The Politics of loitering in millennial Britain: Tiqqun’s ‘Rapport à la S.A.S.C...’


This article focuses on a piece written by Tiqqun, the French philosophical collective, in 2001. ‘Rapport à la S.A.S.C. concernant un dispositif impérial’, published in their second journal Tiqqun 2, is a psychogeographical ‘report’ submitted to the Society for the Advancement of Criminal Science, a fake authority invented by the authors. The report surveys the rise, through the late nineties and early two-thousands, of a particular kind of suburban mega-mall, as epitomised by the newly-opened ‘Bluewater’ shopping centre in Kent. Tiqqun characterise this emerging mall culture as presenting a new type of ‘apparatus,’ [dispositif], one they claim will produce a particular kind of consumerist subjectivity. Focusing on an incident that Tiqqun describe, my article takes a genealogical approach to reading the implications of what unfolds, homing in on three strands of enquiry. I analyse the figure of the loiterer in millennial Britain, using the concept of ‘spatial justice’ and the more recent but related idea of ‘spatio-legality’ and I consider the relationship between gender, surveillance and consumption in contemporary shopping malls. Drawing on Derrida’s work on ‘hospitality’, I try to uncover the contradictions in the way Bluewater welcomes and treats its ‘invited guests’, as it describes customers in its glossy brochure. Tying these enquiries together, I argue that Tiqqun’s article functions as a kind of ‘non-standard’ manifesto, one designed to force readers to recognise the highly constructed and regulated nature of the contemporary consumerist experience.

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