Another message based on territorial control and how boundaries are managed, sometimes by law and regulations, sometimes by negotiations between potential insiders and outsiders. Although the definition of a territorial boundary may not always involve a final agreement by all parts involved, there is a mutual recognition about the portion of the space being on dispute, and the possibilities for border and boundary interpretations. It’s a power struggle, so a dispute might go on for years and years without a consensus (see the cases of nation-states and disputes like the one between North and South Korea, Spain and Catalonia or the Basque Country, and so on).
Obviously, territorial control is not only about nation-states and disputes involving spatial jurisdiction and boundaries definition can happen in many different scales. In the article that served as an inspiration for today’s message, “The S.U.V. model of citizenship: floating bubbles, buffer zones, and the rise of the “purely atomic” individual”, Don Mitchell explains how much blurriness and confusion can exist when we try to understand these kinds of controversy. On his analysis of the relationship between territory and citizenship, Don starts with the case of a court ruling in the US which defined spatial buffers and bubbles around health clinics and people, respectively, in order to avoid forms of protests that include person to person interaction. Don explains that:
“The law creates two kinds of bubbles. First, it establishes a one-hundred-foot radius buffer zone around health clinic entrances. Second, within that buffer zone, it establishes an eight-foot floating bubble around each person who enters, a bubble that cannot be pierced for the purposes of politically charged conversation, leafleting, “education,” and so forth.”
This is a very interesting idea to explain some socio-spatial experiences and also resonates Sloterdijk’s theory that uses the metaphor of spheres and foams to engage in the debate of securitised spaces, fear and paranoia.