Christopher Harker – The politics of verticality revisited



Event date: 8 December 2010
Bedford Square London
WC1E 6DP

Royal Holloway University of London Department of Geography

Vertical Geographies


Recent geographical scholarship has highlighted the importance of ‘verticality’ – aerial and three dimensional perspectives – in conceptualizations of space, territory, sovereignty and power. Within the subdiscipline of critical geopolitics, this interest has been, in part, provoked by recent events in Iraq and Afghanistan and mobilized though broader discussions of warfare, surveillance, air (and space) power, communications technologies and military hardware.

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Christopher Harker (Durham University) – The politics of verticality revisited

Weizmans politics of verticality has been key to understanding a whole series of geographies through which the Israeli Occupation assemblage works. In this paper I want to move beyond this analysis to explore some Palestinian politics of verticality, and how they might interact with the political spatial forms Weizman maps out. I examine recent shifts from horizontal to vertical living  in Ramallah, and particularly the moves made by recent migrants to Ramallah from horizontal family houses in their places of origin to the vertical apartment buildings that have been built in Ramallah in the last fifteen years. While there are many consequences of this shifting topology of everyday life, I focus on changing intimacies to open up the ways in which social relations also  become wrapped up in changing topographies. I argue that there are as many politics of verticality as there are verticals, and that it is always necessary to think verticals in relation to horizontals and  vice versa, or in other words articulate relational topographies.

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