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Unsettling responsibility: Postcolonial interventions

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journal contribution
posted on 26.04.2012, 13:16 by Pat Noxolo, Parvati Raghuram, Clare Madge
This paper contributes to debates about geographies of responsibility. In contrast to much of the previous literature in this field, which has concentrated on teasing out the intimate interconnections between different people, places and spaces, in this paper we highlight the limits to such connections, focusing on more unsettled versions of responsibility. Our critique draws on postcolonial readings to highlight two limitations of responsibility: its availability as an ethical gesture that can be ascribed even where it is not practised; and its imputed agency that makes it possible for responsible agency to be usurped by the global North. This starts to muddy the water of responsibility, showing how it may involve refusal, denial, withdrawal and contamination. More problematised enigmatic and risky versions of responsibility arise from these critiques. In particular, we argue that in considering responsibility as practice, a recognition of the provisional, contaminated and complex myriad of power relations involved may signal a move towards more ambivalent versions and visions that acknowledge the vulnerabilities and disconnections involved in geographies of responsibility.

History

Citation

Transactions of the Institute of British Geographers, 2011 (in press)

Author affiliation

/Organisation/COLLEGE OF SCIENCE AND ENGINEERING/Department of Geography/Human Geography

Version

AM (Accepted Manuscript)

Published in

Transactions of the Institute of British Geographers

Publisher

Wiley-Blackwell

issn

0020-2754

eissn

1475-5661

Copyright date

2011

Available date

31/10/2012

Publisher version

http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1475-5661.2011.00474.x/abstract

Language

en