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Enacting airports: space, movement and modes of ordering

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal article

Published

Journal publication date11/2008
JournalOrganization
Journal number6
Volume15
Number of pages20
Pages869-888
Original languageEnglish

Abstract

In the era of an increasingly `light' and `liquid' modernity (Bauman, 2000) airports appear to be privileged and distinctive sites of organization, constitutive of what Castells calls a `space of flows' that is helping to extend and integrate the so-called `network age' of global economy and `glocal' culture. This paper draws on original empirical research at Fulchester International Airport and studies the movement of various subjects and objects (including passengers, bags and aeroplanes) as they are assembled and disassembled by `modes of ordering' to facilitate the flows of exchange and interaction that for Castells binds the physically disjointed positions of social actors in contemporary global organization. Our study explores the ways in which digital information and communications technology creates `spectral' and uncanny phenomena that feeds back into the here-and-now of mundane, organizational reality. We find that an emergent hybridity between the dimensions of the virtual and the real opens up an intensive space that seems to extend the becoming of a `post-human' ontology; but in so doing it also provokes the return of a recalcitrant and unpredictable mass.