Horizontal Fix

The idea of nonlocal biopolitics seems reasonable as a provocative means to influence the attitudes toward globalization and especially its neoliberal features. It functions as a warning for the direction that the humanity as a whole has taken. However, nonlocalism also seems to rise from the type of thinking that connects spatiality with traditional or early modern territorial practices of power. The spatial is then attached to the organizational dynamics of the past, expressing an attitude that clearly ignores the radical potentiality and process type openness inherent in sociospatial approaches. The strict division between the past and the present, which is an attractive option in post prefixed thinking, easily guides us toward this type of historical selection.

This setting helps us to understand the doubts some geographers have cast on the so called horizontal fix in biopolitical thinking. Horizontal fix refers in this context to a kind of sociospatial inaccuracy that comes from an exclusive focusing on the ruptures and incoherence in the debate on social change. This emphasis carries the risk of overlooking the multiple human co associations in space and time. The problem emerges, for example, when temporal and spatial are separated by defining the latter as a characteristic of the past. The ignoring of the constant becoming of space is then unavoidable. This results in a lack of sensitivity to emerging new initiatives from different corners of society. The affirmative option of co construction is lost under the pressure of endless deconstruction, fueled by an emphasis on fragmentation and dislocation. The language of disruption governs the debate and at worst results in textual overplaying. Instead of co constructing arguments for societal renewal and resistance, one remains imprisoned by the idea of decomposing the new initiatives presented.

If we thus accept that the power of the multitude can constantly emerge in and through multiple sociospatial formations, we can recognize the critical and creative potentials of active relocation under and against the general pressure of displacement. Place can then take a shape as a location of personal or collective denial or it can turn into a moment of selective participation. It can also grow into a core of symbolic fights or a specific motive for political meetings. It might for example appear as a context of globalization critique.

The value of place is now connected to the understanding of the spatial as an inseparable part of both general and particular social changes. Places are seen as collections of sociospatial trajectories and spatiotemporal events. The contested co formation of private and public spaces, combined by a proactive stance in building personal and collective coping strategies, is now the founding forum and event of biopolitical critique. This is the place of the political multitude. The politics of place become associated with the conditions and settings where people and their stories meet and it also covers the processes these meetings co produce. Places turn into sites where the lines between the private and the public are repeatedly met and put under question. The politics of place emerge wherever the concern about the conditions of participation, representation, exclusion, and indifference is presented. It is the place of the everyday – linked to the rest of the world.

We locate ourselves whenever we make choices, both small and big, in the practices of our daily lives. Placing is then reactive or proactive and relocation takes place wherever we identify alternatives under the pressure of the dominating order – in the junctions of the occasional and the dependent. The power of the multitude surfaces both in chaotic combinations and also through individual and collective choices or initiatives.

Spatially sensitive biopolitical research thus pays attention to the activity, and also to the passivity, of individuals and their communities amidst social changes. The changes in the everyday practices and routines are not regarded as a direct outcome of social reorganization introduced as general necessities, but as sociospatial dynamics modified by choices in the intimate sphere of the communities themselves.