Departmental Papers (ASC)

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Journal Article

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International Journal of Communication



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I use the term presumptive space to describe public space in which the state withholds full rights of expression, but conceals this fact for political ends. Power is served by the illusion of public space. What is presumptive will always be porous to some uncontrolled degree and may be exploited to communicate dissent. Such reconfigurations of the visible and sayable reveal, as Jacques Rancière writes, (Rancière & Panagia, 2000, p. 125), the buried secret of all social order: “There is no natural principle of domination by one person over another” (Rancière, 1999, p. 79). This is the tactical importance of even the most tightly guarded presumptive space.

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Copyright © 2013 (Carolyn Marvin, Licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution Non-commercial No Derivatives (by-nc-nd). Available at

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Date Posted: 03 February 2015

This document has been peer reviewed.