Abstract The societal practices, symbol systems and artefacts that form sociology's field of study are shifting in their spatial reach. Terms like internationalization, globalization, glocalization or transnationalization denote an (at least perceived) increase in the flow of information, commodities and capital across nation-state borders as well as an unprecedented ease of human spatial mobility. Situated in the wider research programme of transnationalism, in this article I present a typology of geographic-societal spatial configurations, of which transnationalism is one of several ideal types. Distinguishing explicitly between an absolutist and a relativist approach to space and applying this to geographic and societal spaces, the article puts forward a framework for discussing how shifts in the geographic reach of the societal are taking place. The case of General Motors provides an example of how such a typology could be applied. The article concludes by discussing some consequences for future empirical research.