Capturing Embodied Value and Tacit Knowledge in Hidden Culture

Ms Laura Parsons1

1De Montfort University, Leicester, United Kingdom


There is, as yet, no common usage of the term ‘hidden culture’ within cultural geography scholarship, but there is considerable evidence that some culture remains in a hidden state (Crossick and Kraszynska, 2016; Belfiore, 2018). The idiosyncratic nature of cultural objects and activities which predominantly occur in the domestic or community spheres means that certain forms of knowledge remain uncodified and thus under-valued (Polyani, 1962; Gertler, 2001).

This paper presents a model of capturing value in hidden culture using Leicester, a minority-majority UK city, as a cultural laboratory. Through the medium of domestic and community food cultures, Social Network Analysis illustrates spatial-relational aspects of embodied knowledge transfer in the creation of cultural products. Phenomenological readings of food culture explore how tacit symbolism is unconsciously accepted by communities of practice yet almost impossible to codify for outsiders, thus exacerbating the disconnect between societal groups on the peripheries and UK cultural policy.


A former classical musician, Laura is now a doctoral researcher working in collaboration with Leicester City Council to find a model for capturing and valuing hidden cultural forms. Her research interests include multi-disciplinary practices; creative and cultural industries employment practices; the effects of austerity policies on the creative and cultural industries; arts and cultural regeneration, and the role of creative industries in regional development; the role of HEIs in creative economies; and aligning cultural policy with education, employment and welfare policies.

Simondon, Psychic Individuation, and the Transindividual Unconscious

Dr Andrew Lapworth1

1University of New South Wales, Canberra, Canberra, Australia


Despite decades of critiques, the Freudian image of an interiorised, repressive, and individualized unconscious continues to exert a powerful stranglehold over contemporary geography. In this paper, I locate the productivity of an encounter with the philosophy of Gilbert Simondon in terms of its transformative implications for how we might think the unconscious today. Simondon’s characterisation of the affective-emotive dimension of the unconscious in his text Psychic and Collective Individuation is meant to be anti-Freudian and chiefly intended to counter not only the hylomorphic topography of the psyche, but, just as importantly, the substantialist metaphysics that has accompanied its conceptualisation in psychoanalytic theory. In his text, Simondon presents a thought of the ‘unconscious’ not as an already-individuated substance or entity but instead as a metastable process of individuation. This paper draws out two key implications for contemporary geographical understandings of the unconscious. First, I highlight how Simondon takes us beyond the psychoanalytical fixation on negativity and repression through his understanding of the transductive character of unconscious forces and their imbrication in the creation of new forms of life. Second, I explore how Simondon’s concept of the ‘transindividual’ opens up new possibilities for thinking the relation of unconscious thought and its outside.


Andrew Lapworth is a Lecturer in Cultural Geography at the University of New South Wales, Canberra.

Vertigo: On the pursuit of timelessness and terrestrial transcendence in The Great War Exhibition

Mr Nicholas Haig1

1Massey University


In April 2015, The Great War Exhibition opened in the Old Dominion Museum in Wellington. Created by filmmaker Peter Jackson and at least in financial terms a central component of New Zealand’s centennial commemorations of the First World War, the exhibition featured state of the art immersive environments and interactive technologies, hundreds of colourised photographs, a surfeit of military weaponry and paraphernalia, and numerous full-scale (and often bloody) dioramas.

My focus in this paper is – broadly – with addressing questions relating to the public remembrance of violent legacies. And in particular with questions concerning “emplaced” but “dislocated” memorial representation. Informed by Giorgio Agamben’s theorising around ‘zones of indistinction’ and Slavoj Žižek’s psychoanalytic insights with regard to the ‘screening of the “real”’ and ‘interpassivity,’ the argument that will be put forward in this paper is that exhibition works – and indeed is intended to work – to ensnare visitors in an uncanny and temporally and spatially indeterminate void, a vertiginous (non)space which functions to occlude the possibility of critical reflection. Further to this, I will also explore some of the implications of such approaches to memorialisation and remembrance, that is, the desire to make past events appear here and now.


Based in Nelson, New Zealand, I completed an MA in Museum Studies in 2016 and am currently a Massey University Doctoral candidate. My research focuses on contemporary memorial formations and the social and political functions of museums. I also moonlight as an art critic and curator and have been employed as a research assistant and tutor by Massey since 2016.

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Toward an evolutionary political ecology of neurophysiologic political disposition

Dr John Carr1

1University Of New South Wales, Sydney, Australia


Building upon a growing literature that seeks to locate political identity partially within human neurological physiology, this paper illustrates the possibility that longstanding spatio-political tensions between “left” and “right” have served both evolutionary and ecological functions that are currently subverted by advanced capitalism. New work in psychology suggests that “left/right” politics tend to physiologically correspond to more deeply seeded, often unconscious affective reactions to novelty, difference, threat, and the unexpected. I use this literature to re-read pre-European contact Hawaiian history and political ecology to evaluate the roles physiologically based political disposition might have played in safeguarding the survival of a society that shared many characteristics with our evolutionary forbearers. This review suggests co-development of Hawaiian spatio-political ecologies and approaches to intra-group conflict potentially correspond to a theory of political disposition that holds that “left” approaches help adapt populations to times of plenty while “right” approaches assist survival during scarcity.


John Carr is an urban and legal geographer whose work focuses on the intersections of urban geography, law, planning, and human and non-human environments.    Much of his research engages community based and participatory methodologies. He is currently a Senior Lecturer in Environment and Society at the University of New South Wales. In addition to his PhD in Geography from the University of Washington he also holds a law degree from the University of Texas School of Law. He can be reached at:

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