The chapter focuses, in particular, on the spatialization of racial hierarchy in the contemporary metropolis, and on its relation to three concerns that have been central to the study of American political development: the construction and the maintenance of identities (in the first section), the definition of interests (second section), and the enabling and the constraining of political action (third section). At the same time, it focuses on three properties of space/place that make it distinctive as a site of development. The first is the materiality of physical spaces and places: the fact that people experience them corporeally. This property lends space a distinctive capacity as a mechanism for maintaining and for reproducing identity. The second trait is the legal status places enjoy as property: the fact that, in capitalist regimes, they typically are owned and bought and sold in the form of commodities. This property lends place a distinctive capacity as a mechanism for shaping interests. The third and final trait is space’s relation to practices of governance, and in particular to practices of democratic governance. That governance is spatially grounded, even as relations of power transcend the boundaries defining particular spaces and particular places, lends space a distinctive capacity as a mechanism for shaping political action. Together, this chapter argues,

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The first of the three properties on which the chapter focuses, then, is the materiality of space and place: the fact that people experience physical spaces and places with their bodies. This materiality lends place and space distinctive capacities as mechanisms for the maintenance and for the reproduction of identity.