The rhythm of place and the place of rhythm: arguments for idiorhythmy

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This paper examines the relationship between rhythm, place, and race. It argues that Roland Barthes’ concept of idiorhythmy is useful for understanding the politics of rhythm in relation to race. The paper explores how rhythm has been used to think about the interrelatedness of place and mobility–adding dynamism to place. I analyze reactions to the performance of Stravinsky’s Le Sacre du Printemps to demonstrate how rhythm has been culturally and politically encoded through discursive and conceptual links to geographical imaginaries of place. The paper also explores how rhythm has been used to locate Black people in White western thought, and how it has been mobilized in Black and anti-racist thought. The concept of idiorhythmy is used to suggest the radical possibility of places of other rhythms, outside of the dominant rhythms of the world. Throughout the paper, it is argued that an understanding of rhythm is useful for delineating the interplay between place, race, and power.

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Cresswell, T. (2023). The rhythm of place and the place of rhythm: arguments for idiorhythmy. Mobilities, 18(4), 666–676.

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