The Sociology of Space: A Use–Centered View

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Abstract

The revival of spatial sociology justifies a renewed exploration of the various connections between “space” and “society.” I argue that sociologists must avoid both the reification of space and studies that mainly demonstrate that all social life exists in space. Instead, researchers should focus on the causal relations between space and society: (1) on the few but important ways in which natural space affects social life and collectivities; and (2) on the innumerable ways in which these collectivities turn natural space into social space and shape its uses. Treating use, users, and effects as primary concepts, the paper discusses a variety of topics in spatial sociology to illustrate my causal point and to suggest research and other questions that deserve answers.

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