RE: real and virtual worlds: third space

From: Eugene Matusov (
Date: Sun Jan 04 2004 - 17:45:50 PST

Thanks, Iraj, for the message and references. I really like the following
quote from


"While I am persuaded that it is important to recognise, and legitimise,

subaltern practices as resistance, this surely needs to be done without
relying on the figure

of an autonomous subject who operates against, but outside, the field of

Neither, I think, can we rely on a belief in practices or spaces of
resistance that are not also

practices or spaces of accommodation to power. Foucault expresses this
concisely, in the

well-known dictum that "where there is power, there is resistance, and yet,
or rather

consequently, this resistance is never in a position of exteriority in
relation to power"

(Foucault 1978, 95). This is not to say, however, that discourses of
resistance or subaltern

subjectivities are "only a reaction or rebound... that is, in the end,
always passive, doomed

to perpetual defeat" (Foucault 1978, 96). Rather, Foucault is optimistic
that "there must

always be points of insubordination at which it is possible not to escape
power per se, but

to escape the particular strategy of power relation that directs one's
conduct" (Simons

1995, 85)."


I think that accommodation to power besides fantasy projection into power
can be responsible for "false consciousness".


What do you think?





From: IRAJ IMAM []
Sent: Wednesday, December 31, 2003 4:08 PM
Subject: real and virtual worlds: third space


" Would it be fair to characterize Lefebvre's "first space" as psychical
space ("meat space" :-) while "second space" as symbolic space ("virtual


one can use any terminology one want. The point is recognizing that we -our
bodies and our societies--always exist in space and as space. and spaces
exists simultaneously both as real physical space (first space or your meat
space) and as imagined and imaginary space (second space or your virtual
space). one good example for me is Francis Bacon who paints portraits of
both spaces of people-their real shape and their imagined shape. That
applies to all portraits though, like all physical spaces, they are also
representations of space, even if, like paintings, they are spaces of
representations themselves. Bacon's images at Google:


so what is in it for us? One consequence is that we will no longer limit
ourselves to focus on only one type of space-physical or virtual. More
importantly, we will get used to 'see' them being interconnected; in our
bodies/mind and in our societies.


"I still struggle to understand Lefebvre's "third space" or "lived space".
It sounds in opposition to the "first space" but I do not understand how. Is
the "first space" abstract (alienated? mediated?) physical space out there
while the "third space" is (directly experienced) habitat? Even more, I do
not understand what problem Lefebvre tried to solve when he develop this
space terminology."


First space is the concrete physical things and second space is the first
one mediated by us-conceived by us, therefore it is imagined, imaginary, and
virtual; but not unreal. Third space, as you suggested, is directly
experienced. It means different things to different people. But there is an
overall parallel in use of it by post-colonial authors like Spivak, Bha Bha,
and Said, by spatial theorists like Lefebvre and Soja, and by CHAT authors
Gutierrez and Leander (zone of proximal development). Because it involves
action by individuals and groups it is seen as transformative,
transgressive, and change-inducing; for better or for worse. In a similar
way that our activities are always mediated, so does space and our 'spatial
activity.' I can not think of any activity that is not spatial-physical or
virtual. So we can say now: all activities not only are mediated by tools
--physical and virtual, they are also mediated by space and in space. in
addition, all activities are space producing---they produce new space.


That is the problem Lefebvre wanted to solve: why space-physical and
virtual-is important now and how it is produced, and hence can be changed,
including our bodies, identities, and our societies. His book on space is
called 'production of space'. one of his argument is that 'social relations
of production have a social existence to the extent that they have spatial
existence.; they project themselves into the space, becoming inscribed
there, and in the process producing that space itself. Failing this, these
relations would remain in the realm of 'pure' abstraction.'


Here are a few examples of Third space as:


 resistance by villagers, using post-colonial approach:
/butz.pdf+%22third+space%22&hl=en&ie=UTF-8> &hl=en&ie=UTF-8


an inclusionary and multifaceted identity politics:
S/paul/hybridity.pdf+%22third+space%22&hl=en&ie=UTF-8> &hl=en&ie=UTF-8



Cheers for the New (and a better) Year to all!



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