Via Mor Naaman
I am a very iterative writer, but although the process of drafting is very much a familiar one, sometimes it still makes me sad to surrender text that I can only begrudgingly admit doesn’t belong in the final version. Below are footnotes that I’ve stripped in the most recent round of revising the dissertation. I can’t attest to their grammatical correctness, topical relevance or conceptual rigor, nor am I interested in providing context. It would, I suppose, be fun to have a kind of poll where people vote for a footnote to be reinstated, but I think I’ll just leave them here as a testament to the long, long writing process that is my little life right now.
- Having lived in three of New York City’s five burroughs, Queens has always seemed to me the most logically ordered. Addresses in Queens consist of four digits divided in half by a hyphen; on avenues, the first two digits correspond to the street to the West, on streets to the avenue to the north, such that every address effectively includes a cross street. Longtime Queens residents have sometimes looked at me in wide-eyed shock when I point this out, another indication of the ability of newcomers to spot the contours of infrastructure that are invisible to natives (Bowker & Star, 1999). Other hidden indicators of placement include the serial numbers on Central Park lamp posts that indicate one’s cross street. From a Latourian perspective, these lampposts are a sort of perennially underemployed tour guide.
- Sassen’s (1990) work on global cities can be read in terms of technological fluency and affordances, where there are stark contrasts between the hyperprivileged, empowered financial workers and an ultra-poor underclass providing very different labor and technologies. This is an issue not only of what technologies enable these kinds of global trade (leading to the development of global cities) but also how access to these technologies constitutes its own kind of inculcating privilege. Influenced by Sassen, Caldeira’s (1996) work on fortified enclaves of Sao Paulo demonstrated ways in which technologies highlight efforts to ensure class separation, as in her example of side-by-side elevators segregated by use for mansion residents and home servants.
- Noely’s comment was particularly striking to me in that as someone with access to a car and who enjoyed cycling, Noely was one of the most mobile people I interviewed. In fact, Noely made this comment about immobility while sitting 30 feet from her bike, a striking literalization of feeling physically trapped without access to digital maps, even as one has other tools of mobility.
- On this topic, Baldassare (1992) has written on the construction of post-industrialization’s effects on suburban space from a sociological perspective, and Alba, Logan, Stults, Marzan and Zhang (1999) have written specifically on immigration to the suburbs.
- One could draw conceptual connections between Simmel’s (1969) construct of the blasé and Benjamin (1999) on flânerie. Bull (2000) discussed at length the use of flânerie in urban studies in his text on the use of personal stereos in city life (p. 140-143), arguing that the term has largely been misused in studies of everyday urban life. I am less interested in the blasé as a result of city life and more as a process. What is the trajectory from stimulation to the blasé? Is it possible (or useful) to think of this process among the migrational as one of becoming familiar with one’s urban surroundings?