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In Sight, Out of View: A Tale of Three Monuments

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Abstract:

Three monuments in Vancouver, British Columbia, located closely in time and geography and all concerning violence, were created not by one, but rather by three separate groups of advocates. Given that in each case the advocates were drawn from the socially marginalized, it would seem logical that the groups would have had to work together to accomplish something as complex as gaining access to public space with the permanence of monuments. But instead, a close examination of the development and uses of these three monuments reveals the profundity of several mechanisms of social distance. Those noted here include (a) the intransigence of structures of social exclusion, (b) the dispossession caused by the legacy of colonialism, and (c) the nature of trauma. In this essay, I argue that these mechanisms each created specific dynamics that amplified, rather than reduced, barriers between the three groups of advocates. Following an introduction to the Vancouver neighbourhood and each monument, I detail how each mechanism worked to show that what is in sight may nevertheless be out of view.

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.0066-4812.2006.00564.x

Affiliations: Department of Geography, Simon Fraser University, Burnaby, British Columbia, Canada;, Email: alburk@sfu.ca

Publication date: January 1, 2006

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