Christian Abrahamsson, Topoi/Graphein: Mapping the Middle in Spatial Thought – University of Nebraska Press, 2018, with preface by Gunnar Olsson
In Topoi/Graphein Christian Abrahamsson maps the paradoxical limit of the in-between to reveal that to be human is to know how to live with the difference between the known and the unknown. Using filmic case studies, including Code Inconnu, Lord of the Flies, and Apocalypse Now, and focusing on key concerns developed in the works of the philosophers Deleuze, Olsson, and Wittgenstein, Abrahamsson starts within the notion of fixed spatiality, in which human thought and action are anchored in the given of identity. He then moves through a social world in which spatiotemporal transformations are neither fixed nor taken for granted. Finally he edges into the pure temporality that lies beyond the maps of fixed points and social relations.
Each chapter is organized into two subjects: topoi, or excerpts from the films, and graphein, the author’s interpretation of presented theories to mirror the displacements, transpositions, juxtapositions, fluctuations, and transformations between delimited categories. A landmark work in the study of human geography, Abrahamsson’s book proposes that academic and intellectual attention should focus on the spatialization between meaning and its materialization in everyday life.“Readers with an interest in spatial theory or cinematic geography should obviously appreciate this work, but so should anyone who wants to understand how a world falls apart and continues to fall apart.”—Marcus A. Doel, Social and Cultural Geography“Topoi/Graphein poses the most profound philosophical and conceptual questions concerning the human condition from a compelling geographical perspective. A sustained meditation on our engagement with the world, it journeys over remarkably wide-ranging territory, delivering valuable insights with an uncommon intensity of thought. This is a heavyweight work that wears its profundity lightly.”—David B. Clarke, professor of human geography and head of the Department of Geography at Swansea University“Generations of scholars have identified their respective positions with reference to landmark propositions emanating from singular publications. Topoi/Graphein holds the promise of becoming such a book for a coming generation. It tackles its subject matter with considerable verve and elegant style.”—Ulf Strohmayer, professor of geography at the National University of Ireland, Galway