Elden’s talk for University of Kentucky visit

Stuart has released his abstract for his forthcoming visit to the University of Kentucky (March, 2012) under the auspices of our Committee on Social Theory.

Secure the Volume: Vertical Geopolitics and the Depth of Power

We all-too-often think of the spaces of geography as areas, not volumes. Territories are bordered, divided and demarcated, but not understood in terms of height and depth. ‘Secure the area’ is a common expression for the military and police, but what happens if another dimension is taken into account and we think what it means to ‘secure the volume’? How do questions of height change how we understand the space of the world? What happens if we think of the vertical as much as the horizontal? In this talk I will draw on the emergent literature on vertical geopolitics – works by Weizman, Graham, Gregory, Williams, Adey et. al. – and Peter Sloterdijk’s work on spheres, but also look at what happens below the surface, with a particular focus on tunnels. As Foucault suggests, “the vertical is not one of the dimensions of space, it is the dimension of power”. The world does not just exist as a surface; security goes up and down; space is volumetric.


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