City of Rhetoric Chapter 1, Part Two Analysis

In Chapter one, part two of City of Rhetoric, David Fleming’s main argument is that while architecturally and physically we are inherently polarized, society must begin to emphasize unity of being and the importance “place.” He argues this point through displaying how technologically and geographically, we are divided yet intrinsically connected as well.

Fleming’s use of “space” as a factor for argument and juxtaposition molds Chapter 1, part two of the book. He states that as a whole, “space is plastic and we can mold it to our purposes . . .allowing us to come together yet remain distinct” (Fleming 24). Through this statement, Fleming is displaying the different ways in which space can be defined and represented in society. While space has the ability to separate us physically, mentally, and emotionally from those around us, with that same aptitude, space can unite us.

Innovations in technology have made people dependent on online media, and in a sense, has made it more difficult for face-to-face confrontations. It has “allowed us. . . to ignore one another and the world we hold common” (Fleming 32), while at the same time allowed us to connect with those near and far easier. Recent technologies have “made place more important”(Fleming 33), by allowing us to further appreciate the world we live in and the experiences we share.

Along with technology’s impact, Fleming also portrays how geographically, space has affected our mannerisms and the way we live our lives. It gives us the ability to be  “everywhere and nowhere at once” (Fleming 30), in the sense of being interconnected while physically separated by space. “Cities have become obsolete” (Fleming 24), and as generations continue, we are becoming increasingly mobile. Our inner drive to “restlessly travel,” (Fleming 30) to experience the world, and to discover ourselves through space and time has increased. However, with this placed importance on travel and the constant movement, Fleming also argues that throughout our daily lives we are “surprisingly situated”(Fleming 31). That as time has passed,  “our mobility has not made place unimportant,” (Fleming 32) but has rather made “the ground under our feet. . .surprisingly important to us”(Fleming 33).

The argument Fleming poses throughout Chapter one, part 2, depicts how space presents difficulties and benefits to technology and geography. Through technology, society has placed itself in a constant exchange between physical presence and digital interactions with others. Technology has enabled us to be interconnected yet separated, codependent yet detached, and united yet inharmonious. Using this same juxtaposition, Fleming also displays how geographically we tend to be interested in travel and humanly nomadic in a sense, while still finding the desire to stay motionless. The juxtaposing statement’s Fleming describes throughout the chapter as well as the entire book gives the reader depth into his thought process. Fleming finds his point to be relevant because he believes the concept of space needs to be embedded into our “theories of civic identity and interaction” (Fleming 37). Space can be applied to our political and  philosophical practicalities in order to create a more unified and interdependent society.