Silence, techné, and hegemony in Gibraltar’s Alameda Garden Bryce Peake School of Journalism & Communication University of Oregon European

and Mediterranean anthropology have seen numerous attempts at explaining the constitution of their respective geographical spaces, having emphasized world systems (Wallerstein 1974), material conditions (Pitt-Rivers 1972), political borders (Boissevain and Friedl 1975, Wolf 1982), and cultural differences (Brunzl 2005, Herzfeld 2003). These claims have produced stimulating ideas about what/where Europe is, yet most have only been able to locate the idea of Europe at an abstract level (Bourdieu 1998/2002). This paper seeks to answer this ‘European question’ by focusing on the techné of listening in the British overseas territory of Gibraltar, arguing that European and British space is made local through cultural practices. Based on 9 months of historical ethnographic research in Gibraltar between 2009-2012, I answer the ‘European question’ by turning to techné as the practicing of British-ness in European Gibraltar and the removal of European-ness from British Gibraltar. I refer here to listening as techné in the Foucault-ian sense, whereby beings are constructed by the practices they have no option but to practice (Sterne 2003). This paper specifically examines the historical strategic deployment and contemporary hegemonic conditions of silence in Gibraltar’s Alameda. Unlike the United States, where silence in parks was part of the theological idealization of greenspaces as idyllic Gardens of Eden, Gibraltar’s Alameda began as a bustling commons space filled with carriages, merchants, and musicians. This changed in 1938, when the early rumblings of World War II drove the British to dismantle the Alameda — first its theatre, then the public yard, then the marching grounds — to build housings for soldiers and ammunition. Concurrently, where the Alameda had previously been material property and discussed as such, archival documents show the appearance of religious descriptions of the remaining gardens starting in early 1939. Ethnographic interviews in Gibraltar have shown that these metaphors are artifacts of a lost cultural strategy to save the Alameda Gardens: Gibraltarians understood “for God and Country” to mean that the English had respect for only two things, and that religion could be used as justification for saving the Alameda. Gibraltarians began describing the Alameda gardens in religious terms of sacred space in hopes of stopping the English destruction of what is now Gibraltar’s only public greenspace. Silence, as a religious artifact, was only pretended – not necessarily practiced. However, after the civilian evacuation of Gibraltar in 1940, it appears that the architects of the strategy were lost, and the metaphors became mythology, mythology that determined practice: the Alameda became the Garden of Eden it was pretended to be, and became silent as a product of reverence. Given the polymorphous perversity of power, that strategy has come to be coopted by coloniality: the silence of the Alameda today erases sonic traces of Other-ness and naturalizes British-ness, in service of heteronormatizing, broadly construed along both race and gender, the British colonial romance between state and nature. Silence is practiced, but not optionally — it is techné from earlier mythology—, and as such has become the means to creating local, antagonistic notions of Europe and Britain.

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