Review: Ana Ma Manzanas and Jesús Benito, Occupying Space in American Literature and Culture: Static Heroes, Social Movements and Empowerment.

John Laurence Dunn

Abstract


Occupying Space in American Literature and Culture seeks to furnish contemporary American with the conceptual spatial paradigms described by the great theorists of the social structures of the everyday, Henri Lefebvre and Michel De Certeau. It does this with an eye on Jacques Ranciere’s more recent conclusion that politics is “best understood” in spatial and relational parameters, because “everything in politics turns on the distribution of space. What are these places? How do they function?,” and crucially for this volume, “Who can occupy them?”[p.5] These continental cornerstones are augmented by the work of British theorist Doreen Massey, from whom Manzanas and Benito borrow a formal analysis of dynamic spatial relations for a social geography of “the other” that is thoroughly narratological.

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