2004 volume 22(2) pages 209 – 228
doi:10.1068/d325t

Cite as:
Osborne T, Rose N, 2004, "Spatial phenomenotechnics: making space with Charles Booth and Patrick Geddes" Environment and Planning D: Society and Space 22(2) 209 – 228

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Spatial phenomenotechnics: making space with Charles Booth and Patrick Geddes

Thomas Osborne, Nikolas Rose

Received 21 January 2003; in revised form 19 May 2003

Abstract. There are many ways in which humans articulate themselves through their 'spatiality'. One neglected aspect of a historical anthropology of spatial relations and modes of existence concerns the role of the human and social sciences. Drawing on Gilles Deleuze and Felix Guattari's multifaceted distinction between 'smooth' space and 'striated' space, we propose some ways to analyse the logics of spatialisation at work in the social sciences. We take as case studies the writings of two 'technicians of space', Charles Booth and Patrick Geddes, together with some of their contemporaries. The paper is intended as a contribution not to the 'history of ideas' but to contemporary debates about human spatiality. Whilst some postmodern 'affirmations' of space counterpose abstract disciplinary 'striated' technologies of spatial regulation to nonabstractionist 'smooth' modes of spatiality, we take a different perspective. In doing so, we suggest some non-'historical' uses to which we might put the history of the social sciences today. We also try to demonstrate some of the merits of an empiricist approach rather than a postmodernist approach to questions of spatiality.

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