chapter  9
25 Pages

Struggles for place

In the last chapter we looked at how places are implicated in power relatio ns, with the exercise of power by some groups over others shap ing the way in which individuals interact wi th their surroundings in some obvious (and not so o bvious) ways. We saw tha t the design, organization and use of specific places may be involved in persuading people to act in accordance with certain expectations of wha t is considered 'good and proper'. Taken together, such a perspective on the relations of place and power might appear to imply that geography is 'carved out' by the rich and the powerful, who occupy places of distinction and prestige while frequently relegating marginalized groups (and behaviours) to areas typified by disinvestment and decay (Sibley, 1995). This assumption is to some extent mirrored in the idea that there is a dominant moral geography of who (and what) fits into certa in places (and not others). But the way that this occurs is not as stra ightforward as it might first appear; as we saw in the last chapter, it is not simply the case that power is wielded in a downwards direction by those in 'authori ty'. Indeed, while the sta te and law may act together to lay down norms and expectations of what it means to be a good citizen, these expectations are enacted and maintained as much through selfregulation as throu gh the policing and surveillance carrie d out by agencies of the state.