The Public Sphere
1. Read the short excerpt on “Spaces” and “Places” found below.
Michel de Certeau. 1984 â€œChapter 10: Spatial Stories,â€ The Practice of
“Spaces” and “Places”
At the outset, I shall make a distinction between space (espace) and place (lieu) that delimits a field. A place (lieu) is the order (of whatever kind) in accord with which elements are distributed in relationships of coexistence. It thus excludes the possibility of two things being in the same location (place). The law of the “proper” rules in the place: the elements taken into consideration are beside one another, each situated in its own “proper” and distinct location, a location it defines. A place is thus an instantaneous configuration of positions. It implies an indication of stability.
A space exists when one takes into consideration vectors of direction, velocities, and time variables. Thus space is composed of intersections of mobile elements. It is in a sense actuated by the ensemble of movements deployed within it. Space occurs as the effect produced by the operations that orient it, situate it, temporalize it, and make it function in a polyvalent unity of conflictual programs or contractual proximities. On this view, in relation to place, space is like the word when it is spoken, that is, when it is caught in the ambiguity of an actualization, trans-formed into a term dependent upon many different conventions, situated as the act of a present (or of a time), and modified by the transformations caused by successive contexts. In contradistinction to the place, it has thus none of the univocity or stability of a “proper.”
In short, space is a practiced place. Thus the street geometrically defined by urban planning is transformed into a space by walkers. In the same way, an act of reading is the space produced by the practice of a particular place: a written text, i.e., a place constituted by a system of signs. (117)
Now that you know the difference between space and place, consider that definition in relationship to the concept of habitus.
After reading this summary of the key concepts associated with the habitus,
view the documentary below. After completing the viewing, answer the questions listed below the video.
VIEW: The Room of Silence
Answer these questions:
1. The room of silence documentary builds its narrative by making connections between the activities in social spaces and issues associated with diversity, equity, and inclusion. Keeping in mind the way we analyzed commercials, what did you think about the way the documentary was constructed? In what way was it successful or unsuccessful? What was the message of the video? Do you agree or disagree with it? Please explain.
2.According to Bourdieu, “‘misrecognition’ is more of a cultural than ideological phenomenon, because it embodies a set of active social processes that anchor taken-for-granted assumptions into the realm of social life and crucially, they are born in the midst of culture.”
a) What are the active social processes being discussed in this video?
b) Which issues are being identified as assumptions?
c) What is your opinion about the topic being discussed?
3. With these observations in mind, conduct your own observational research concerning the spaces, places, interactions, and assumptions shaping the Otis experience. Write up your observations, you can include sketches, photos, etc, if you like.