chapter  4
Systematizing Space: ‘Natures’, ‘Cultures’ and Protected Areas
Pages 30

Colonial space, as shown in Chapter 3, was the production of spatial cultures. I have been looking up until now at a wide range of the practices that achieved this, and in historical perspective. It is important now to closely examine particular manifestations of the production of systematic and hierarchised geographies, to look at how they work but also at what work they do in continuing dispossessory activities. One critical systematic geography of hierarchy that I have already begun to touch on in Chapter 3 is the separation of natural space – the ultimate ‘commons’ in Lockean theory – and the cultural space of ‘improved’ place. This is the ‘space that sorts’ Lefebvre identifies (1991, 375 original italics). Such a systematization is exemplified in protected area management, where spaces are classified according to their overarching value, and the extent to which modern, human effects are inscribed in the landscape. That systematization produces two poles around and between which space is structured and hierarchised: utility and the picturesque or sublime. In this chapter, I will explore how this contemporary hierarchisation of space, via the modes of spatial cultures, has particular implications for (post)colonial politics and Indigenous peoples.