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THE POLITICS OF KNOWING: SPATIAL ISOLATION, DISCONNECTION AND SOCIAL WITHDRAWAL

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Abstract:

ABSTRACT.

Overarching connectivity, technologically mediated co-presence and the flow of social association have become taken-for-granted features in the central narratives used to characterize our contemporary condition. Yet the pervasiveness of such perspectives risks theoretical hubris; there is a need to codify suitable antidotes that reflect on the relative limitations of such positions. This article provides the opening discussion for this special issue on socio-spatial formations of isolation and disconnection. It is argued that to render visible those spaces and populations often ignored become important theoretical, empirical and political projects because of the way that assumptions about the extension of networks has tended to amplify the marginalization of those not attached to them. A consideration of disparate examples, including loneliness, electronic isolation and purposive concealment, guide us perhaps to a less strident and more finely graded account of the fuller range of human experience and myriad contexts in which it occurs.

Keywords: disconnection; globalization; isolation; networks; solitude

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1468-0467.2009.00323.x

Affiliations: Department of Sociology, University of York, York, United Kingdom., Email: ra530@york.ac.uk

Publication date: December 1, 2009

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