Natter and John Paul Jones III, "Signposts towards a Poststructuralist Geography", in John Paul Jones III, Wolfgang Natter, Theodore R. Schatzki, eds., Postmodern Contentions: Epochs, Politics, Space, London: The Guilford Press, 1993: 165 - 203, p. 198. 11 Ibid., pp. 192 - 3. 1 1 For the most eloquent rendition of this argument, see, Cindi Katz and Neil Smith, "Grounding Metaphor: Towards a spatialized politics," in Michael Keith and Steve Pile, eds. Place and the Politics of Identity, New York: Routledge, 1993, 67 - 83. 1 3 I am thinking here in particular of Ed Soja's Postmodern Geographies, Oxford: Blackwell, 1989. Despite its title, this is a suprisingly disciplinary book which partly because of its GRAPHING THE GEO instead that one of the crucial tasks for geographers is to examine the variety of ways in which geography can be deployed as a concept-metaphor.14 Rigorously pursued, such examination ultimately raises at least three ethico-political implications for all geographical descriptions, arguments or assumptions, whether disciplinary or not: firstly, that at some level they deploy geography as a catachresis, a concept-metaphor without a singular literal referent; secondly, that the sheer, variety of these deployments shows how mistaken it is to turn such a catachresis into a catechism, a transcendentalist claim to the ultimate ontological ground; and thirdly, that it is therefore instead a responsibility of the critic-geographer to persistently examine the grounding of such catachrestical geographical grounds. Clearly, then, my interest stretches to a wider geography of discourse and is not simply restricted to the discourse of geography. However, with this said, my work is most certainly informed by the efforts geographers have made to bring together the focus in cultural studies and critical theory on the power of discourse with an ongoing and disciplined interest in the implications of such discursive formations on what I will continue to call the geographical ground.15 There is something about the work of geographers on and about the power of discourse that constantly returns such work to fhe groundedness of power relations. In fact, a recent collection of essays by geographers entitled Constructions of Race, Place and Nation has already indicated how work on the social construction of nation and citizenship must come to terms with how such discursive constructions are grounded in place, and as such, often have what the . editors of the volume call "dire consequences for human lives."16 Admittedly, such formulations risk setting up an unwarranted opposition between discourse and a grounded material world of 'dire consequences' and, following the same dualistic logic, between discourse and geography itself. However, 'geography itself does not allow for such easy oppositions. Against them, it is possible to reinvigorate a usefully double and displacing meaning of geography as a name bracketing both fascinating studies of Los Angeles, but also, I would argue> because of its appealingly ontological claims about space has received a wide readership. 1 4 Geraldine Pratt, "Spatial metaphors and speaking positions," Environment and Planning D: Society and Space, 10, 1992, 241 - 4. 1 5 For probably the most critically comprehensive overview of such efforts see Derek Gregory, Geographical Imaginations, Oxford: Blackwell, 1994. 1 6 Peter Jackson and Jan Penrose, eds.Constructions of Race, Place and Nation, Minneapolis: University of Minnesota, 1993, p. 1. - 9 -GRAPHING THE GEO process (including discursive processes) and effect. To retrieve this meaning we need to return to geography's Greek etymology as geo-graphy, or, earth-writing. •.. • Other geographers working on questions of discourse have already begun the work of unearthing geography's paleonymy, which is to say the meaning and imperatives it carries in its etymological wake. Trevor Barnes and James Duncan have thus specified the etymology -- "from the Greek geo, meaning 'earth', and graphien, meaning 'to write'"17 — in introducing a set of essays by geographers entitled Writing Worlds. Likewise, attempts to develop a critical geopolitics in political geography have revitalized a writerly notion of "geographing" in order to come to terms with the so-called scripting of. sovereignty and security threats in the spatial formulations and fantasies of national policy-making.18 Both these genealogies of the graphic or written moment in geography have influenced the direction of this dissertation, underwriting my analysis of how the negotiation of nation-states proceeds through often unexamined scriptings of space. However, all the while such approaches enable us to demythologize taken-for-granted geographical representations, they are also limited by a peculiarly literal understanding of the 'writing' in earth-writing. Unfortunately the literal interpretation of writing leads back to a form of textualist reprise of the dualism between discourse and materiality. On the one side, it has excited some rather insubstantial forms of textual analysis in which the consequences for human life, dire or otherwise, are largely neglected or depoliticized through an ambivalent textualism. In critical geopolitics, for example, Gerard 6 Tuathail has recently complained that, coming together with a philosophical insistence on the ambiguities of texts, 1 7 Trevor J. Barnes and James S. Duncan, "Introduction: Writing worlds," in idem, eds., Writing Worlds: Discourse, text and metaphor in the representation of landscape, New York: Routledge, 1992,1 -17, p. 1. 1 8 For a useful summary of the innovation of the notion of 'geographing' and the resulting geopolitical 'geographs', see Klaus-John Dodds, "Geopolitics and foreign policy; recent developments in Anglo-American political geography and international relations," Progress in Human Geography , 18, (2), 1994, 186 - 208. Dodds notes that the "term 'geograph' refers to the specific descriptions of places contained within particular narratives. It is assumed that these decriptions are often 'relatively simple and culturally resonant' or 'anti-geographical' in order that those 'geographs' can be easily effective in political narratives. However, recently critical geopolitical theorists have attempted to complicate and problematize the geoscripts or geographs of foreign policy rather than reveal 'better' or 'truer' stories.... Critical geopolitics aim to document the strategies by which geographs are made by studying the multiple sites which produce geographings of global politics." Ibid. p. 199. -10-GRAPHING THE GEO such textualism merely replaces a metaphysics of presence in traditional approaches to 'sovereignty' and 'security' with a whole new metaphysics of ambivalence." On the other side, the notion of earth-writing has also led to a form of revelatory analysis in which the critic of graphic construction presumes to uncover a real space beneath all the 'graphing'. Brian Harley, for example, the author of a chapter entitled "Deconstructing the Map" in Writing Worlds, elsewhere sought to deconstruct the graphic cover-up effected by the colonial cartography of North America.20 Demythologizing the cartographic writing of the New World as 'New', he thus complained that such maps "remain silent about the true America."21 As I argue later in Part I, the danger in such revelatory statements is that they infer that there was a singular, coherent, pre-colonial space, in this case a "true America," in such a way as to foreclose analyses of the plural, uneven and, in a crucial sense, non-American native geographies of the land. Thus ultimately the revelatory reading of earth-writing is akin to the textualist reading insofar as it comes to conceal the geographical multiplicity of writings of and on the land. Both approaches are held hostage to a literal interpretation of writing, and because of this they either abstract the earth into writing or measure writing against a supposedly unwritten earth. Along the way, they enframe the wider and not necessarily literal textuality of earth-writing, which is to say they encapsulate rather than disclose the diverse graphing of the geo I argue is implicit in geography. Another way of opening up earth-writing without recourse to a literal notion of writing has been presented by 6 Tuathail himself in the form of a lexigraphic deconstruction of geography. He thus advocates writing a hyphenated 'geo-graph-y' that can serve simultaneously as a name for both the result and process of geographing. Radicalizing our understanding of the 'graph' in this way encourages a resurrection of the deadened sense of geography as gep-graphing, an open-ended inscribing, delirniting, and engraving of the earth/globe/world. To study geo-graph-y, then, is to study the projection of geographs striving for " Gerard O Tuathail, "Dissident IR and the identity politics narrative: a sympathetically skeptical perspective," Political Geography, forthcoming. 2 0 Brian Harley, "Deconstructing the Map," in Trevor J . Barnes and James S. Duncan, eds. Writing Worlds: Discourse, text and metaphor in the representation of landscape, New York: Routledge, 1992, 231 - 247; and, idem, "Silences and Secrecy: The Hidden Agenda of Cartography in Early Modern Europe," Imago Mundi, 40,1988, 57 - 76. 2 1 Harley, "Silences and Secrecy," p. 69, my emphasis. -11 -GRAPHING THE GEO signification; it is to study the graphmg/weavmg/writing of the geo/world/system. Geo-graphing can be viewed as an interminable tracing without ends or limits, a writing that never reaches closure, that never totally maps." I fully concur with the open-ended aims of this deconstructive project, and 6 Tuathail's summary is especially valuable for a project which, like this dissertation, aims to disclose multiple mappings of the nation-state. However, through the very profusion of hyphens and backslashes this displacing study of "geo-graph-y" as the "graphing/weaving/writing of the geo/world/system" ironically risks privileging the written text; making it seem, if only for a moment, that the work of displacement has been done by the writerly enterprise itself. The notion of graphing the geo that I am presenting is clearly vulnerable to a similar criticism. It might thus seem a limited exercise in geographical word play that absolves the critic-geographer from the responsibility of actually tracing the multiple geographies of nation-state negotiation. However, in the context of a Derridean deconstruction of writing, I submit that it instead offers a way of examining just such disavowals of geographical responsibility. The disavowal of geographical responsibility I am referring to is most readily exemplified by the work of geographers like de Blij who still present their earth-writing as an unmediated representation of the world, a representation that disavows both the effects of the world on the writing and the effects of the writing on the world. As Wolfgang Natter and John Paul Jones have already argued,. such work, when presented as geography, "collapses any distance between the narrator and the narrated world, between the graph-ing and the geo."" Using parallels with literary criticism, Natter and Jones proceed to direct their own argument specifically towards the history of positivist forms of geographical representation such as cartography. Going further than this, I submit that the gap they narrate between the so-called graphing and the geo can be used as a way of problematizing geographical irresponsibility in many other contexts — including those of poststructuralist literary criticism itself. In order for this reversal and displacement of geography to be generalized thus, as an ethic of persistent responsibility, it is necessary to go beyond the narrative parallels between literary criticism and I I Gerard 6 Tuathail, "(Dis)placing geopolitics: writing on the maps of global politics," Environment and Planning D: Soceity and Space, 12, 1994, 321- 349, p. 332. " Natter and Jones, "Signposts towards a Poststructuralist Geography," p. 193. -12-GRAPHING THE GEO earth-writing by exploring how the poststructuralist concept-metaphor of 'the text' and the related notions of writing constitute something far more than a literary exercise. For this reason I turn now from the evolution of a notion of graphing the geo in geography to the question of how it might be informed by Derridean writing, which is to say, by Derrida's deconstruction of writing as both a general structure and iterable effect of "substitutive significations" giving "rise to an inscription in general, whether ... literal or not"" The responsibilities of writing That's how one becomes an activist, I mean, to escape the text as you understand it - the verbal text. There are these various ways, in which you become 'involved'. But once you do that you won't get away from textuality. 'The Text,' in the sense we use it, is not just books. It refers to the possibility that every socio-political, psycho-sexual phenomenon is organized by, woven by many, many strands that are discontinuous, that come from way off, that carry their histories within them, and that are not . within our control. Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak" Out of all of Derrida's interpreters, Spivak, the 'post-colonial critic', seems most politically sensitive to the responsibilities represented by what she once called the "shadow of a geographical pattern" falling over and from his work." Her politicized explanation of the concept-metaphor of 'the text' likewise eloquently evokes the responsibility to geographical context - the strands that "come from way off" — that I want to trace in Derrida's interrogation of Western writing. This interrogation now represents a long journey with many twists and turns, and here it is the earlier steps that concern me most. In many of his older essays Derrida traced how traditional western philosophers tend to malign 'writing' in the very same gestures with which they simultaneously elevate 'speech' as the closest expression of the immediacy and presence of pure 'thought'. Reversing and displacing this " Jacques Derrida, Of Garmmatology, translated by Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak, Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1976, pp. 159 and 9, but see also, page 56. 2 5 Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak, The Post Colonial Critic, edited by Sarah Harasym, New York: Routledge, 1990, p. 120. 2 6 Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak, "Translator's Preface," in Derrida, Gratnmatology, ix - lxxxvi, p. lxxxii. -13-GRAPHING THE GEO limits of anemic geography, my basic point comes back to how, because of this discontinuous graphing, we have a responsibility persistently to ask about how various graphings of a geo may have been dissembled by a particular geography. It is this socio-textual reading of the graphing of the geo that in turn underwrites my claim about a double and displacing implication implicit in geography itself. Understood in terms of process and the dense complexity of spatial relationships, it is often marginalized and, like writing in relation to speech, treated as secondary and supplemental. Understood as an effect, as a pattern, a particular inscription, by contrast, it is sometimes given special treatment, but whether hallowed thus or not, as an effect, it is still seen, enframed or invoked, as somehow cut off from the unexamined supplemental spatial processes that produced it. Given the parallels with writing, it might not be surprising- that Derrida has himself employed the concept-metaphor of 'spacing' (espacement), as another of his own supplementary anti-key-keywords. As Jonathan Culler explains, it too works as a noun describing an effect ~ a particular spatial organization ~ and, simultaneously, as a verb describing a process — the act of organizing a spatial organization." However, most of Derrida's discussion of the alterity of spacing is focused around his deconstruction of Freud's description of the psyche as a "space of writing." In this context, he says that "[s]pacing as writing is the becoming-absent and becoming unconscious of the subject."30 Ironically, the chief target of this deconstruction is the taken for granted universal quality of time (along with its co-dependence on a notion of a fully conscious centred subjectivity).31 Thus, all the while Derrida uses Freud's spacing of the mind to point towards the written-ness of time, he does not -- as Spivak notes in her preface to Of Grammatology32 — dwell in these early writings on the what might be described as the more geographical spacing of Freud's fort-da. As I have reason to recall in detail in Part IV of the dissertation, even when Derrida does take up the story of Freud's grandson Ernst and the whole fort-da question of going "beyond the pleasure principle," 2 9 Jonathan Culler, On Deconstruction: Theory and Criticism after Structuralism, Ithaca, New York: Cornell University Press, 1982, p. 97. 3 0 Derrida, Grammatology, p. 69. 3 1 See also Jacques Derrida, "Freud and the Scene of Writing," in idem, Writing and Difference, translated by Alan Bass, Chicago: Chicago University Press, 1978. 3 2 Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak, "Translator's Preface," in Derrida, Grammatology, ix -lxxxvii, p. xlv. -15-GRAPHING THE GEO marginalization of writing, Derrida proceeded to show that it betrays what are in fact systemic but forgotten or hidden features of speech and thought. In his deconstruction of Austin's speech act theory, for example, Derrida notes that these features include the fact that speech, like writing, rests on pre-arranged systems of codes and customs; that these enable the speaker to be absent when the listener receives the message; and that they thus allow for a repetition of the original 'idea' — itself dependent on convention and therefore a form of repetition — outside of its author's founding control." Derrida shows that "[t]his essential drifting due to writing as an iterative structure cut off from absolute responsibility, from consciousness as the authority of the last analysis," carries a disruptive deconstructive force." Pointing to the ' underwriting of a message, thought or act thus leads in turn to an undermining of any "metaphysics of presence" which — like the one that reveres speech as an immediate presentation of consciousness, a.k.a. 'phonocentrism' — assumes either a fully comprehensible communication of meaning or a unique, original and punctual moment of causality. Messages, or anything else subject to the same iterative structure, therefore become examinable as discontinuous from the controlling intentions of their authors or producers, cut off from an original context, causally overdetermined, and interminably dependent on unpredictable and uncontainable contexts of reading and experience. Derrida's disclosure of constitutive writings outside of 'direct reach' has an immediate parallel in the multiple and diffuse graphings that constitute the 'geo' of a particular geography. When geographers and whomever else set out to describe a particular geography, and, even more so, when they invoke geography and space metaphorically, there is a similar metaphysics of presence at work — what might be called a metaphysics of geo-presence — that fixates o n the 'geo' of a particular spatial pattern or a particular poetics of location while simultaneously downplaying the full diversity of the often graphically constitutive processes that produced it. Every geography is thus, to use Spivak's phrase, "woven by many, many strands that are discontinuous, that come from way off, that carry their histories within them, and that are not within our control." By using the notion of graphing the geo to address the " See Jacques Derrida, "Signature, Event, Context," in idem., Margins of Philosophy, translated by Alan Bass, Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 1982, 307 - 330. 28 Ibid., p. 316. -14-GRAPHING THE GEO the "beyond" the philosopher is exercised by is still largely the temporal disjuncture in the philosopheme of logocentric presence. To be sure, in more recent statements Derrida has directly addressed the question of the production of space. "I often talk about spacing," he says, "but this is not simply space as opposed to time, but a mode of producing space by temporalizing it."" Even here, though, he does not directly confront the production of the geography of his own writing, and it is the way in which space is related to temporalization that preoccupies his argument. In the next section, when I explain the implications of anemic geography in more detail I will return to how this leaves the specific shadow Spivak noted unexamined. For the moment, it is the implications of writing for the graphing of the geo that concern me. In terms of theorizing this reversal and displacement of geography, I submit that instead of his questioning of 'spacing', it is Derrida's work on the responsibilities of writing that is ultimately most valuable. Of course the notion of constitutive conventions outside of 'direct reach' rendered explicit in Derrida's deconstruction of writing may seem at first to indicate a form of absolution from 'real' geographical responsibility, a way of exculpating an erroneously limited geographical description or reference by saying that this is always and everywhere predictable. Derrida's reference to writing as "an iterative structure cut off from absolute responsibility" may appear thus to sound the death knell of any responsible form of interrogation into a project which, like geography, can be said to be subject to the structure of writing. Yet such a gloomy prognosis would be missing, the point.34 Certainly the arguments that identity is contingent on context and that determination is heterogeneous and sometimes concealed even as it works its effects, disrupt humanist understandings of 'absolute' responsibility that structurally assume a (normatively masculine) author's fully conscious capacity to know, take account of, and 'rationally' describe a geography.35 But at the same time, the deconstructive notions that highlight the written-ness of determination and geography do not liquidate 'the subject' or, for that matter, 'the geographer'.36 Instead, they serve to actually widen 3 3 In Raoul Mortley, French Philosophers in Conversation, New York: Routledge, 1991, p. 100. 3 4 For a debunking of such gloomy relativism, see Spivak, "Translator's Preface," p. xiii. 3 5 See, Jacques Derrida, "The ends of man," in idem., Margins of Philosophy, translated by Alan Bass, Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 1982, 109 - 136. 3 6 On how deconstruction is not a liquidation of 'the subject', see Jacques Derrida, '"Eating well' or the calculation of the subject," in Eduardo Cadava, Peter Connor and Jean-Luc Nancy, eds., -16-GRAPHING THE GEO It is Spivak's notion of insertion into responsibility that I seek to employ in my own analyses of the essentializing anemic geographies that limit the critical value of anti-essentialist arguments — even as they make them useful for examining the negotiating of nation-states. For this reason, it is worth noting that Spivak herself has illustrated how such a notion can serve to problematize the specific limits of Michel Foucault's anti-essentializing studies of 'power-in-spacing' in modern Europe. She suggests that his valuable critiques of the rationalism of modernity and its enframing of space were partly written by his position as a European "water-shed" intellectual, a geography that affected and, indeed, effected his work even as he neglected to explicitly examine its diverse graphing, "its production .by the spacing-timing of the imperialist project."" This neglect, argues Spivak, constituted a form of disavowal, a way of abdicating from what, after (but less humanistically than) Said, she calls "the critic's institutional responsibility."" In the context of theorizing the negotiation of nation-states, the notion that a geography is heterogeneously graphed clearly raises in its turn a series of questions concerning how a deconstruction of geography and the responsibilities it raises relate to 'polities'. To be as clear as possible, I am not suggesting that a deconstructive attention to the diverse graphing of the geo represents a new and all-encompassing political program for critical geography in general or even for the political geography of nation-state in particular. To do so is to risk the "neutralizing anesthesia of a new .theoreticism" that Derrida himself protests against, although perhaps, in this case, too hauntingly much." Instead, I am following Spivak in suggesting here that deconstruction 'helps' politically because of its capacity to "make founded political programs more useful by making their in-built problems more visible."" In practice, as Gregory Jay argues, Cape Town: University of Cape Town Press, 1992. 4 0 Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak, "Can the Subaltern Speak?" in Cary Nelson and Lawrence Grossberg, eds., Marxism and the Interpretation of Culture, Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1988, 271 - 316, p. 280. 41 Ibid., p. 281. 4 2 Derrida, Specters, p. 32. 4 3 Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak, "Feminism and deconstruction, again: negotiating with unacknowledged masculinism," in Teresa Brennan, ed., Between Feminism and Psychoanalysis, New York: Routledge, 1989, 206 - 223, p. 206. -18-GRAPHING THE GEO questions of responsibility by repeatedly remembering how geographical descriptions are heterogeneously centred in heterogeneous contexts, how contexts are thus contextualized, foundations founded, and grounds themselves diversely grounded. When I referred above to a "geographically grounded re-working of poststructuralist theory" I meant, "grounded" in precisely this deconstructive sense: a sense that suggests that the work of describing the graphing of the geo is never done; that a complete geography is, in the rigorous deconstructive sense, (im)possible; and that, as such, it is a reminder of a responsibility to examine other graphings, other geographies, that even avowedly anti-essentialist work may have written out of the geo. This argument about geographical responsibility has a profoundly ethical charge, the far-reaching implications of which can be marked by pulling a more recent Derridean interrogation of temporal dislocation into what is, even now for the philosopher, still a largely unexamined geographical register. "Without this non-contemporaneity with itself of the living present," we might therefore ask with and of Derrida, without this responsibility and this respect for justice concerning those who are not here, of those who are no longer or who are not yet present and living, what sense would there be to ask the question "where?"37 Derrida clearly does ask the question "where?", but then seems immediately to downplay its significance with two anti-historicizing questions -- "where tomorrow?" whither?"38 — that pull the argument back towards an interrogation of the ontologies of a historical materialism. The responsibility of an (im)possible geography, of this "where?", is thus left unfulfilled even by Derrida, the individual, himself. To speak of the responsibility to the multiple and diverse graphings of the geo implicit in geography is not therefore a humanist position that assumes the geographer's or anti-essentialist philosopher's ability to 'choose' responsibility individualistically, nor is it a religious responsibility of moral duty. Instead it invites the careful labour of developing what Spivak geographically glosses as "the freedom to acknowledge insertion into responsibility."3' Who Comes After the Subject? New York: Routledge, 1991, 96 -115. 3 7 Jacques Derrida, Specters of Marx: The State of the Debt, the Work of Mourning, and the New International, translated by Peggy Kamuf, New York: Routledge, 1994, p. xix. The italics are in the original. 38 Ibid., p. xix. 3 9 Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak, Thinking Academic Freedom in Gendered Postcoloniality, -17-GRAPHING THE GEO this entails always asking what difference has been forgotten in the production of those specific truths and positions that have power over decisions in a particular political circumstance." While deconstruction does not, or at least should not therefore be allowed to found a political program itself, it does in this way offer a critical approach to thinking about political limits. By reconceiving of geography as written, as a conventional part of the general social text, it affords a means of subsequently monitoring how aspects of that social textuality are disavowed but yet used in the interests of writing and consolidating particular political geographies. Through these means it service's a general way of maintaining what, to adapt another of Spivak's anti-humanist formulae, is a ceaseless "responsibility to the trace of the other in the [geographical] self."45 This deconstructive persistence in responsibility to the radically heterogeneous becomes political, insofar as it obliges geographic analysis (along with other forms of critique) to be honest about the politics of encapsulating closure. To many critics, though, such a claim may sound absurd when so much of the work done in the name of "deconstruction" seems recklessly irresponsible. When it appears as nothing but an elitist fascination with the aleatory and arcane, a hypocritical mixture of frivolous word-play and aggressive anti-explanation denunciation, deconstruction seems at best irrelevant and at worst utterly destructive of the possibility of a critical geography. However, the often masterful authority of such frivolous flights of fancy can be challenged precisely because it depends upon a vanguardist theoreticism that severs Reconstruction from its own always already embedded geography in politics in the world. This is a theoreticism that therefore avoids what Derrida himself notes as deconstruction's necessary links "to involvement, to responsibility,"46 and which likewise spurns what Spivak calls "the possibility of saying yes to something which interrupts."4' Instead, it allows for an all too uninterrupted abstraction of deconstruction to lofty realms of pure complexity where only the chosen few are said to "really" 4 4 Gregory Jay, "Values and deconstruction: Derrida, Saussure, Marx," Cultural Critique, 8,153 -196, p. 195. 4 5 Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak, The Post-Colonial Critic: Interviews, Strategies, Dialogues, ed. Sarah Harasym, New York: Routledge, 1990, p. 40. 4 6 Jacques Derrida, "Jacques Derrida; in discussion with Christopher Norris," in A Papdakis, Colin Cooke, and Andrew Benjamin, eds., Deconstruction: Omnibus Volume, London: Academy Editions, 1989, 71 - 78, p. 74. 4 7 Spivak, The Post-Colonial Critic, p. 47. -19-GRAPHING THE GEO understand the proper challenge of Derrida's work. Geoffrey Bennington, for example, closes an unabashed diatribe against the recuperating efforts of Marxists with what seems like an arch-recuperation of his own, a defensive gesture to keep deconstruction pure. He proclaims that [t]he very prevalent approach which is prepared to countenance deconstruction only insofar as it might be 'useful' within a previously defined political strategy is already denying itself any real understanding of Derrida's work, the politics of which is much more challenging and complex." To be sure, the frequent attempts made in handbooks to instrumentalize deconstruction and market its 'utility' are problematic. They tend to homogenize Derrida's wide-ranging analyses, reducing them to some simple, 'find the binary and reverse the hierarchy' textual exercise which by operating with an undeconstructed notion of textuality allows critics to go on opposing a writerly deconstruction to what, as a result, becomes seen as an irrecoverably separate 'real world out there' of political practice. But while such risks of methodologization are real enough, there is surely just as much danger of reduction and segregationism to be found in self-serving attempts to pretend deconstruction is not already implicated in fields of critical politics --including critical geography. As another critic, Paul Jay, writes in a valuable article on deconstruction and politics, the risk to be avoided is not deconstruction's appropriation by a politics existing outside of it. The risk to be avoided is the idea that it should — or even can — be protected from such appropriation." In contrast to attempts like Bennington's which seem to be aimed precisely at protecting deconstruction from admitting a political and thus geographic context, the essays of Spivak — politicized writings that represent feminist, Marxist and decolonialist reworkings of deconstruction ~ afford valuable pedagogic models that explicitly mark how deconstruction is always already embedded in a political geography.50 Her work demonstrates how 4 8 Geoffrey Bennington, "Deconstruction and the philosophers (the very idea)," The Oxford Literary Review, 10, 1988, 73 - 130, p. 117. 4 9 Paul Jay, "Bridging the gap: the position of politics in deconstruction," Cultural Critique, 22, 1992,47 - 74, p. 71. 5 0 My reading of Spivak's work's relation to 'political geography' may seem somewhat of a disciplinary strain. However, even she herself has resorted to the phrase in her deconstruction and critique of Salman Rushdie's fiction. She refers to her cultural politics therein as consisting in "assembling a dossier of responses from various subject-positions in contemporary political geography." In Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak, "Reading The Satanic Verses," Public Culture, 2, -20-GRAPHING THE GEO deconstruction can thus serve to widen critique through its persistent introduction of a responsibility to the radically heterogeneous, and, amongst other arguments, she shows how this responsibility sometimes takes shape as geography. One example of Spivak's attention to the graphing of the geo comes in her essay "Subaltern Studies: Deconstructing Historiography," an essay dedicated to examining a series of alternative anti-imperialist histories of India edited by Ranajit Guha." Since these anti-imperialist histories also represent some of the most sophisticated historiographic attempts to negotiate with the nation-state, they return me now to the question of the anemic geography shadowing the historiographic approach to the nation-state. For this reason, I defer my discussion of Spivak's deconstruction to the end of the next section. To begin with, we must trace the geography hidden by historicism back to Europe. 1,1989, 79 - 99, p. 79. 5 1 In Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak, In Other Worlds: Essays in Cultural Politics, New York: Routledge, 1988,197 - 221. - 2 1 -GRAPHING THE GEO The geography that historicism hides Disclosing anemic geography Metaphysics—the white mythology which reassembles and reflects the culture of the West: the white man takes his own mythology, Indo-European mythology, his own logos, that is the mythos of his idiom, for the universal form of that he must still wish to call Reason. Jacques Derrida52 [Paradoxically, and almost by reverse ethnocentrism, Derrida insists that logocentrism is a property of the West. ... My final question ... is plaintive and predictable: what about us? ... The multiple, oppressive, and more than millennial polytheistic tradition of India has to be written out of the Jndo-European picture in order that the difference [in this case between the white masculine West and the rest] may stand. Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak53 To begin an analysis of the geography hidden by historicism with Derrida's discussion of Western metaphysics, may, after all I have said above, seem insufficiently attentive to the grounded graphing of the geo. However, as Robert Young has argued, the philosopher's deconstructions of the centre and margin in "White Mythologies" can be usefully understood as operating "geographically as well as conceptually, articulating the power relationships between the metropolitan and colonial cultures at their geographical peripheries."54 This does not mean, as Spivak makes clear, that his work fully emerges from beneath the geographical penumbra of these relationships. However, he does nonetheless provide a way of questioning the shadowy effect. It is this disembodied and depoliticized effect, a seemingly bloodless abstraction of colorful, conflictual and diverse geographies into some sort of unexamined monotone conceptual space that I am referring to in the terms of anemic geography. There is more than a parallel with historiographic treatments of the nation-state here. Much of this work is informed by the 5 2 Jacques Derrida, "White mythology: metaphor in the text of philosophy," in idem.,Margins of Philosophy, translated by Alan Bass, Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 1982, 207 -27, p. 213. 5 3 The quotations are taken from two different places: Spivak, "Translator's Preface," p. lxxxii, and, idem, In Other Worlds, p. 140. 5 4 Robert Young, White Mythologies: Writing History and the West, New York: Routledge, 1990. -22-GRAPHING THE GEO same Eurocentric dissembling gesture charted by Derrida in philosophy, and thus like the white mythology of western metaphysics is geographically limited. My suggestion ~ partly following Spivak's argument about the ironic recentering of 'the West ' in Derrida's own anti-ethnocentric efforts — are that these limits often extend even into critical studies of the struggles over the nation-state where they are betrayed by their geography. Derrida's specific argument in "White Mythologies" concerns how two fields of interrogation might be linked. On the one hand is the question of European philosophy's relation to metaphor, a question which extended as an inquiry in to the (im)possibility of a properly philosophical metaphorology becomes the central theme of the essay. On the other hand is the question of 'the West' and its relation to the world at large. In both fields there is a pattern of dissembling. 'The West', though it has always been part of a complex global culture, and though it continues to owe so much and is hard-pressed to deny its links with whatever it defines as 'the rest of the world', nevertheless proceeds to do precisely this, erecting a myth of itself as the sovereign centre of history and racistly casting itself as autonomous, uncoloured, as discretely white. Likewise, although all its concepts remain utterly dependent on metaphor, philosophy pretends to a purity, a white-hot immediacy of brilliant thought, which it presents as uncontaminated by the work and clutter of figures and tropes. In the context of the latter argument Derrida's project is not simply to act the court jester, poking fun at the sovereign voice of Reason and revealing its concepts as dressed-up metaphors. This tactic already has its heroes, and Derrida chooses instead to comment on the exchange between such critics and those who remain blindly serious defenders of Reason. Analysing their shared assumptions as well as their differences, he wants "to reinscribe them otherwise."55 To do this the philosopher begins "to identify the historico-problematic terrain on which philosophy systematically has been asked for the metaphorical rubrics of its concepts."56 It is here that the graphing of the geo becomes thematic. Derrida makes his argument by blurring the meaning of the words of Polyphilos in Anatole France's Garden of Epicurus. He is thus able to move from this cynic's claim that the output of philosophy is only a bloodless form "Ibid., p. 215; see also Rudolph Gasche, The Tain'in the Mirror: Derrida and the Philosophy of Reflection, Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1986, pp. 293 ff. 56 Ibid., p. 215. -23-GRAPHING THE GEO of analogy, that it is an 'anemic mythology', to the idea that the concepts of Western Reason have come in part from elsewhere, their non-West, metaphorical past glossed as such as' non-white by a superseding 'white mythology'. Thus, claims Derrida, White mythology-metaphysics has erased within itself the fabulous scene that has produced it, the scene that nevertheless remains active and stirring, inscribed in white ink, an invisible design covered over in the palimpsest." It is here, with this description of "an invisible design covered over in the palimpsest," that Derrida provides a way of problematizing the anemic geography of the "historico problematic terrain" of white mythology and its discontents. In this context,. the philosopher does not pursue directly questions relating to the racialization of 'the West' as such, and/as Spivak argues with respect to his more general argument, he still more problematically treats logocentrism (although not phonocentrism) as "a property of the West." Yet with these limits noted, the notion of a dissembling palimpsest he introduces in this context remains invaluable. Taking this notion of the dissembling of "active and stirring" scenes in a further geographical direction and taking our frame of reference to the nation-state, it is possible to show how geography works as a tell-tale sign of historicism's anemic designs on the theory of the nation-state. Ibid., p. 213. -24-GRAPHING THE GEO The nation-state and the geography of Eurocentrism Just as [the bourgeoisie] has made the country dependent on the towns, so it has made the barbarian and semi-barbarian countries dependent on the civilized ones, nations of peasants on nations of bourgeois, the East on the West.... It has agglomerated population, centralized means of production, and has concentrated property in few hands. The necessary consequence of this was political centralisation. Independent, or loosely connected provinces, with separate interests, laws, governments and systems of taxation, became lumped together into one nation, with one government, one code of laws, one national class-interest, one frontier and one customs-tariff. Karl Marx and Frederick Engels58 From the dubiously dualistic treatments of progressive, 'historical' nationalisms and regressive 'unhistorical' nationalisms in early Marxist proclamations, the historicist attempts to explain the nation in terms of its uneven articulation with the modern capitalist state have been marked by an anemic ambivalence.5' This ambivalence affects most work on the nation-state that employs the basic historicist notion of the developmental continuum outlined by Marx and Engels in the Communist Manifesto, a continuum that was geographically reflected in the lead assumed to be held over the East by the West. More recent theorizing tends to replay the same ambivalence in a supplementary sort of debate in which one side and then the other is stressed and then stressed again. Thus, on the one hand, the nation-state is examined by more state-centric theorists such as Ernest Gellner as a homogenizing, rational hybrid held together by the ability of nations to translate the modern state's reordering of socio-economic life into the teachable terms of a territorialized and secular identity." On the other hand, the nation-state is seen by others such as Tom Nairn as contorted into an 5 8 Karl Marx and Frederick Engels, "Manifesto of the Communist Party," in Marx Engels: Selected Works, Moscow: Progress Publishers, 1968, 31 - 63, p. 39. 5 9 For a varierty of ethnicist and, not unrelated, pragmatic, political reasons, Marx and Engels condemned Slavic nationalism, whereas in the conclusion of the Communist Manifesto they fully supported Polish "national emancipation" which they saw as evolving alongside an agrarian revolution. See ibid., p. 62. Elsewhere, in the Manifesto they famously speak of how communists, when they join the national struggles of proletarians, always "point out and bring to the front the common interests of the entire proletariat, independently of all nationality," ibid., p. 46. For a useful discussion of the developmental character of the national question for Marx and Engels see Ephraim Nimni's discussion of the dualism that resulted from it. He also describes its connection to Marx's "developmental continuum," in idem., "Marx, Engels and the . National Question," Science and Society, 53, 3, 1989, 297-326. 6 0 Ernest Gellner, Nations and Nationalism, Ithaca, N.Y.: Cornell University Press, 1983. -25-GRAPHING THE GEO ambivalent "modern Janus" by premodern national passions; a perspective, therefore, in which nations become viewed as sites, symbols and stimuli for the resurgence of atavistic hankerings about the land." Notwithstanding Gellner's anti-Marxist protestations, both approaches follow the Marxist lead insofar as they seek to historicize the nation-state in relation to the exigencies of capitalist development. However, while for Gellner the nation-state is generally seen to facilitate the transformation of pre-modern 'traditional' economies into fully fledged modern 'political' economies, for others like Nairn, this move into modernity is depicted as only being achieved "by a certain sort of regression."" Supplementing one another, these accounts position the struggle over the nation-state in the simplifying and rdevelopmentalist terms of premodernity versus modernity. As such, they represent an academic version of an ambivalence in the world of popular writing and reporting, an ambivalence that oscillates between stern calls for modernization and democratization via nation-state building and anxious psycho-babble about the return therein of so-called 'repressed', or 'primitive' urges. As David Lloyd has persuasively argued, this form of ambivalence "substantially dehistoricizes nationalism in its multiple varieties and contexts, reducing its complexities to the binary and recurrent form of atavism versus modernity."" As Lloyd also highlights, the ambivalence reflects in turn the interested provinciality of a Western world-view. Such provinciality has meant that these accounts inadequately address how anti-colonial nationalisms have often began as neither struggles for Western style democratization nor as tribalism but rather as struggles to decolonize from imperial systems that presented these very options as the only alternatives. Thus because of both the disavowal of contextual complexity and the metropolitan space of its own theoretical production, this ambivalence of atavism versus modernity in theories of the nation-state represents another form of white mythology. As such it is coeval with an anemic geography, a geography which in turn betrays 6 1 Tom Nairn, The Break-Up of Britain: Crisis and Neo-Nationalism, London: New Left Books, 1977. " Ibid., p. 348. " David Lloyd, "Nationalisms Against the State: Toward a Critique of the Anti-Nationalist Prejudice," in David Palumbo-Liu, ed., The Ethnic Canon: Histories, Institutions and Interventions, Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1995, 256 - 281, p. 272. -26-GRAPHING THE GEO the tensions of covering up such active and stirring scenes as the struggle to . decolonize. I am not denying the considerable explanatory power of these theses when applied to certain Western scenarios, and before I turn to the anemic geography in Gellner's and Nairn's writing, it is important to signal how sophisticated such historiographie palimpsests can be. Concluding his too infrequently cited investigation into the nation-state as the name of a modern . political process, John Breuilly turns to a geographic metaphor. Nationalism is a parasitic movement and ideology, shaped by what it opposes. An identifiable 'private' society which nationalists can identify as a cultural group, and a public state which nationalists can claim in the name of that cultural group, are the necessary conditions for the development of nationalism as a specific and effective form of political practice and ideology.... The state/society distinction provided the map by which nationalists could find their directions. With the ending of the map any route that is taken can, be called nationalist. Anyone can, and does, use some sort of nationalist rhetoric in a world where the nation-state is the basic political unit and where it is difficult to locate cultural groups distinct from the public state. As a consequence nationalism is reduced to mere emotion or pragmatism." This is a clear summary of a lucid thesis: namely that the modern state and its appearance as abstract and separate from society "offers the key to an understanding of nationalism."" However, it needs to be underscored that the cartographic neatness of the conclusion depends on a form of geographical simplification that is in turn covered up by the use of the mapping metaphor. If we bring into consideration the active and stirring scenes of the actual geographical negotiation of nation-states, scenes in which, as I show in this dissertation, real maps are in fact often used to both demarcate and contest national territory, then the seeming separateness of the state from society becomes interpretable as an effect of grounded practices, practices that in fact mean that there is never a solid "distinction" nor an "ending" of its actual geographical mapping." Thus, instead of the " John Breuilly, Nationalism and the State, Manchester: Manchester University Press, 1982, p. 380. 65 Ibid., p. 3. 6 6 To be fair, much of Breuilly's book is filled with detailed examples of such negotiation. However, the question of maps, not to mention the focus on North American geographies in this dissertation, obliges me to note that Breuilly's discussion of Quebec nationalism would have avoided a terribly ironic error had a map been consulted. He instead summarizes his argument about the modern urban character of nationalism by noting how in "Quebec nationalism made -27-GRAPHING THE GEO transcendence of nationalism as a rational state-focused enterprise by nationalism as "mere emotion or pragmatism," we have instead to come to terms with the contextually varied and geographically fraught ongoing negotiation of nation-states as such. Rather than do this, historicists like Gellner and Nairn simply deploy other kinds of anemic geography. The geographical palimpsest at work in Gellner's thesis finally becomes clear in the shape of a supplementary spatial allegory he offers by way of summarizing both his book and the "history of the national principle." He asks us thus to "consider two ethnographic maps, one drawn up before the age of nationalism, and the other after the principle of nationalism had done much of its work."" The first map resembles a painting by Kokoschka. The riot of diverse points of colour is such that no clear pattern can be discerned in any detail, though the picture as a whole does have one. A great diversity and plurality and complexity characterizes all distinct parts of the whole: the minute social groups, which are the atoms of which the painting is composed, have complex and ambiguous and multiple relations to many cultures; some- through speech, others through their dominant faith, another still through a variant faith or set of practices, a fourth through administrative loyalty and so forth. When it comes to painting the political system, the complexity is not less great than in the sphere of culture. Obedience for one purpose and in one context is not necessarily the same as obedience for some other end or some other season. Look now instead at the ethnographic and political map of an area of the modern world. It resembles not Kokoschka, but, say, Modigliani. There is very little shading; neat flat surfaces are clearly separated from each other, it is generally plain where one begins and another ends, and there is little if any ambiguity or overlap. Shifting from the map to the reality mapped, we see that an overwhelming part of political authority has been concentrated in the hands of one kind of institution, a reasonably large and well-centralized state. In general, each such state presides over, maintains and is identified with, one kind of culture, one style of communication, which prevails within its borders and is dependent for its perpetuation on a centralized educational system supervized by and often actually run by the state in question, which monopolizes legitimate few inroads among a traditional Catholic farming population prior to 1945. It has been in rapidly growing cities like Toronto that separatism has developed fastest," p. 291. Toronto is in Ontario, the predominantly English speaking Canadian province, where in a sign of the geographical negotiations that have filled the fourteen years after Breuilly published this mistake, the calls for separatism come from those who prefix their identification with Canadian space with the word 'English.' 6 7 Gellner, Nations and Nationalism, p. 139. -28-G R A P H I N G T H E G E O culture almost as much as it does legitimate violence, or perhaps more so." It is worth quoting Gellner at length because his mapping metaphor summary presumes complete comprehensiveness. However, in the fashion of all spatial metaphors, there is a way in which these supposed ethnographic maps abstract far too fast from the actual geography they purport to summarize. The metaphorical movement immediately decontextualizes the discussion from reference to any recognizable geography, and thus simultaneously does the job of globalizing the descriptive reach of the argument. This is problematic, because while the transition between the two metaphorical maps might well capture a certain European result of modernization, they miss the dynamic, fraught and contextually varied re-graphing of this geo, not to mention the vast diversity of geographies of post-colonial nation-states around the rest of the world. Elsewhere in the book, one strains to find a more processual and contextualized account of the conjunction between the rise of the nation-state and the processes of uneven spatial development under capitalism, but there is a dearth of such analysis. Instead, Gellner sociologizes nationalism as a predictable result of the ideas, rationality and socio-functional needs of industrializing society. In this sense at least, the summary progression preferred in the move from one mapping to the next is a good one. It reflects how Gellner systematically explains the rise of the nation-state in terms of the diffusion of 'historical principles' and other such idealized objects of explanation. These in turn enable him to reduce the processes of historical-geographic negotiation to something as metaphysical and geographically abstract as the lines in a painting of a European modernist. This particular anemic geography not only glosses the diverse active and stirring scenes of geographical negotiation. Along the way, it charts a normative Eurocentric progression that has the useful ideological result of allowing a metropolitan liberal such as Gellner himself to escape with suggesting that the nationalisms of Third World independence struggles may simply represent over-hasty attempts to impose modern ideological forms on pre-industrialized societies. In contrast to Gellner, Nairn sets out in the announced name of Marxism to explain the nation-state precisely in terms of capitalism's uneven Ibid., p. 140. -29-GRAPHING THE GEO development. This at least provokes an attempt on his part to theorize how exactly the nation-state became the globally hegemonic form of political organization it has become through the course of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Ultimately,. though, his approach is almost as idealized and Eurocentric as Gellner's, and again, the anemic metaphysics is reflected in an anemic geography. "It is unnecessary here to explore the process in detail," Nairn opines, summarizing a basically identity/ideology-based explanation of how the "new middle class intelligentsia had to invite the masses into history" by writing the invitation in a language these so-called masses could understand. Everyone is familiar with its outline, and with much of its content. We all know how it spread from its West-European source, in concentric circles of upheaval and reaction: through Central and Eastern Europe, Latin America, and then across the other continents. Uniformed imperialism of the 1880-1945 variety was one episode in this larger history, as were its derivatives, anti-colonial wars and 'decolonization'. We have , all studied the phenomena so consistently accompanying it: the 'rediscovery' or invention of national history, urban intellectuals invoking peasant virtues which they have experienced only through train windows on their summer holidays, schoolmasters painfully acquiring national tongues spoken only in remote valleys, the infinity of forms assumed by the battle between the scathing cosmopolitan modernists and emotional defenders of the Folk ... and so on." Quite apart from the dangers of invoking such formulae as 'we all know' and 'everyone is familiar with' in academic critique, it is the particularly anemic geography of the "concentric circles of upheaval and reaction" that immediately concerns me. The actual historical geographical production of nation-states is again effaced here, abstracted instead into a geometrical palimpsest of diffusion from Europe. It is this diffusion primarily of ideas and inventive principles that preoccupies Nairn the most. He thus pictures the global diffusion of the nation-state out from Western Europe as a fundamentally imitative and identitarian phenomenon. As the Marxist geographer James Blaut has argued, this clearly shaky argument is what the anemic geometry of diffusionism has to hold together.70 Damning Nairn 6 9 Nairn, The Break-Up of Britain, p. 340. 7 0 In "Diffusionism and the National Question," chapter three of James M . Blaut, The National Question: Decolonizing the Theory of Nationalism, London: Zed Press, 1987. -30-GRAPHING THE GEO with his own most commonly repeated anemic formulae, Blaut critically summarizes the geometry thus: Coincident with what Nairn calls 'the tidal wave of modernization,' 'transmitted outwards and onwards' in 'concentric circles', there spread also the idea of irmtating the~ Western European nation state, an idea which, translated into practice, became national movements and nationalism.71 Blaut's critique of this type of diffusionist geography is relentlessly convincing (although his own alternative thesis "that national struggle is indeed class struggle"" needs to be broadened in many ways). Notably too, his related arguments against "the peculiar 'geometry' of world processes" in Giovanni Arrighi's quasi-Kantian conception of absolute spatial forces and the crisis of the nation-state further illustrate the extent and variety of such anemic geography.73 However, it is the way in which as a geographer he also tracks the same diffusionist assumptions and failings in the work of Hobsbawm that interests me most. If in the work of Gellner and Nairn the Eurocentric white mythology about the diffusion of the nation-state is betrayed by certain supplementary sorts of metaphorical anemic geography, Blaut shows that in Hobsbawm's output a historicizing palimpsest dissembles the diverse graphing of the national geo through more unstated geographical simplifications. To be sure, the historian prefers the geographically grounded conception of the 'nation-state' to the abstractions of nation, nationalism and state, and he is most intently focused on the political-economic aspect of the nation-state as such. Nevertheless, in his own critique of Nairn, Hobsbawm still makes somewhat imitative/diffusionist statements distinguishing between supposedly 'rational' and 'viable' nineteenth century European nation-state developments, and the supposedly 'irrational' and 'unviable' twentieth century imitations outside of Europe. The latter he criticizes as leading to the "Balkanization of the world of states,"74 and, elsewhere he has waxed still more dismissive. Recent nationalisms have been, he says, "essentially negative, or rather divisive.... [They are mostly] rejections of modern modes of political organization both national and supranational. Time and again 71 Ibid., p. 81. 72 Ibid., p. 24. 73 Ibid., p. 44. 7 4 Eric Hobsbawm, "Some Reflections on 'The Break-up of Britain'," New Left Review, 105, 1977,1 - 27, pp. 6-7. -31 -GRAPHING THE GEO they seem to be reactions of weakness and fear, attempts to erect barriers to keep at bay the forces of the modern world."75 Hobsbawm's dismissiveness hinges in turn on what is perhaps the core of his historicising distinction. Twentieth century struggles for nation-statehood, he suggests, are out of spatial synchronization with the times of transnational capitalism.7' In these times nation-states are left relatively powerless in relation to large transnational corporations, and thus, Hobsbawm argues, claims to independence become little but masks for ongoing neocolonial dependence. Certainly, the twentieth century neocolonial curtailment of post-colonial independence needs to be directly acknowledged, but, as Blaut points out, Hobsbawm makes huge simplifications of historical geography in order to preserve his historicizing distinction with the nineteenth century development of the nation-state in Europe. Much of that development was equally small and 'unviable' if we hold it to the same curiously abstract spatial standards, and, in any event, if European nation-states did prove 'viable' it was just as much a result of the super-exploitative relations they held with far-flung empires than because of any simple economic coherence they might have had as supposedly solidified spatial units. Moreover, in turning to the twentieth century, Blaut notes that Hobsbawm's spatial argument (about the transnational economy dissolving the geographical basis of national political economies) has the unfortunate result of hiding the active and stirring and very geographically vibrant scenes of anti-colonial resistance. "[I]f we look at decolonization as a single process in history and geography," Blaut retorts, "it is clear that the main dynamic in that process was, and is — let us not forget Puerto Rico and all the other remaining colonies — the resistance of the colonized peoples."77 Blaut's geographical critique of what I am calling Hobsbawm's anemic geography has not received the notice it deserves, and it is therefore perhaps no great surprise that in Hobsbawm's more recent book on the twentieth century the general argument remains intact. While he again historicizes the finitude of the modern nation-state, and while he does so in great, sometimes autobiographical detail, he leaves its geography relatively unexamined. However, otherwise effusively eager reviews have at least begun to note the 7 5 Hobsbawm, Nations and Nationalism, p. 164. 7 6 Hobsbawm, "Some Reflections," pp. 7 -8. 7 7 Blaut, The National Question, p. 115, my emphasis. -32-GRAPHING THE GEO inadequacy. Goran Therborn complains thus that "spatial relations do not usually figure very prominently in Hobsbawm's huge repertoire/'78 and Said, in a generally sympathetic reading, points again to the tendentious treatment of non-Western nation-states and struggles that follows in the wake of this same historicism.79 I quote here at length from Said's description of this historicist palimpsest and the non-Western geography it obscures. For most of the time here [Hobsbawm] is so measured, responsible, serious that the few disputable judgments and questionable facts that turn up in the book seem disproportionately unsettling. Most of them occur in discussions either of the arts or of non-European politics: that is in areas which he seems to think are mainly derivative and hence inherently less interesting than in the altogether (to him) more important realms of Western politics and economics. At one point he says with quite unmodulated certainty that 'the dynamics of the great part of the world's history in the Short Twentieth Century are derived, not original.' He clarifies this by saying something pretty vague about 'the elites of non-bourgeois societies imitating 'the model pioneered in the West.' The trouble with this, as non-Western historians like the Subaltern Studies group (an influential collective of Indian historians headed by Ranajit Guha, which has been dedicated to the idea that Indian history must be written from the perspective of the real history makers: the urban masses and the rural poor, not the nationalist elite) have tried to show, is that it leaves out huge gobs of non-elite historical experience which have their own, non-derivative integrity.80 What Said refers to here with blasting irreverence as "huge gobs of non-elite historical experience" also includes, of course, the equally huge gobs of geographical experience in negotiating the independence of post-colonial nation-states. How then do the Subaltern Studies historians celebrated by Said themselves negotiate with this geography hidden by historicism? 7 8 Goran Therborn, "The Autobiography of the Tweniteth Century," New Left Review, 127, 1996, 81 - 90. 7 9 Edward Said, Contra Mundum, London Review of Books, 9 March, 1995, 22 -23. 80 Ibid., pp. 22-3 -33-GRAPHING THE GEO The nation-state and the geography of deconstructing diffusionism A different discourse, yet one that is dominated by another: that is my hypothesis about nationalist thought. Partha Chatterjee81 In response to the European historiographic tradition and in answer to the question asked by the title of his book — A Derivative Discourse? — this is how Chatterjee, one of the most widely published of the Subaltern Studies historians, responds. He acknowledges that the construction and, even, imagination of a post-colonial nation-state such as India, also represented a negotiation with the metaphysics of European Reason — amongst them the metaphysics of the state -- exported to the rest of the world by the globalizing force of capitalism. But he also argues that far from being simply a 'derivative discourse', the 'different discourse' of non-metropolitan nationalism represented the site of a struggle, a negotiation with the structures of violence implicit in the normative force of Western metaphysics. The ultimate and unhappy result of this domination, he argues, was the "absorbing of the political life of the nation into the body of the state."82 But along the way, Chatterjee joins with his Subaltern Studies colleagues in arguing that this did not happen without a long, complicated and diversely organized struggle on the geographical ground, a struggle waged by the many subaltern groups whose efforts are more normally expunged from the records of both imperial and elite nationalist historiography. I highlight the work of Chatterjee in particular because of how he renders explicit the implications of this critique of historicism for the traditions of historiographic scholarship in the West. Most notably, Chatterjee prefaces his own study of the three phases of Indian nationalism with a critique not just of Gellner, but of the Marxist anthropologist Anderson as well. This is notable in part because of the extreme popularity of Anderson's work but, more particularly, because of the anthropologist's studied attempts to come to terms with nationalism in south-east Asia. Chatterjee notes that Anderson's historicization of three 'models' of nationalism is by no means limited to Europe. As well as the model of European "linguistic nationalism," Anderson identifies what he calls the 8 1 Partha Chatterjee, Nationalist Thought and the Colonial World: A Derivative Discourse ? London: Zed Press, 1986, p. 42. 82 Ibid., p. 168. - 3 4 -GRAPHING THE GEO "creole nationalism" of the Americas and the "official nationalism" typified by Russia. The problem with this list of eighteenth and nineteenth century models is that he proceeds to suggest that twentieth century nationalisms — in places like India — can be viewed as so many "modular" reworkings of the original trinity. Even this might seem a valuable way of coming to terms with the ideological variety of the nationalisms convened in the modern nation-state, but as Chatterjee argues, Anderson tells this story of modular nationalisms "without noticing the suppressed possibilities, the contradictions still unresolved."83 Not incidentally to my argument about anemic geography, Chatterjee points out that Anderson partly secures his story of modular nationalism with a geographical generalization about how the colonial state was reimagined as a "national state." It was, says Anderson, "a transformation made possible not only by the solid continuity of personnel, but by the established skein of journeys through which each state was experienced by its functionaries."84 Anderson argues that by traveling to the European metropole and returning home these functionaries could re-imagine, that same home space because of the new perspective afforded by the geographical skein of imperial traveling. However, as he acknowledges in an autocritical . introduction to a new chapter in the second edition of his book, all this rested on what he calls "[m]y short-sighted assumption ... that official nationalism in the colonized worlds of Asia and Africa was modeled directly on that of the dynastic states of nineteenth-century Europe."85 He goes on: Subsequent reflection has persuaded me that this view was hasty and superficial, and that the immediate genealogy should be traced to the imaginings of the colonial state.86 Notable in his new discussion of these colonial imaginings, Anderson proceeds to elaborate the contribution of mapping to the nationalist imagination and, therein, the "eventual logoization of political space."87 However, even as he acknowledges this substantial geographical renegotiation of the post-colonial nation-state, Anderson still, neglects what the Subaltern Studies historians have investigated as "the suppressed 83 Ibid., p. 22. 8 4 Anderson, Imagined Communities, p. 105 85 Ibid., p. 163. 86 Ibid., p. 163. 87 Ibid., p. xiv. - 3 5 -GRAPHING THE GEO possibilities, the contradictions still unresolved" evident in the diffuse territorialization of subaltern insurgency. Before the eventual logoization of political space that Anderson speaks of and which Chatterjee himself illustrates in his critique of Nehru the modernizer, the subalterns — a name for all those pushed to the margins of the new space of community — recorded by the Subaltern Studies collective were diversely negotiating the structures of imperial violence on the ground. In his discussion of the struggle of the peasant movement in Awadh, for example, Gyan Pandey illustrates just how large a gap there was between the post-hoc imagination of. Indian community and the specific geography of the peasant insurgency in Awadh.8 8 Summarizing the implications of such empirical displacement of nationalist myth, Chatterjee argues that the whole nationalist project in India represented the careful containment-cura-redirection of just such grounded energies. Far from simple derivation, the result represented a nationalist project built out of diffuse local imaginings and actions but dominated in its redirection by the normative rationality of the state bequeathed by empire. The ultimately co-optive and capitalistic result, Chatterjee concludes, was and is that "the national state now proceeds to find for 'the nation' a place in the global order of capital."