GLOSSARY — IN PROGRESS
ENCLOSURES, ENCLOSURE MOVEMENTS or PRIVATIZATION — Movements to convert public, commonly owned land, property or resources into the private possession of a select person of group of persons. Typically this takes place through a combination of state and private schemes, in which a powerful private interest uses it’s influence or involvement in government to redefine what that land, property or resource “is” or what it should be used for, typically without the consent or review of the larger public and valuing the private interest’s needs over those who live off or use that resource already. In addition to land and resources, privatization can be applied to government structures and social infrastructure, tax moneys and organizations. Theorist David Harvey refers to the privatization of state structures and services as a kind of “cannibalism,” through which economic interests facing a crisis in profits are allowed to devour the state itself as a source of value. Forms of enclosure can typically be found as a cause behind displacements of people, neighborhoods and communities, or people's dispossession of access to resources and subsistence.
UNDERDEVELOPMENT — Relates to the idea of “development,” as a model of “progress” as defined by Western industrial cultures during the twentieth century. According to the perspective of leaders of the industrialized West, progress should be measured according to modern technology and western style economic and governmental institutions, which is why we hear some countries referred to as “advanced,” and others, the “less developed” as “backwards.” This distinction has a number of biases within it, mainly assuming that the western model of a society is necessarily more advanced, and that those less developed are therefore stuck in some kind of past, or incapable of being fully ”civilized.” This however, is a judgment which ultimately tells us more about the desire to be more advanced by those who use the term than it does about the objective health or welfare of a given society. Similarly, underdevelopment is a term that refers to societies or nations that are not as “developed,” not as “advanced.” However, “underdeveloped” allows us to think more in terms of process—in terms of development as a process—therefore, understanding underdevelopment as stopping that process from taking place. This takes us out of seeing “the developed world” and the “underdeveloped world” as being some kind of a hierarchy, where the developed are better and the underdeveloped are “backwards,” and instead focuses our attention on the question of why some places would be more developed, and others less? As it turns out, the two terms refer to the way the world was broken up during the last 500 years, in the period of western expansion and colonialism. During this period, Western, European powers managed to colonize most every corner of the world, dividing the non-Western world into colonies of Britain, France, Germany, Spain, Portugal, Italy, and the Dutch. In the 20th century, however, most of the colonized world rejected colonial rule, and revolted in order to expel the colonizers and their power structures from their borders. One of the ways that colonialism had worked however was to make the “colony,” both the people and the state, dependent on the colonizer. This typically meant undermining indigenous infrastructures—the cultural, governmental, economic and social structures used to organize their society—and replacing them with colonial bureaucracy. This meant keeping the society “underdeveloped,” so that they were functionally incapable of governing themselves. (You can't overthrow us, you need us!) Once the colonizers were driven out, they took this infrastructure with them, or left it as an empty shell without the resources or access to wealth required to make them work, leaving them “underdeveloped,” which in this case, meant keeping the nations from being able to sustain themselves in economic, political and/or social terms. Since then, the reality of underdevelopment—not as an inherent or hereditary backwardsness, but as an intentional undermining of a nation’s ability to sustain and reproduce itself—has been used to manipulate these same former colonies. Often referred to as “neo-colonialism,” this manipulation generally takes place by lending these countries the money they need, but with the stipulations that they remain subservient to the dominant countries, meaning that they continue to allow the dominant countries access to their resources, labor forces, and their markets, without regulating them too much, or making them obey environmental laws, labor laws, or other laws that would protect themselves. This often leads to the support for dictators who collaborate with the First World powers, and when regimes oppose such manipulation, this is when we see military “interventions,” like those led throughout the Third World since World War II, when most of the anti-colonial revolutions were beginning to or had already taken place. The other place we see underdevelopment occur so as to undermine or prohibit local, indigenous forms of organizing or self-governance is within the first world, within poorer communities who function as perceived by ruling classes is to provide cheap labor and to consume what its industries produce. Every community needs to be organized in some way so as to insist upon what is in its interest and refuse manipulation by other communities or larger governmental structures. But similar to the underdevelopment leveraged against the former colonial world, “internal” underdevelopment—processes of ghettoization especially—keep working class and impoverished communities subservient and powerless so as to be agreeable to what a ruling class would require of them.
FRONTIER — Is used in many ways, but is used in this mapping to represent a sort of "predictive" space, a process of naming that predicts a certain appropriation, invasion or taking over of that space. What is generally thought of or named a frontier? Emptiness, a void waiting to be filled; empty of culture, waiting to be "civilized." It is a space filled only with things that need to be brought under control, explained through any number of racist or misogynist conceptions that accordingly evoke metaphors for that taking of control (invasions and penetration, feminized, de–humanized, animalized); or the missionary conception (we're bringing God to them); a "crusade" conception (smoke'em out of their caves); or more common today, explained through liberal humanist conceptions of "liberation" and "democratization." What is certain is an articulation of the frontier space that necessitates its submission, saturation and occupation, coincidental with an interest in that space, a need for a resource held therein, untapped labor pools, untapped markets, manipulatable political structures (weak labor laws, environmental protections and government regulation), expedient routes of commercial trafficking, or general spatio-temporal state expansion (imperialism). Whatever the driving rationale, the invasion of the frontier space is foretold already by having called it a frontier, which is much easier to justify.
CITIZENSHIP — is the way of designating who belongs to or is a ‘member’ to a certain state. This state can be conceived as anything from a ‘city-state’ as it was historically conceived (cit·y-state (st-stt)n. A sovereign state consisting of an independent city and its surrounding territory), to a nation state, as we think of it today. This designation carries with it, at least in theory, a body of rights, privileges, liberties and entitlements that are to guaranteed and protected by that state — whereas those who exist within that state who do not share that designation (are not “citizens”) are denied and deprived of them. At this point, placed outside citizenship, one is exposed to a number of violences — from the state itself and from others — from which there are few protections.
THE STATE — What is a state? What is the state? The state is an aggregate, or collection, of power. But this power doesn’t come from nowhere, the state is invested with power by people and groups of people who have power. These people give it the state its power and form its constituency—they constitute, or make up, a state.
SLAVERY — We often define slavery as being just forced, unpaid labor, but perhaps it is much more complex than just that. Historically in slave societies, something else happens before forced labor can take place. This ‘something else’ is the establishing of a fundamental difference between the dominant group of a society and other individuals or minority groups. While this difference manifests in many ways, according to the specific society, it is always with regard to status, based upon perceived differences is levels of ‘humanity’—this means that some people are perceived as more human, others as less human, or indeed, un-human altogether. This designation as less or non-human is then the basis for altering the ‘other’s’ status in society, where even though they are located geographically within the society, they are not counted among its citizens, its agents, even its members; they are physically there and alive, but socially they are dead. Indeed, this process is the basis of establishing race, a process of race-making or racialization. Once placed in this outsider status, where society is not “theirs,” then it follows that they are the society’s property, its belongings, who live there upon it’s graces, whose purpose is to thus to reciprocate, to help build, serve and maintain that society. As property, they are either owned by the state itself, or they are distributed as private property among the society’s official members. How does this relate to prisoner populations? How about to refugee populations? People frozen within or pushed outside of their state?
CONSTITUENCY — To constitute something is to make up something as one or all of its parts; the parts which make up something constitute that thing. A constituency therefore is that grouping of parts that make up a whole something, but typically it is in regards to the collective organization of people, especially within governance or political representation. Here we see the common use: constituency is the people who support or make up a movement, campaign, party or government, they are its constituency (they “constitute” it). Here this seems to have two meanings in relation to power: one is within a democratic gesture (YOU are our constituency!) where those in power declare the people to be their constituency so people feel empowered (whether they are or not); the other is acknowledging the revolutionary power people hold by refusing to be governed, that without peoples’ willingness to be governed (that willingness could be achieved by rational thought, fear or coersion) no government or power can in fact be constituted (except by overwhelming violence and force). This is not to suggest that it is as easy as that to overthrow power, but to say that all governance is about amassing the power of many people, and when it comes down to it, that power can be withheld, withdrawn or displaced, leaving only an empty shell, a fossil of power behind, either to whither and die, or to rule only by overwhelming/overcompensating force of violence, and whatever technologies of violence and institutional power which they have amassed previously. Most frequently it seems, the elite of that power just slide into another configuration, like when scandalized corporations simply change their name and continue with there business. How do you fit into your government? Typically we can generalize that the people who make up the constituency for a government are that society’s elite, which usually means rich, where the majority of its people are not the “true constituency” of government, but rather are a “symbolic” one. By symbolic I mean they are actually ruled through coercion, force, fear or illiteracy, but are claimed symbolically, used to symbolize the “people,” or “the masses,” as a signifier or evidence of democracy (these people are our constituency, their presence proves we are democratic). Most democracies are like this to some extent, where the masses are given periodic opportunities to have some say like voting, bu the choices they are given to vote for will almost always be guaranteed in advance to be non-threatening to the ruling power. But the true constituency, the elite, are always the one’s whose interests and demands shape what those choices for the voters are in the first place. It is their needs and desires which truly shape or constitute government—they govern the rest.
PRIVATIZATION — see “ENCLOSURES, ENCLOSURE MOVEMENTS & PRIVATIZATION”