A Consciousness of Streets: Reflections on the Origin and Spread of Partition
This largely speculative review historicises the current era of ‘Springs’ through the lens of partition. I offer a critique of political modernity and the modern nation-state through analysis of the turn to border politics in colonial conquests, decolonisation efforts, Cold War politics and other instances of international relations across the long twentieth century. The pervasiveness of such plans across late modernity marks the beginning of the end of the nation as a single, reifiable, imaginable structure. With Ireland as exemplar, I posit national dividedness —a generally underestimated paradigm shaping our time— as spurring a decline in state authority and a new, radical “consciousness of streets.” Together with other defining political structures, it participates in transforming the postmodern map of nation into a conflicted network, an imagined community as metropolitan circuit. I take recourse to theories of partition and nation and work by geographers, historians and postcolonial theorists including Joseph Cleary, Benedict Anderson, Monica Duffy Toft, Étienne Balibar and Michel Foucault.
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