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Whither the World?: Presence, Absence and the Globe

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Chapter Summary

This paper looks at the globe and the discourse of globalization not under the sign of one – a singular yet complex entity – but under the sign of zero or as “the blank.” Challenging the reductionism of the globe to the Euclidean, the transitive and the big, the globe as zero can be treated as both a sign for the space of nothing and the insignificant as well as a meta-sign for the ordering of space itself. As a sign, it encompasses both the conditions of presence and absence that do not follow a geometric ordering logic (i.e. local/global; center/periphery). We encounter instead uncertainty and undecidability as well as the effects of the under-determined. Approaching issues of globalization under the figure of zero rather than one allows us to pursue an understanding of global conditions of possibility in more complex, topological and intransitive ways that better allow us to grasp both the conditions of social stasis and social change that emerge from new configurations of sociality and their global spatialities.



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