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Auerbach Lecture | 03.06.2024 | 6 pm

Susanne Mohr (English sociolinguistics, Trondheim): Exclusive flows? The Discursive and Communicative Construction of Offline and Online Spaces in Zanzibar


The present epoch will perhaps be above all the epoch of space (Foucault 1984).

The occupation with place, as a geographical construct, and space, as a social one, is not new. According to Foucault (1984) theorizing about space, in particular, dates back to the Middle Ages, when a clear hierarchy between, e.g., sacred and profane, protected and open spaces existed. Since then, our conceptualization of space has changed gradually. In our contemporary, globalized world, the interconnection of spaces has been increasingly emphasized, especially in theories on globalization and transnational flows (e.g., Tomlinson 1999; Vertovec 1999). Yet, this seems ignorant of the reality of many postcolonial societies and/in developing countries, where there are often spaces that are exclusive to affluent foreigners (from the Global North).

This lecture will discuss communicative patterns in and discourses creating such spaces in Zanzibar, with particular reference to the role of (yoga) tourism. It draws on ethnographical data from fieldwork in Zanzibar and online data from advertisements. The aim of the lecture is to consider these spaces in relation to the creation of visible and invisible borders, and in light of concepts such as utopia, idealized sites with no corresponding place in the real world, and heterotopia as counter-sites.


Foucault, M. (1984). “Of Other Spaces, Heterotopias.” Translated from Architecture, Mouvement, Continuité 5: 46-49.

Tomlinson, J. (1999). Globalization and Culture. Cambridge: Polity Press.

Vertovec, S. (1999). Conceiving and Researching Transnationalism. Ethnic Racial Studies 22(2): 447–462.

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