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In her play, Watsonville: Some Place Not Here, Cherrie Moraga subverts and critiques capitalist spatial practice through the play's counter-production of a communal, resistant thirdspace. This spatial critique and counter-production in the play occur in the central California town of Watsonville within a confluence of events that include a labor strike by migrant cannery workers, the appearance of la Virgen de Guadalupe on a tree, anda 7.5 magnitude earthquake. Through these events, and the specific spatial parameters in which they occur, Moraga's play focuses on how space is both produced, and resisted, under capitalista, whose dominant spatial regulations represent what spatial theorist Henri Lefebvre describes as a "normative and repressive efficacy ... that makes the efficacy of mete ideologies ... pale in comparison" (358). In Watsonville, a "thirdspace" sense of real-and-imagined place serves to disrupt and subvert the "normative and repressive efficacy" of this kind of dominant space through an integration of overlapping communal faith, action, and struggle against oppression; the visual realm; and, interaction with nature. In order to provide a sense of exactly what Moraga's play challenges, I first outline capitalist spatial practices in more detail, drawing on Lefebvre's spatial analysis and on thirdspace theorization, and focusing briefly on the specific colonialist spatial experiences of Chicanas/os / Latinas/os in the Americas. I then explore how the play critiques this capitalist, colonizing space and spatial experience through its description of an alternative thirdspace. Lefebvre's Marxist spatial analysis details how dominant spatial regulations impose an alienating spatial regime that maps prohibited and allowed activities, movements, and subjectivity formations according to capital's interests (Lefebvre 143; Brady 8). (l) Subjection to this alienating space results in individuals' abstraction from lived experience and from themselves. At the same time, as Dear and Leclerc point out, the hierarchy of this space unevenly distributes environments according to resource wealth (19). Effective opposition to capital's interests and domination, then, must contest its spatial practice, as well as open and explore alternative spaces and spatial concepts that counter this alienation through a re-integrative mode. For Edward Soja, such opposition entails production and exploration of what he identifies as a "Thirdspace," one that "open [s] ... spatial imaginations to ways of thinking and acting ... that respond to all binarisms, to any attempt to confine thought and ... action to only two alternatives" (5). Soja describes this Thirdspace as "[s]imultaneously real and imagined and more (both and also)" (11), a reference to bell hooks' notion of how "spaces can be real and imagined ... can be interrupted, appropriated, and transformed through artistic and literary practice" (152). Thirdspace emerges in part, then, as part of an imaginative response to capitalist spatial practices. More specifically, it can be seen as a response to the production of what Lefebvre identifies as "abstract space." This is the space of the middle classes, comprising complex, interlocking networks of financial, information, and transport systems that produce an illusion of non-violence through social processes designed to invisify this production with a false transparency (37, 53). This illusion of non-violence paradoxically conceals, through this facade of transparency, the real violence behind these network systems (56-7). (2) Lefebvre describes how the violence of this abstract process hides behind an "absence" that arises not only from the disintegration of communal space (53), but from what he calls the "lethal" use of signs to impose abstraction onto nature (289). Examples of this process include the designation of spaces as "nature" of "not nature" according to capitalist needs, as well as the related imposition of linear time onto nat

22 September
University of Northern Colorado, Department of Hispanic Studies
The Gale Group, Inc., a Delaware corporation and an affiliate of Cengage Learning, Inc.

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