Salty Geographies

A recent post by Andy Davies over at the Antipode Foundation’s blog raises some interesting geographical questions, particularly around labor, in light of the recent Costa Concordia shipwreck. On this blog we’ve noted some of the tricky problems the sea presents for modern spatial-political phenomena such as the law, sovereignty, states, territory, power, and cosmopolitanisms. As Davies notes, there’s the work by Marcus Rediker and Peter Linebaugh that highlights the class-based cosmopolitanism produced by various proletarians of the sea—particularly pirates. (Davies surveys some of the other emerging literature on “Salty Geographies.”) Pirates, of course, also constitute, according to Daniel Heller-Rozen, the first “universal enemy,” a genealogical lineage that extends to contemporary “terrorist” tropes. The seashore has also long been a complicated legal space straddling the aquatic and the terrestrial, an issue examined at some length by Carl Schmitt’s Nomos. The material liminality of the coast was a strategic aspect exploited by the shipwreck harvesters known as “wreckers” in 18th Century England discussed by John Rule. It’s nice to see that the geographically minded are taking greater interest in analyzing the sea, which has as much to tell us about the politics of ocean spaces as it does about terrestrial politics.

This entry was posted in Carl Schmitt, Historical-Geographies, Law, Pirates, Power, Sovereignty, Spatiality, The Sea, The State. Bookmark the permalink.