Poetic Metrics

Unfolding Dissent in Intensive Space

  • Scott W. Schwartz CUNY Graduate Center
Keywords: Measurement, Capitalism, Algorithmic governance, Causality, Climate change, Object-oriented ontology, poetics


This work traces a distinction between the extensive optics of capitalized knowledge production that engender extraction and accumulation, and an intensive optics that relies on integration and errantry. This distinction reflects the extensive and intensive properties observed in physics and measurement. Within, I map this distinction onto notions of narrative and poetic causality. At heart, this work is concerned with operationalizing the social changes necessary to halt the perpetually accelerating asymmetrical growth of wealth that beckons the mass extinctions of the Anthropocene and manifests injustice and inequity around the globe. To such ends, this discussion unites threads within philosophy, physics, and literature that posit causality as emergent and contingent, as opposed to sequential and teleological. That is, this article allies itself with the stance that time and space are not extensive qualities of a pre-existing universe, but rather intensive affordances that emerge through material interaction. I attempt to deploy these strands of theory toward political engagement with a novel form of non-cumulative measurement to destabilize the data-based epistemology used to justify inhuman development policies. Specifically, I examine the increased neoliberalization of urban space over the past decades, and the effects of this homogenization on public demonstrations of outrage and dissent.

Author Biography

Scott W. Schwartz, CUNY Graduate Center

Ph.D. Candidate


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How to Cite
Schwartz, Scott. 2019. “Poetic Metrics”. ACME: An International Journal for Critical Geographies 18 (2), 264-84. https://acme-journal.org/index.php/acme/article/view/1709.