Poststructuralist Geographies: The Diabolical Art of Spatial Science

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Edinburgh University Press, 1999 - Geography - 229 pages
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Poststructuralist Geographiesis the first attempt to draw out and develop the inherent quality that is at the heart of postmodern and poststructuralist perspectives. With expertise in both critical human geography and post-war continental philosophy, the author is able to bring them together in order to fashion a remarkable and thought-provoking introduction to the fundamental difference that space, place, context and milieu make to how we understand and engage with the world and others around us. Authors such as Baudrillard, Deleuze, Derrida, Irigaray, and Lyotard are given a new twist, and the radical consequences are developed across a range of accessible examples, from film to quantum mechanics.

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isolated theme for Kant.38 The sole text in which Kant explicitly takes up the theme of the
imagination is his Antropologie in pragmatischer Hinsicht, and, more specifically, Kant
introduces the
imagination in this book in the paragraph ‘Von den fünf Sinnen’ (On the five
senses): “Sensibility in the cognitive faculty (the faculty of intuitive representations) contains
two parts: sense and the power of imagination. – The first is the faculty of intuition in the
presence of an object, the second is intuition even without the presence of an object.” (ANTH,
153/265) Although it belongs to sensibility, which is characterized by its passivity, that is,
receptivity, the imagination is capable of actively making present what is absent (cf. T, 65).
Imagination plays with presence and absence by making present to intuition what is, in certain
respects, absent although it does not lose its absence when brought to the fore. Perhaps we can
say that, following Gasché, “imagination is this: the power to make intuitions point away
from themselves, and there must be such a pointing away before imagination can divide into
its various employments. Moreover […] as such a power, imagination cannot help but point
away from itself as well. Always ahead of itself, this power of the sensible is by necessity
understandable only through the powers that it serves, i.e., understanding and reason. Since
imagination must interconnect and present, it is in itself nothing but the power to designate, a
power that can only be designated by pointing ahead of itself to the other faculties.”39
Kant’s analysis of the imagination (facultas imaginandi) continues in the section ‘Von
der Einbildungskraft’; here, Kant first distinguishes the productive imagination (exhibitio
originaria) from the reproductive (exhibitio derivativa). The former is the power to exhibit an
object that precedes experience; the latter brings to the fore what has previously been intuited.
Later this distinction is elaborated further by stating that the imagination is either poetizing /
inventive (dichtend) and therefore productive, or recollective (zurückrufend), thus
reproductive. The question, then, is what the product of the productive imagination can be.
Kant explicitly states that its productivity is not creative (schöpferisch), that is, it cannot
generate a sense representation that was never given before to the senses. In what sense, then,
are the non-present objects (ohne Gegenwart) produced or presented by the imagination in an
originary way (cf. ANTH, 167/278)? To be productive the imagination has to get its material
from the senses; it can only give itself the spatial and temporal form of an object, or, as Kant
writes, the pure “intuitions of space and time [reine Raumes- und Zeitanschauungen]”, while
all the other functions of the imagination “presuppose empirical intuition, which, when
connected to the concept of the object and thus becomes empirical cognition, is called
experience” (ANTH, 167/278).40 The productive imagination presents as a poetizing
(dichtend) power in that it gives a reality to imaginary or fictitious objects. Gasché points out
that the imagination in Kant is in all its forms – as the power of (re-)presentation and of
synthesis – a faculty of designation (Bezeichnugsvermögen, facultas signatrix), which is again
comprehended as “the faculty of understanding the present as a means of connecting the
conception of what is foreseen with that of the past”, and, as Derrida emphasizes, the
“Kantian imagination” indeed “cannot but imply an ontological interpretation of time” (T,
65).41 Indeed, the synthesis in general (Synthesis überhaupt) is at times considered a function
(Wirkung) of the imagination, often described in the transcendental deduction and the chapter
on the schematism in terms of ‘drawing’ or ‘tracing’ (zeichnen) (B162), ‘noting’
(verzeichnen) (A141/B180, A163/B203), ‘marking’ or ‘characterizing’ (bezeichnen)
accounts of

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About the author (1999)

Marcus Doel is senior lecturer in geography at Loughborough University. He has published widely on new theoretical directions in social, cultural, and political geography.

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