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third space

  Third space is a space produced by those processes that exceed the forms of knowledge that divide the world into binary oppositions. Bhabha (1990) argues that third space is a consequence of hybridity, for example; he suggests that certain forms of post-colonial knowledges challenge the division of the world into the West and the rest by producing third spaces in which new Identities can be enacted. For Bhabha (1994, p. 39), third space is a position from which it may be possible \'to elude the politics of polarity and emerge as others of ourselves\'. Some geographers have used the term to displace oppositional categories in geographical analysis; Routledge (1996) has used the term to displace the opposition between academic theorizing and political activism, for example (see also Pile, 1994; cf. activism and the academy). Soja (1996), drawing on Lefebvre (1991), offers the most sustained discussion of the status of this space. He argues that it involves a notion of space which displaces many of the binary oppositions through which geographers have often conceptualized space itself: for example, this space is simultaneously material and symbolic, and it also eludes the distinction Soja detects in much Western philosophy between dynamic time and static space. For Soja (1996, p. 11), \'third-space\' is \'simultaneously real and imagined and more\'. This \'more\' is where Soja locates the critical potential of third space. Third space is more because it both contains binary ways of thinking about space but also exceeds them with a lived intractibility to interpretive schemas that allows for a potentially emancipatory practice. In third spaces, new things happen and this disrupts old and dominant ways of thinking and doing. Thus discussions of third space aim to reconceptualize ways of thinking about space in order to remake understandings of the world. (See also dialectic(s).) (GR)

References Bhabha, H. 1990: Interview with Homi Bhaba: the third space. In J. Rutherford, ed., Identity: community, culture, difference. London: Lawrence and Wishart, 207-21. Bhabha, H. 1994: The location of culture. London: Routledge. Lefebvre, H. 1991: The production of space, trans. D. Nichol son-Smith. Oxford: Basil Blackwell. Pile, S. 1994: Masculinism, the use of dualistic epistemologies and third spaces. Antipode 26: 255-77. Routledge, P. 1996: The third space as critical engagement. Antipode 28: 399-419. Soja, E.W. 1996: Thirdspace. Oxford: Basil Blackwell.



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