Necessity of Place: Critical Essay

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In ‘Why Place Matters’ by Wilfred M. McClay and Ted V. McAlister, the two authors express the importance of physical place within society. With the advancement of technology and the increase of globalization, the idea of physical place is becoming insignificant in our world today. As a result of rapid technological advances, society feels as though you do not need a physical place to be settled in, because of the way that expeditious technology has made it convenient for commerce, communication, and for transportation of all sorts. Although society may feel as though place is irrelevant, when we as individuals lack the foundation that comes from physical place, we run many risks. Our sense of identity as individual beings, our knowledge of good citizenship, and the realization of our actual selves are at risk. I believe that physical place is necessary for individuals for their sense of identity, stability, and to exercise exceptional citizenship qualities.

Being able to identify with a specific place evokes a sense of identity as well as a sense of belonging. In ‘Moving Around Without Losing Your Roots’ by Gianpiero Petriglieri, the author asserts the importance of ‘home’ for the establishment of our identity. He quotes: “No one wants to follow a stranger. Without some sense of home, nomadic professionals don't become global leaders. They only turn into professional nomads” (Petriglieri, 217). The author shares an instance in his personal life where he was having a conversation with another man who was also observing his children at the pool. Petriglieri was asked where he was from, and that triggered something inside of him. He then realized that he did not have a stable place to identify himself with. As a result, he was perceived as a foreigner, not only to himself, but to the man he was having a conversation with as well. Although, Petriglieri and I have differing opinions on the definition of ‘home’, we both agree that a stable home is essential for our identities and our sense of belonging. Physical place is needed for the grounding of our individual identities, otherwise we become foreign to ourselves and to those that we come in contact with.

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Physical places stabilize, establish, and assist with the recollection of memories that we have made throughout our lives. In my personal life, I can distinctly remember the first house that I moved into from Long Beach to Moreno Valley when I was three years of age. Part of my early childhood was developed in that house. I attended preschool and elementary school while living in that house. Due to that fact, I formed many friendships with people who became some of the very first friends that I have ever made in my life. I am the youngest of six children and all but one of my siblings are at least seven years or more older than me. In that house, all but one of my siblings were living in with me at the time, and I will always cherish and remember that because now I only live with one of my siblings. My siblings and I would always get together on Friday nights, eat food, and watch our favorite movies or shows. I was also sharing a room with my second oldest sister at the time, who has since moved out of the house. Even as a young adult, I still reminisce about the memories that were made in that house. Having a physical place to establish, stabilize and ingrain memories within you is fundamental.

Exceptional citizenship qualities can only be exercised within a physical place. In ‘Infinite Reality’ by Jim Blascovich and Jeremy Bailenson, it is disclosed that our brains cannot differentiate between experiences in reality and experiences in the virtual world. If our brains fail to understand the difference between actuality and fallacy, we lack an understanding of how to conduct ourselves in society. I, in my personal life, know of people who are so consumed by virtual reality that they do not know how to interact with people in their real life. They have become socially awkward as a result of their deep connection with the virtual world. The advancement of technology has made it possible for consumers to experience the virtual world in a more realistic way. Due to this fact, those who are spending an immense amount of time in these virtual realities often lose sight of the citizenship that they possess in the place that they actually live in. Virtual reality has become an actual reality for some, causing them to behave as though they are a citizen of their virtual reality instead of a citizen of an actual place. Without physical places, you cannot express the social skills that are imperative to being a good citizen. Physical places are the foundation for the development of good citizenship.

Tangible places are fundamental for our individual identities, our stability, and for the development of our social skills as citizens. Unfortunately, with the improvement of technology and globalization, the idea of physical place in our society today is becoming irrelevant. If place is deemed unnecessary by our society, our individual identities, our stability, and our ability to express good citizenship qualities are at risk. Without physical place, we lack the ability to be able to identify ourselves. We need a stable, physical place to ground us. Those establishments that we have made within those stable, physical places trigger lasting memories within our minds. As far as citizenship is concerned, how can one exercise good citizenship qualities if they are so consumed by the virtual reality that technology has enabled to become so real, to the point where they identify themselves more with who they are in the virtual world rather than who they are in real life? These qualities develop our social skills and are detrimental to our performance as citizens. A sense of place is the foundation for our identities as individuals, our stability and establishment, as well as our citizenship qualities.

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Necessity of Place: Critical Essay. (2023, September 19). Edubirdie. Retrieved July 14, 2024, from
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