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In Place/Out of Place

Geography, Ideology, and Transgression

1996
Author:

Tim Cresswell

In Place/Out of Place

Argues that space and place are key factors in the definition of both deviance and propriety.

In Place/Out of Place seeks to illustrate the ways in which the idea of geographical deviance is used as an ideological tool to maintain an established order. Cresswell looks at graffiti in New York City, the attempts by various “hippie” groups to hold a free festival at Stonehenge during the summer solstices of 1984-86, and the Greenham Common Women’s Peace Camp in Berkshire, England.

This is an interesting and well-written study, combining an exploration of several key ideas in contemporary social theory-concerning transgression, ideology, space and plac

with three

What is the relationship between place and behavior? In this fascinating volume, Tim Cresswell examines this question via “transgressive acts” that are judged as inappropriate not only because they are committed by marginalized groups but also because of where they occur.

In Place/Out of Place seeks to illustrate the ways in which the idea of geographical deviance is used as an ideological tool to maintain an established order. Cresswell looks at graffiti in New York City, the attempts by various “hippie” groups to hold a free festival at Stonehenge during the summer solstices of 1984-86, and the Greenham Common Women’s Peace Camp in Berkshire, England. In each of the cases described, the groups involved were designated as out of place both by the media and by politicians, whose descriptions included an array of images such as dirt, disease, madness, and foreignness.

Cresswell argues that space and place are key factors in the definition of deviance and, conversely, that space and place are used to construct notions of order and propriety. In addition, whereas ideological concepts being expressed about what is good, just, and appropriate often are delineated geographically, the transgression of these delineations reveals the normally hidden relationships between place and ideology-in other words, the “out-of-place” serves to highlight and define the “in-place.” By looking at the transgressions of the marginalized, Cresswell argues, we can gain a novel perspective on the “normal” and “taken-for-granted” expectations of everyday life. The book concludes with a consideration of the possibility of a “politics of transgression,” arguing for a link between the challenging of spatial boundaries and the possibility of social transformation.

Tim Cresswell is currently lecturer in geography at the University of Wales in Lampeter, United Kingdom.

In Place/Out of Place

Tim Cresswell is a human geographer at the Department of Geography, Royal Holloway, University of London. He is the author of four books on the role of space and mobility in cultural life.

In Place/Out of Place

This is an interesting and well-written study, combining an exploration of several key ideas in contemporary social theory-concerning transgression, ideology, space and plac

with three

“Through a close reading of that which is considered to be ‘out of place’ in our society, Cresswell casts a brilliant light on the role of space and place in the practices of everyday life and the maintenance of ideological belief. From his choice of data to his mode of analysis, Cresswell, more than any other writer today, reminds one of the late Erving Goffman. This is new cultural geography at its best.” James S. Duncan, Syracuse University

“Cresswell has provided an intriguing set of ideas for thinking through how relations of power are established in and through place, and for how the spaces of economy and society are produced and maintained. . . . deserves a wide readership in any field seeking to understand the role of space in social life.” Don Mitchell, University of Colorado, Boulder

“Once in a great while, a book comes along that is theoretically sophisticated, highly original, analytically compelling, and a pleasure to read. This is one such book. Drawing on a range of contemporary literary and social theorists as well as three case studies, Tim Cresswell persuasively demonstrates that the ideologies that define appropriate and inappropriate behavior are innately geographical. This book will undoubtedly become a classic.” Annals of the AAG

“This is a well-written and interesting book. It tackles the relationship between place and behavior in a thought-provoking manner, drawing together ideas from social theory and blending them well with those emerging from new cultural geography. For those interested in the landscapes of power and exclusion, it is a must-read, providing a detailed theory with examples of the pervasive (and spatial) nature of cultural ideologies. “ Antipode

“In Place/Out of Place provides a convincing argument about the importance of transgression in the study of place and that ithas broad relevance to geography.” Transactions

“Like the Ghost of Christmas Past, In Place/Out of Place transports us to the seething pasts of New York City’s anti-graffit struggle, to hippy festivals at Stonehenge, and to the Greenham Common Women’s Peace Camp. As witnesses, not participants, in these scenes, we are meant to observe how the present modes and meanings of these places were acquired and, in turn, impinge on possible futures. In Place/Out of Place proposes a thoughtful and optimistic approach for integrating the dimension of experiential spatiality with critical social theory. Disciples of new cultural geography, feminist geography, and cultural studies will find this work very interesting.” Professional Geographer