Brenner N, 1998, "Between fixity and motion: accumulation, territorial organization, and the historical geography of spatial scales" Environment and Planning D: Society and Space 16(4) 459 – 481
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Between fixity and motion: accumulation, territorial organization, and the historical geography of spatial scales
Received 12 March 1997; in revised form 7 January 1998
Abstract. During the last decade, discussions of geographical scale and its social production have proliferated. Building upon this literature, in particular the writings of Lefebvre and Harvey, I investigate the implications of the contradiction between fixity and motion in the circulation of capital -- between capital's necessary dependence on territory or place and its space-annihilating tendencies -- for the production of spatial scale under capitalism. I elaborate the notion of a 'scalar fix' to theorize the multiscalar configurations of territorial organization within, upon, and through which each round of capital circulation is successively territorialized, deterritorialized, and reterritorialized. These multiscalar configurations of territorial organization position geographical scales within determinate, hierarchical patterns of interdependence and thereby constitute a relatively fixed and immobile geographical infrastructure for each round of capital circulation. Drawing upon Lefebvre's neglected work De l'État, I argue that the scalar structures both of cities and of territorial states have been molded ever more directly by the contradiction between fixity and motion in the circulation of capital since the late 19th century, when a 'second nature' of socially produced sociospatial configurations was consolidated on a world scale. On this basis a schematic historical geography of scalar fixes since the late 19th century is elaborated that highlights the key role of the territorial state at once as a form of territorialization for capital and as an institutional mediator of uneven geographical development on differential, overlapping spatial scales. From this perspective, the current round of globalization can be interpreted as a multidimensional process of re-scaling in which both cities and states are being reterritorialized in the conflictual search for 'glocal' scalar fixed.
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