[Air-l] RE: [Air-l] Re: first post (An Internet without Space)  

Paul Bevan ppb98 at aber.ac.uk
Wed Feb 4 01:25:00 PST 2004

-----Original Message-----
Thanks to Ben and other colleagues for the developing citations. I have read
Harrison and Dourish’s “Re-Place-ing Space: The Roles of Place and Space in
Collaborative Systems” as well as other works. I believe that place is not a
better term than space. As Dourish suggests, “places largely exist within
spaces.” There may also be reasons to be concerned about the idea that:
“Physically, a place is a space which is invested with understandings of
behavioural appropriateness, cultural expectations, and so forth.” I would
be concerned that to theorize the Internet or particular technologically
mediated settings as “places” is to suggest that they are geographically
situated and to relate a variety of practices, conflicting desires, and
diverse users to a singular culture or experience.


I don't think the conceptualisation of cyber/Internet places necessarily
requires this kind of singularity. In fact, I think it's pretty much
accepted that there are (infinite?) subjective multiple readings of any
place - be they on or offline. Internet/Cyber places *are* situated in terms
of human geographies and the physical geographies of infrastructure. In
terms of cultural singularity - all places are sites of different forms of
power and resistance, on or offline. Just as the Troll, virus writer,
cracker etc resists the bounding of their cyberspace so graffiti artists,
skate boarders and protestors resist in offline space. I'm not trying to
explore (and be limited by) metaphors here - just pointing out paralells.

If you haven't already, you might be interested in engaging some of these
references for a different reading of space and place:

Yi-Fu Tuan, Space and Place: The Perspective of Experience, University of
Minnesota Press, 1990 
Ed Casey, The Fate of Place: A Philosophical History, University of
California, 1996
Tim Cresswell, In Place/Out of Place: Geography, Ideology and Transgression,
University of Minnesota Press, 1996

As well as Edward Soja's Thirdspace trilogy (The City, Thirdspace,


More information about the Air-L mailing list