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Special issue: Spaces, places and the power of ideas

Guest editor: Karin van Marle

Events that have taken place at several South African universities since 2015 have disclosed many fault lines in the social, political and legal arena. One aspect among many others is the extent to which the idea of the university as a public space has been attacked and all spaces of ‘action and speech’ are under siege. The university as a microcosm of society in general reflects a similar decline of public space, erasure of possibilities for radical dissent and the impossibility of even getting closer to a sense of justice experienced in other spaces. However as the contributions in this edition show it is not only universities and not only South African society that are burdened by neoliberal power.

In this special edition authors tackle these issues from various angles: how the theoretical conjuncture of ‘state of exception’ materialised not only on university campuses but also in other spaces; how ever-expanding disciplinary jurisdiction abolished all possibilities for protest and dissent; on a more hopeful note, what role could architecture, utopia and the politics of inhabitance play; how could aesthetics, poetry, narratives push back against the endurance of past, and expansion of present, injustice?