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Mapping underground London: the cultural politics of nature, technology and humanity
journal contributionposted on 2023-06-07, 16:50 authored by Simon RycroftSimon Rycroft
An understanding of the geographies of resistance benefits from an exploration of alternative geographical imaginations. A focus on the London based counter-culture of the 1960s illustrates this point. The oppositional geographies of the counter-culture can be mapped using the London underground press as both source and object. In doing so, the underground’s peculiar constructions of the relationships between nature, technology and humanity can be traced. The (‘new’) leftist movements of the 1960s are not of primary interest here. Rather, the less conventional forms of cultural politicking from that period are the focus. Factions who were engaged in a range of activities, from the seemingly esoteric production of light-shows, through the ‘weekend hippy’ up from the home counties, to the editors of radical underground papers, attempted to operationalize a range of contemporaneous social, cultural and media theories in their project to redefine the discourse of dissent. In doing so, claims to primordial naturalness were made on the basis that new electronic technologies were extensions of the natural human self and could, if correctly utilized, reinsert nature into culture and consciousness. This same geographical imagination was used as a tool to avoid appropriation. By focusing upon the discursive aspects of resistance it is possible to draw a more nuanced account of the relationship between power and dissent that renders it less polarized and more symbiotic.
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- Geography Publications
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