Paasi A, 1991, "Deconstructing regions: notes on the scales of spatial life" Environment and Planning A 23(2) 239 – 256
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Deconstructing regions: notes on the scales of spatial life
Received 16 March 1990; in revised form 22 May 1990
Abstract. The author examines the fundamental categories of geographical thought: region, locality, and place, the keywords in geographical discourse during the 1980s. The relation of these categories to the sociocultural context and the everyday practices of individuals is discussed, and a reinterpretation of the concept of region as a sociocultural and historical category is put forward. The region is comprehended as a historically contingent process whose institutionalisation consists of four stages: the development of territorial, symbolic, and institutional shape and its establishment as an entity in the regional system and social consciousness of the society. During the institutionalisation process a region becomes an established entity -- with a specific regional identity -- which is acknowledged in different spheres of social action and consciousness and which is continually reproduced in individual and institutional practices. The constitution of the local or regional consciousness of individuals is interpreted through the concept of place, which refers to personal experience and meanings contained in personal life-histories. These concepts together promote an understanding of how regions can be created and reproduced as part of the regional transformation of society and how individuals are contextualised into this process by reproducing region-specific structures of expectations. Generation is suggested as a mediating category for comprehending the relations between region and place.
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