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Place and Defilement: Signposts Toward a New Theory of Purity in Sibley's Geographies of Exclusion


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Authors

Brown, DM 

Abstract

jats:pFollowing Douglas and Kristeva, Sibley theorizes in Geographies of Exclusion that socio-spatial boundaries necessarily activate discourses of purity and impurity. Yet there is also a second, more sophisticated theory present in the text. Sibley offers three qualifications to Douglas and Kristeva, emphasizing the culturally specific nature of purity and impurity classifications, their status as contested and metaphorical discourses, and their irreducibly spatial organization and operation. Furthermore, beyond these qualifications, a close reading of the grain of Sibley’s argument suggests an account in which (a) temporal closeness to the origin and (b) spatial homogeneity are the standard against which “purity” is measured. Purity and impurity, then, would not attend any “matter out of place” but operate within particular cultural contexts as assessments of whether a phenomenon or space corresponds, in its relative homogeneity, to its impure origin and essence. This perspective offers support for addressing the materiality of purity and impurity discourses.</jats:p>

Description

Keywords

Sibley, purity, impurity, space, heterogeneity

Journal Title

Space and Culture

Conference Name

Journal ISSN

1206-3312
1552-8308

Volume Title

18

Publisher

SAGE Publications