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Island Movements: Thinking with the Archipelago

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Jonathan Pugh

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Abstract

Whether in Homer or Plato, Shakespeare or Huxley, throughout history, thinking about islands has shaped how we think about human nature and our place in the world. However, to date archipelagos have received far less attention. This is problematic because we live, increasingly, in a world of island-island movements and not static forms. Not only in the more obvious cases of the Caribbean, Hawaii or the Philippines but, as Stratford et al (2011) say, many ‘continental forms’ like Canada and Australia are in fact archipelagos composed of thousands of island movements. To this list we can add more manufactured archipelagos: wind turbine arrays, industrial oil and military constellations. The key question therefore arises: what does it mean to think with the archipelago? This paper argues firstly that archipelagic thinking denaturalizes the conceptual basis of space and place, and therefore engages ‘the spatial turn’ presently sweeping the social sciences and humanities. Secondly, such thinking highlights the trope of what I call ‘metamorphosis’, of the adaptation and transformation of material, cultural and political practices through island movements. In both cases, I argue that thinking with the archipelago requires an important shift in how we frame analysis and engagement.


Publication metadata

Author(s): Pugh J

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Island Studies Journal

Year: 2013

Volume: 8

Issue: 1

Pages: 9-24

Print publication date: 01/05/2013

ISSN (electronic): 1715-2593

Publisher: University of Prince Edward Island

URL: http://www.islandstudies.ca/sites/islandstudies.ca/files/ISJ-8-1-2013-Pugh_0.pdf


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