Gramsci and Foucault in Central Park: Environmental hegemonies, pedagogical spaces and integral state formations
Author(s)Sevilla Buitrago, Alvaro
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AbstractGramsci’s and Foucault’s readings of power provide critical illuminations for understanding the linkage of state formations to urbanization and the spatial production of subjectivity. This article uses Central Park to illustrate how a combination of their insights helps to elucidate the emergence of pedagogical spaces and environmental hegemonies. I first propose a conceptual framework drawing on diverse parallels and tensions in Gramsci’s Quaderni del carcere and Foucault’s investigations in the 1970s, reassessed here from the vantage point of the implicit debate with Marxism in La société punitive. Urbanization and the built environment are theorized as material apparatuses of a form of capillary power that reconfigures the relations between state, civil society and individual subjects, striving to forge common senses of space that buttress political hegemony. This analytical toolkit is then applied in a political reappraisal of Central Park, exploring the role of design in the pedagogy of subaltern spatialities and the normalization of a consensual regime of publicity. The discussion pays special attention to the park’s assemblage of liberal and disciplinary spatial techniques, its connection to broader agencies beyond core state apparatuses, and their effect on the advent of an integral state formation.