'Locating regime' refers to a knowledge system and/or structure that calibrates the relative value, significance and meaning of locations. The basic idea is that all places in the world are both linked to and separated from other places in a range of different ways. We start from the premise that the disconnections are as important as the connections, which is one element that makes this approach different from most network analyses. We also start from the idea that these multiple connections and disconnections, which regularly shift and change, generate relative values and significance of any given place. In short: rather than focus on what places are, in themselves, we are focusing on how they gain different values and meanings according to a range of different ways to measure and compare their value in relation to other places.
Different logics. Each locating regime will have a particular logic to it. For example, there are many types of law that affect the Mediterranean region: European Union law, the law of each of the states that has a Mediterranean coast, the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea, and international law. There are also different underlying legal premises, such as Napoleonic law, Roman law and Sharia law. These are all different forms of law, and sometimes they can be mutually contradictory, but they share a similar logic: they define places, and the relations between places, people and things, in legal terms. Those terms are different from the logic informing religious institutions; or the logic informing finance, banking and trade. Of course, there are many overlaps between these different logics, both conceptual and in practice; but the premise of Crosslocations is that the logic underlying each locating regime will be significantly different from the others, and that this difference generates diverse relative values, significance and meaning to locations.
Many locations in one place. This means that any one place can, and usually does, have many different locations, and that each location has a relative, rather than absolute, value (i.e. its value is calibrated according to a particular yardstick - e.g. legal or infrastructural).
How does it work? Looking at locations this way raises some obvious questions. How do these different regimes operate in practice, how do they change, and how do they interact with one another? Crosslocations aims to first identify these regimes for the Mediterranean region and then research both how they work in different places, and then look at how they engage with one another.
The list below outlines the locating regimes that we have initially identified, and that we think draw on different ways of providing relative values of different locations. We will spend the first year both checking whether our hunch is right, and then 'mapping' them: drawing on expert knowledge to get an idea how they work in the Mediterranean region, and in particular, how they connect and separate different places.
This is about locations, not people's identities. Much social science research on the relation between people and places focuses on people's identities. In borders studies research, the identity question often involves the transformations generated by migration or other forms of movement; or it has involved trying to understand nationalism of various types. This has been important work, and our team has both contributed to the debates, and learned a lot from scholars working in this field. Yet that work has had to focus on certain elements of the relation between people and place (the way that spatial location becomes involved in cultural or social identities), and not others. Crosslocations takes the view that there are many different kinds of relations between people and where they are in the world that operate simultaneously, and only some of them are related to questions of identity. The others can be equally important to people's lives: the second languages people speak determines people's connections with other parts of the world; the level of internet connectivity and its cost determines both how well or badly different places are interconnected; religious structures and organizations determine particular types of connection and disconnection; legal restrictions, border controls, financial and banking systems and environmental conditions also have profound effects on how people experience their location and its relative value.
So Crosslocations will turn the question of location upside down: rather than begin with people and their identities, we begin with the places and the variety of ways in which they are connected and disconnected with other places, and how these structures, regimes or systems create relative values and meanings for places. Then we will look at how that affects people's social lives.
Back to top
Back to home