2014 | 5 | Willingness to work through


Today, traditional intellectual practice is sustained by the “fast,” hypercommodified sensibilities of transnational jet-set life. Centered on transnational (but US-centered) publishing networks, conference circuits, and “fly-by” research operations, such sensibilities are most likely to sustain liberal-cosmopolitan intellectualism. The latter one-sidedly celebrates our age of transnational mobility, prefers comfortable “complexity” over radical critique, and screens out the contradictions of territorially mediated politics. Lefebvre’s own critique of traditional intellectual practice stands at an unambiguous distance from jet-set intellectualism, which, despite its critique of cultural nationalism, has failed to provide a counterpoint to the fundamentalisms and colonizations of today’s world. Lefebvre’s insistence on worldwide but plural strategies to embed knowledge creation in lived experience and radical political commitment urges us to combine a worldwide perspective of emancipation with territorially more limited (continental, national, regional, local) practices. This requires a willingness to work through (instead of bypass or ignore) the mystifications, separations, and hierarchies which structure such practices. Only in this way is it possible to realize difference globally—as a worldwide revolution.

“Globalizing Lefebvre?” Stefan Kipfer, Christian Schmid, Kaniskha Goonewardena, and Richard Milgrom in Space, Difference, Everyday Life: Reading Henri Lefebvre (2008). 300–301.

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