Sunday, July 22, 2007

Can't Get a Handle on Handel

As I am on the board of Israel Academic Monitor, I'd like you to see this catch of theirs:-

They found a PhD candidate at the Cohn Institute for History and Philosophy of Sciences and Ideas, Tel Aviv University, one Ariel Handel, whose PhD thesis is about space, time and their relations at the Occupied Palestinian Territories.

Wow. Wow-wee. Okay, I know you won't believe it but here's a summary of his gobbledygook:-

Space and Time in the Occupied Territories, Uncertainty as Control Technology

The Paper’s main argument would be that Israel is controlling the Occupied Palestinian Territories (OPT) by systematically dismantling the relation between space and time, or, in other words, by disassembling the correlation between spatial absolute value and usage value.

Absolute value is what can be measured in uniform distance units, which are, basically, indifferent to the occurrences in the measured space: for example, aerial
distance between two points. Usage value, in contrast, deals with spatial actual usage possibilities. If between two points stands impassable wall, no matter what is the absolute distance from one to another, the actual distance, considering the usage value, would be infinite. Spatial usage value always embodies time in it. Paving road between two points does not change the distance in kilometers, but shortens drastically the actual distance between them. In the same manner, blocking road lengthens the actual distance by containing time postponement within it.

I will attempt to analyze few basic modes of spatial control (i.e. clear sites in which space itself takes major part in control shaping), which are used for describing Israel’s control mode in the OPT: prison, ghetto, siege, camp and “movement policing”. The comparison would be done by spatial analysis tools, putting emphasis on relations between inside and outside, opacity and permeability,
characteristics and locations of supervision points and the visibility relations (what is been watched, where from, where to and why). The analysis would show that although having few similarities among each of the mentioned models none of them fully describes the situation in the OPT, which can be understood only by referring to what I would like to call “technologies of spatial uncertainty”.

He goes on but I had to stop.

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