Return to Bibliography
Soja, Edward. Thirdspace: Journeys to Los Angeles and Other Real and Imagined Spaces. Cambridge, MA: Blackwell, 1996.
In Thirdspace, Edward Soja accomplishes three things. First, he defines his concept of “Thirdspace,” a notion of space that combines spatiality with sociality and historicality. Thirdspace is an interdisciplinary idea of space, history, and society that treats the micro-geographies of the everyday with as much seriousness as it treats the macro-geographies of larger historical trends. Both of these geographies are crucial for a nuanced interpretation of the site under investigation. Soja's second goal is to chart an intellectual history of Thirdspace. He does this by doing a close reading of both Lefavbre and Michel Foucault, as well as drawing on Anna Deavere Smith's Twilight LA, the work of Gayatri Spivak, and Gloria Anzaldua's idea of the borderlands. For Soja, Thirdspace is “an-Other” space, a sprawling, radical zone created and populated by the marginalized (10). Finally, Soja does a close reading of Los Angeles, examining the city as a site of historical activism through the Power of Place project, a site of panoptic power through Citadel-LA, and as a site of potential through his comparison of LA with Amsterdam. Thirdspace offers the reader a whirlwind primer in Soja's theoretical apparatus through his in-depth excerpts and careful charting of his intellectual evolution. Ultimately, this charting is one of Thirdspace's most potent aspects. Soja's use of excerpts expose the reader to his myriad influences, and emphasizes the many ways Thirdspace can be used as a radical, libratory concept. [M. Velazquez]