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Relational or Abyssal?

Lookup NU author(s): Professor Jonathan Pugh


The full text of this item is currently under embargo and cannot be made publicly available until 26/05/2024.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Pugh J

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Political Geography

Year: 2022

Volume: 96

Print publication date: 01/06/2022

Online publication date: 26/05/2022

Acceptance date: 18/02/2022

Date deposited: 02/05/2022

ISSN (print): 0962-6298

ISSN (electronic): 1873-5096

Publisher: Elsevier Inc.


ePrints DOI: 10.57711/xj2d-tm50

Notes: What I characterise (with David Chandler) as ‘abyssal work’ is (re)turning to the Caribbean in a significant way, as a powerful vortex; an explosive, highly generative, geo-ontological space which enables us to more sharply delineate the stakes of critique – on the one hand, opening out to how everything is co-constituted through traceable inter-relational becomings (Glissant's ‘thought of the Other’), on the other, to practices and analytics which refuse being held-in-relation, remaining opaque, suspending the cuts and distinctions of ontological world-making (Glissant's the ‘other of Thought’). My sense is that analytically drawing out this third distinction, beyond the two approaches of modern and relational thinking which Steinberg so effectively engages, will become increasingly important for Geographers. As the pressure to decolonialise institutions, universities and practices grows, tensions will no doubt increasingly emerge between ‘thought of the Other’ and the ‘other of Thought’ – that is, between those which claim to decentre the human as subject, sensing and tracking inter-relational entanglements, and communities or analytics which adopt a less affirmative or para-ontological approach, refusing both modern rationalist assumptions and relational ontological imaginaries.