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Spaces of Abandonment: Genealogies, Lives and Critical Horizons

Leshem, N.

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Abandonment has a long presence in Western cultural, philosophical and legal canon, though most contemporary critical debates focus on its sovereign and juridico-political functions. This article considers the concept of abandonment through its more nuanced and multidimensional appearances: at once a political technology and a material economy, a juridical category and a sphere of intimacy. Following the longer conceptual history of abandonment, from its Greco-Roman sources to the present, the article sheds light on abandonment as a systemic political technology, its evolution and significance in different social and political contexts. Drawing on notions of abandonment that remain outside Western intellectual corpus—primarily in early Jewish jurisprudence—this article seeks a more nuanced and expansive understanding of this concept. Closely reading a case documenting the fatal abandonment of one Palestinian man in 2008, the article highlights a myriad of agents, materialities, relations and infrastructures that join in the production and perpetuation of the abandoned present.


Leshem, N. (2017). Spaces of Abandonment: Genealogies, Lives and Critical Horizons. Environment and Planning D: Society and Space, 35(4), 620-636.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Nov 15, 2016
Online Publication Date Dec 11, 2016
Publication Date Aug 1, 2017
Deposit Date Nov 15, 2016
Publicly Available Date Nov 15, 2016
Journal Environment and Planning D: Society and Space
Print ISSN 0263-7758
Electronic ISSN 1472-3433
Publisher SAGE Publications
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 35
Issue 4
Pages 620-636
Public URL


Accepted Journal Article (421 Kb)

Copyright Statement
Leshem, Noam (2017) 'Spaces of abandonment : genealogies, lives and critical horizons.', Environment and planning D : society and space., 35 (4). pp. 620-636. Copyright © 2016 The Author(s). Reprinted by permission of SAGE Publications.

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