Change is inevitable, we are told. A job is lost, a couple falls in love, children leave home, an addict joins Narcotics Anonymous, two nations go to war, a family member's health deteriorates, a baby is born, a universal health care bill is voted into law. Life comprises events over which we have considerable, partial, or little or no control. The distance between the event and our daily lives suggests a quirky spatial politics. Our lives move forward depending upon how events play out in concert with our reactions to them. Drawing on nearly three decades of geographic projects that involve ethnographies and interviews with, and stories about, young people in North and South American, Europe and Asia and using the innovative technique of ethnopoetry, Aitken examines key life-changing events to look at the interconnections between space, politics, change and emotions. Analysing the intricate spatial complexities of these events, he explores the emotions that undergird the ways change takes place, and the perplexing spatial politics that almost always accompany transformations. Aitken positions young people as effective agents of change without romanticizing their political involvement as fantasy and unrealistic dreaming. Going further, he suggests that it is the emotional palpability of youth engagement and activism that makes it so potent and productive. Pulling on the spatial theories of de Certeau, Deleuze, Massey, Agamben, Rancière, Zizek and Grosz amongst others, Aitken argues that spaces are transformative to the degree that they open the political and he highlights the complexly interwoven political, economic, social and cultural practices that simultaneously embed and embolden people in places. If we think of spaces as events and events encourage change, then spaces and people become other through complex relations. Taking poetry to be an emotive construction of language, Aitken re-visualizes, contorts and arranges people's words and gestures to
Table of Contents
Contents: Preface; Birthing the poetics of space and transformation; Ethnopoetics; Disrupting spatial competencies and affordances; Development, figured worlds and affective ecologies; Schoolyards, violence and landscapes of revolution; Children’s work, civic responsibilities and refashioning citizenship; Poets and stateless children; The poetic aesthetics of children’s politics; References; Index.