The tactile topologies of Contagion

Deborah P. Dixon, John Paul Jones

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

27 Scopus citations


Can we reconfigure recent work on topological space, so productively brought to bear in an understanding of power in geography, to understand the spatialities of and among flesh, objects and viral life? Here we expand on topology via touch - a 'tactile topology' - that focuses on the material connections among mobile bodies. The engine of topological transformation thus becomes the various materials and forces that grab onto each other, interpenetrating and reassembling at various speeds and intensities, such that diverse proximities and distances, contacts and connections, are made and remade. Grounding our argument via a reading of Steven Soderbergh's 2011 film, Contagion, which tracks the virulent outbreak of a largely fatal zoonotic disease, we speculate on what a tactile topology might feel like, and in particular on what touch implies for the concept of topology.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)223-234
Number of pages12
JournalTransactions of the Institute of British Geographers
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 1 2015


  • Deleuze
  • Hapticality
  • Irigaray
  • Microcalities
  • Topology
  • Touch

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Earth-Surface Processes


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