Theory and Ethics – Gopal Guru

Place becomes a difficult category, because it is boundary-ridden, it has specific qualities of its own. It is stagnant. A particular place becomes available to me, so to say, it becomes designated empowerment. For example, I say I am from Mumbai, and that empowers me in a way. And so I privilege one place over the other.

However, as against place, space is more dynamic. I could be something different in Princeton and in a ghetto in India. Space allows for these shifts.

Once you assign a conceptual meaning to a place, you are transforming place into space. What you require to produce knowledge is not a physical place, but the idea of the place. Space actualizes that conversion of place into an idea.

So while at one level you do not require a place as an initial condition, you require place as another condition to produce knowledge. If we consider Ambedkar and Gandhi, why is it that Gandhi became so much more well-known than Ambedkar? This is because of a place-differentiation between the two.

Gopal Guru


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