Category: Centrality and the City

Hereford Map, Jerusalem again as centre and the Translatio Imperii

We said that the “centre of the world” is a notion which always stems from social construction, from human perception and not from a physical reality. In this regard we do know, today, that Jerusalem is not a physical centre of our Planet; unless we followed the idea that all points of the Planet are its centre: so Jerusalem would be one out of an infinity.

Mapping Roman legions: how “limits” tell about the centre

Centrality can tell about itself right from the centre ‘where power dwells,’ even if its narrative is usually charged with ideology: discourse analysis of the centre can be useful when done in critical préjugés-free ways.

But how periphery, borders, frontiers, “outsiders”, “outskirts”, limits, limitates can tell about the centre and about power dwelling in this centre? How can they tell its development, apogee, decadence, decline and even collapse? We can see the example of the Roman Empire.

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.

Jerusalem at the very centre of the World, Bunting’s Map and social construction

Jerusalem is at the centre, if not the physical, at least the symbolic one of our World. We know that, in respect of the world’s shape, its “centre” stems from social construction and choices, and not “natural” or physical reasons. One famous map, Bunting’s Cloverleaf Map of the World, is a good example of this socially-constructed centrality.

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