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This collection of cultural studies essays looks at 'the way we construct and use space in our everyday material, psychic and social behaviours.' (Source: publisher's website.)
* Contents derived from the Nedlands,Inner Perth,Perth,Western Australia,:University of Western Australia. Centre for Studies in Australian Literature,1999 version. Please note that other versions/publications may contain different contents. See the Publication Details.
Barcan and Buchanan define what they mean by 'space'. They quote a number of philosophers and artists and state that the best way to imagine the concept of space might be 'when we cease to ask what space represents and instead inquire into what it does'. The critical essays in the collection are recognised as being 'within the transdisciplinary space of Australian Cultural Studies' and that 'the biological, geological, material world around us is discursively imagined, understood and produced, and that even our bodily perception and experience of it does not occur outside of culture and history'.
O'Carroll considers the dominant cultural image of the Antipodes - the 'arse-end of the world', 'down-under', or a 'European history of imagining' involving a 'New World' - and charts 'the hidden conceptual lineage of classical geography and cosmology' responsible for this cultural analysis. He argues that these views of history and Australian myths such as 'the bush' or 'the pub' paradoxically amount to cultural, colonial and utopian amnesias.
Arthur explores 'the concept and history of the term "Antipodes" and show(s) ways in which that hypothetical space was utilised as a setting for European utopian fiction long before there was any concrete empirical knowledge of the region in Europe'.
'This essay looks at the relationship between the perception of space and the process of colonisation in Australia. It examines a number of ways in which the largely European colonists engaged with the continent of Australia as a space...in describing space, they also help to make it.'
Hodge looks 'at two fundamental strategies for organising lived space: material (walls and buildings, organised by boundaries) and semiotic (signs and laws, organised around centres). The first is associated with Western architecture. The second is best exemplified by Australian Aboriginal traditions'.
'This essay is a preliminary analysis of...men's toilets...that architectural design influences bodily habits, and vice versa;...This is an essay, then, about bodies in space...about the design and effects (both individual and social) of one particular architectural form - the urinal - and about the laws, both formal and semiotic, that govern that space.'
This essay argues that 'a culturally produced , individually lived, intersubjective spaciality is the condition of human life'. Best uses a feminist study by Iris Marion Young on female ball throwing to discuss how the use of space differs between men and women and concludes that a revaluing of the differences would be beneficial to both women and men.
Martin states that 'just like any other piece of ground or imaginative space, a garden is a location for power struggles and ideological clashes.' She uses two Victorian gardeners in the mid-nineteenth century to show how 'gardening is a gendered spatial practice, a colonising act, a private pleasure and a public, social, and socially directed practice'.
This essay, using contrasts such as the suburbs and the outback, suggests that non-Aboriginal Australians restrict their thoughts of space to rigid concepts such as front and back and that the outback - and those who live outside densely populated colonialist Australia - provides many more ways of viewing and being part of space.
Buchanan's essay exaimines the questions: 'To what extent is the experience of a space tied directly to the objective conditions of that space? And by the same token, to what extent can the objective conditions of a space be separated from the subjective experience of that space?'
Ferrier states that 'the object of this analysis is...the discursive construction of the space of the Net. That is, the way the space of the Net is produced through writings, academic and popular, and through the software that gives us access to it'.