Blog Post 2—Re-orientation Exercise

lighthouse

In my previous blog post I had talked about how the lighthouse on the waterfront in Fredericton was one of my favorite spaces. When I pictured that spot I imagined that it was summer and that was sunny out because otherwise it normally would not be open to the public. This space is restricted to all bodies depending on season and weather conditions.
Aside from the limitations imposed by the weather, the lighthouse is also a space reserved for those who can afford the food at the restaurant inside the lighthouse. The food is fairly expensive so this space is therefore intended for an upper-middle class clientele. If there are tables available on the deck then anyone is welcome to sit in those empty chairs, but if there are customers’ looking for seats their presence takes priority over those that have not ordered any food.
Because this is a public space, those who do not respect typical dining rules are not welcome. For example, those entering the space that talk extremely loudly or cause a ruckus will sense other guest’s dismay by means of dirty looks and maybe even remarks. It is through these subtle actions that the dominant class (those with pre-determined amounts of money) shapes the body, orientation, embodiment, and lived experience of others frequenting the space. There is pressure for other guests to conform to the “normal” behaviors of this space from those dominating it because they re-produce and reinforce this behavior.
Although the regulation of the space is largely social, (the space is physically accessible to anyone thanks to a ramp and stairs) there are physical effects. Because of this “hierarchy” of guests, those who do not feel they are a part of this upper class might, for example, avoid the space entirely. Age, race, gender, sexual orientation, etc. are all factors by which these visitors judge whether or not they would be “qualified” to enter the space. In other words, individuals must assess whether or not they think they would be welcomed into the space (by entering unnoticed) based on who usually frequents the space.

This supposed social rejection or exclusion of certain people at the lighthouse is an example of the final third of Lefebvre’s triad: spatial practice of a society. Lefebvre explains that “in terms of social space, and of each member of a given society’s relationship to that space, this cohesion implies a guaranteed level of competence and a specific level of performance” (290). In other words, the typical lighthouse restaurant-goers conform to the behavior that is already practiced and reproduced there and end up reproducing that behavior which affects others (both usual clients and unusual guests).

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