The Open UniversitySkip to content

Topological twists: Power's shifting geographies

Allen, John (2011). Topological twists: Power's shifting geographies. Dialogues in Human Geography, 1(3) pp. 283–298.

Full text available as:
PDF (Accepted Manuscript) - Requires a PDF viewer such as GSview, Xpdf or Adobe Acrobat Reader
Download (172kB)
DOI (Digital Object Identifier) Link:
Google Scholar: Look up in Google Scholar


Topology is one of those words that, since finding a place in the discipline’s vocabulary, has hovered over debates rather than been central to them. The appeal of topology, especially among certain poststucturalist geographers, seems to rest with the looser, less rigid approach to space and time that allows for events elsewhere to be folded into the here and now of daily life. A new found relief from the more fixed spatial trappings of Euclidian geometry clearly forms part of that appeal (see Amin, 2004, 2007; Amin and Thrift, 2002; Doel, 1999; Bickerstaff and Simmons, 2009; Hetherington, 1997a and b; Latham, 2002; Marston et al, 2005; Jones III et al, 2007; Murdoch, 2006). Such relief, though, is often short lived when the metaphorical use of familiar words in unfamiliar contexts – the ‘twists’ in the spatial arrangements of political authority or the ‘folding’ in of the global into the local – serve only to confuse rather than enlighten. The confusion, however, whilst real, masks a fallible attempt to capture something new, or rather shifts less well understood, within a makeshift, often borrowed vocabulary. A topological sensibility, to my mind, prompts us to think again about such things as scale and territory, networks and connection in a less rigid manner, but above all about power and its geometry, in ways that make a difference.

Item Type: Journal Item
Copyright Holders: 2011 The Authors
ISSN: 2043-8214
Academic Unit/School: Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences (FASS) > Social Sciences and Global Studies > Geography
Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences (FASS) > Social Sciences and Global Studies
Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences (FASS)
Research Group: OpenSpace Research Centre (OSRC)
Related URLs:
Item ID: 30863
Depositing User: John Allen
Date Deposited: 23 Dec 2011 10:37
Last Modified: 28 Mar 2020 12:00
Share this page:


Altmetrics from Altmetric

Citations from Dimensions

Download history for this item

These details should be considered as only a guide to the number of downloads performed manually. Algorithmic methods have been applied in an attempt to remove automated downloads from the displayed statistics but no guarantee can be made as to the accuracy of the figures.

Actions (login may be required)

Policies | Disclaimer

© The Open University   contact the OU