In quotidian life, the encounter in space is an encounter of active bodies. It does not occur in a void, but rather within a relational dimension that has been shaped by semantic chisels and interwoven with stories, narrations, and both “real” and “imaginary” recollections. These features of quotidian life are especially apparent inside contexts of multicultural coexistence. Within them, the perception of any given object, event, or subject, is a synthesis of its spatial and semiotic contiguities, formed by sequences of relations and connections that bring about its occurrence. The significance of each entity which “occupies” space is the epitome, the condensation, of previous experiences actualized through memory as well as the possible future implications presentified by imagination. Therefore, that which “is” and its space of existence depend on the configuration of the context of experience and signification. Lived spaces are, however, social spaces, and as such are targets of axiological, teleological and normative projections. Understanding the space of coexistence implies, therefore, an analysis of its connections with categorical and normative “scansions” that give “rhythm” to its use and mold its meaning. The result of such “semiotic-spatial workings” will be proactively embodied into the cultural, psycho-physical and irreflexive perception of space, so engendering its cosality (or thingness).
The reciprocal implications between subjectivity, spatiality and categorization can be effectively understood through the spectrum of a typical feature of housing coexistence: nuisance law. This essay proposes an interdisciplinary reading (anthropological, sociological, semiotic, and chorological) of this legal category. Toward this effort we rely on an ethnographic survey carried out in a multicultural condominium called “Hotel House,” consisting of 460 apartments and inhabited by almost 2000 people (95% of which are first or second-generation immigrants). This multi-ethnic lived space works as an arena for discursive negotiations within which people can learn to come to terms with difference and, day by day, re-invent their social borders and arrangements for cooperation when confronted with Otherness.
The outcome of such an in-field analysis leads to the recognition of human rights and their intercultural use as an interface suitable for conveying translation and interpenetration between physical and cultural, close and remote, spaces of experience. Such translational and transactional practices allow for the emersion of a space for multicultural coexistence endowed with the effectiveness inherent in the normativity of law. It appears as a chorological dimension, within which sign and matter, subject and space, categories and geography/topography, together, rearticulate their connotations along a continuum of sense and experience that finds in the condominium and its process of apart-ment (separation/seclusion) both a metaphor and a laboratory for the possibilities of global coexistence, that is, a worldominium.
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