Category: Centres and Centralities

Downtown Beirut and the bitter taste of a “reconstructed” supposed-to-be-centrality

Pre-war Beirut used to be the apparent centre of the Middle East: highly specialised economy, advanced tourist services, great cultural manifestations, and a beautiful strategic geographical situation. Unfortunately this is no more the case: Beirut, in spite of the reconstruction plan, has not been able to reclaim its lost supposed-to-be-centrality. One can go far and argue that Beirut was never a “real” centre, that is, where decision is made and where real power abides.

“Le Sacré et le Profane” de Mircea Eliade ou le désir du centre

La recherche du centre (et du Centre), tel est l’objectif de cet ouvrage passionnant de Mircea Eliade. L’auteur a bien cherché le centre dans ses écrits: il lui a consacré plusieurs recherches dont La nostalgie des origines (1971) et Psychologie et histoire des religions. A propos du symbolisme du “centre” (1951). Mais Le sacré et le profane peut être considéré comme le sommet de ses réflexions sur le sujet. Le livre est écrit en allemand, Das Heilige et das Profane, en 1956 puis traduit en plusieurs langues, dont le français et a eu un grand succès dans les sciences des religions et sciences sociales.

Power’s jargon and texts. “Le plaisir du texte” of Roland Barthes

“For each jargon (each fiction) fights for hegemony; if power is on its side, it spreads everywhere in the general and daily occurrences of social life, it becomes doxa, nature: this is the supposedly apolitical jargon of politicians, of agents of the State, of the media, of conversation; but even out of power, even when power is against it, the rivalry is reborn, the jargons split and struggle among themselves. A ruthless topic rules the life of language; language always comes from some place, it is a warrior topos.”

Painful beginnings of Central Place Theory

Academic disciplines like geography and urban studies can be represented, sometimes, by the famous Christallerian Model. In fact the Central Place Theory (or model) has become emblematic for geographers, urban planners, economists, amongst others. It is a well known information that this model was conceived, theoretically, in the doctoral thesis of Walter Christaller, presented in 1933. But do many know when and where its first “practices” were?

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