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Journal Article


Hussey G. Distinktion 2018; 19(3): 306-327.


(Copyright © 2018, Informa - Taylor and Francis Group)






This article is a theoretically motivated and empirically informed study of the space-claiming practices of a group of Irish peasant rebels, 'the Threshers'. In the early-nineteenth century, the Threshers mobilized to contest, often violently, practices and logics that were afoot in the Irish countryside, practices which were dislocating the rural poor's mode of life and livelihood. The contribution of this article is that by invoking the theoretical work of Ernesto Laclau, amongst others, it advances practices of territoriality, that is, space-claiming practices, as political logics. Political logics are the moments in which configurations of the social are instituted, upheld, or contested. Territorial practices are then those that spatially instantiate, or contest, imaginaries of the social/space. The account of space and territoriality vis-à-vis violence developed here helps to render more intelligible the imbrications of violence, space, and 'the Political'. Theoretically, examining the Threshers' practices of space-claiming enables a move away from the 'originary' violence of radical negativity that is implicated in the articulation of antagonistically constituted imaginaries of the social to situated practices of concrete violence by interrogating moments when such frontiers are spatially inscribed. That is, the violence implicated in the spatialization of the political comes into view. The Threshers' resistance, along with revealing concrete practices of violence entailed in the enacting of their vision of the local space, also demonstrates how in contested space the contingency of the social is continually reactivated, casting a productive light on how space in such sites of struggle may be antagonistically reproduced.

Language: en


antagonism; Ernesto Laclau; resistance; space; territoriality; the political; violence


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