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Arjun Appadurai on ‘Production of Locality’

"The production of locality is a reminder that even the most apparently mechanical forms of social order that seem to function without design, contingency, or intentionality but simply by the force of routine — what we used to call habit — involve large amounts of deliberate attention, effort and labor.  Part of that attention, effort, and labor is involved in collective ideas of what is possible.  Therefore, for the local to have some spatialized embodiment takes an effort which transcends that very spatiality.  So the idea is not to, as it were, de-spatialize the local, or evacuate the spatial from the local, but to add something to it.  That is to say, for mere spatiality to take its form, there has to be an effort, a 'production of locality,' which is much more complex.  Once that effort to produce the local is fully observed, we will also, among other things, get a deeper sense of what it means to produce, inhabit, and sustain spatial relations. We won't have substituted something else for the spatial part of the local but will have enriched the logic of the spatial in the local."

Arjun Appadurai, from "Illusion of Permanence," in Perspecta, Volume 34, pp. 44-52, 2003

This is part of a collection of quotes related to cities. They don't necessarily reflect our views, just topics of interest. We welcome you to add others.

Credits: Photo of a skater in Reykjavík, Iceland, by Andrew Wade.