The Rise of the Productive Non-Place', Space and Culture

In Non-places: Introduction to an Anthropology of Supermodernity, Marc Augé defines the archetypal spaces of globalization. The defining factor for Augé is that non-places are transitory, hence any effect they have on us is temporary. This article addresses the expansion of non-places into spaces of habitation and the consequences that ensue from perpetual exposure. This article proposes that the middle-class office is a non-place. Giorgio Agamben’s “state of exception” provides a framework for understanding the environment of the contemporary precariat office worker. The non-place and the state of exception share properties of explicit democracy, total visibility, and the perpetual necessity of proving one’s innocence and loyalty. The preservation of a sovereign state is transformed in a non-place office into a series of isolated, individual, and anxious performances in an attempt to preserve one’s employment. The explicit availability of the individual worker prevents the appearance of identity and community.