Las Torres de Lucca. International Journal of Political Philosophy, Vol 6, No 10 (2017)

On Parks, Squares and Oases: an Exploration ofn the Political Spaces in Hannah Arendt

Edgar Straehle


In this paper, I will explore the interpretation of space in Hannah Arendt’s thinking. For this purpose, I will examine the narrow relationship between space and power and I will take as an example the occupation and appropriation of People’s Park in Berkeley, which Arendt mentioned in On Violence. Afterwards, I will analyse how the reaction of the authorities focused their efforts on the recuperation of the occupied park, which turned into a space of power, and how they tried to reduce the protesters to impotence. In the third section, I will develop what Arendt understands by “desert” and “oasis” and I will explain why, according to this thinker, she considered that our world was threatened by a process of desertification that suppresses the political. Finally, I will show that political spaces depend on their relational dimension and cannot be merely identified with only one kind of spaces.