2008 volume 26(3) pages 389 – 401

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Jessop B, Brenner N, Jones M, 2008, "Theorizing sociospatial relations" Environment and Planning D: Society and Space 26(3) 389 – 401

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Theorizing sociospatial relations

Bob Jessop, Neil Brenner, Martin Jones

Received 7 October 2007; in revised form 24 October 2007

Abstract. This essay seeks to reframe recent debates on sociospatial theory through the introduction of an approach that can grasp the inherently polymorphic, multidimensional character of sociospatial relations. As previous advocates of a scalar turn, we now question the privileging, in any form, of a single dimension of sociospatial processes, scalar or otherwise. We consider several recent sophisticated ‘turns’ within critical social science; explore their methodological limitations; and highlight several important strands of sociospatial theory that seek to transcend the latter. On this basis, we argue for a more systematic recognition of polymorphy—the organization of sociospatial relations in multiple forms—within sociospatial theory. Specifically, we suggest that territories (T), places (P), scales (S), and networks (N) must be viewed as mutually constitutive and relationally intertwined dimensions of sociospatial relations. We present this proposition as an extension of recent contributions to the spatialization of the strategic-relational approach (SRA), and we explore some of its methodological implications. We conclude by briefly illustrating the applicability of the ‘TPSN framework’ to several realms of inquiry into sociospatial processes under contemporary capitalism.

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