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What is Claustropolitanism?

Since I put it out there a few years ago I keep getting asked what do I mean by my concept of ‘claustropolitanism’. My notion of claustropolitanism is intended to illuminate the global condition in these ‘theoretical times’, especially since the Global Financial Crisis (2007/8). Claustropolitanism has been developed by me as a concept from French urban theorist Paul Virilio’s aphorism that we are moving, in our 21st century world, from ‘cosmopolis to claustropolis’ – the phrase is actually contained in Paul Virilio’s book of interviews, Pure War (3rd edition, Semiotext(e), 2008) with Sylvere Lotringer. What Virilio seems to mean by claustropolis is the gated community and the way in which the ‘good life’ is being colonised (literally, spatially) by the rich and powerful; his own political work for decades has involved ‘housing for the poor’ and started off with his long involvement with the Catholic worker-priests movement in France. Although the Paul Virilio notion is interesting, my own work (beginning with the book We Have Never Been Postmodern: Theory at the Speed of Light) is about developing the idea of claustropolitanism as a part of a coming claustropolitan society. Hence my push for elements of a claustropolitan sociology to be outlined urgently in contemporary work as opposed to the dominant cosmopolitan sociology which has failed in many ways in my view. Claustropolitan sociology (and bunker anthropology, what I see as a new methodology), which I develop a starting framework for in We Have Never Been Postmodern, explicitly rejects the tenets of the cosmopolitan sociology which dominated European Sociology in the 1990s and 2000s and which was completely unprepared for the GFC and its aftermath.This embodies my idea of world society closing in (being foreclosed, in all sorts of senses) and builds on a global sense of ‘claustrophobia’ (Virilio himself is claustrophobic) which involves (again, initially, from Virilio) the idea that we are wanting to leave the planet (which is shrinking technologically and materially). So my argument builds on an initial idea from Paul Virilio but makes it a much more global concept and specific to the post-GFC world for the coming future,