Review Essay: Zur Relevanz des ethnografischen Blicks bei der sozial- und kulturwissenschaftlichen Erforschung von Orten und Räumen [Researching Place and Space in the Social Sciences and Cultural Studies: The Relevance of the Ethnographic Approach]

Cornelia Siebeck


Given the so-called "spatial turn" in the social sciences and cultural studies, social geographers have rightfully been cautioning against positivist notions of space and place: We cannot simply deduce the social from spatial reality—on the contrary, this reality is in every respect itself socially constituted and mediated. In her highly recommended study on the esthetical and socio-political reshaping of Alexanderplatz in Berlin after 1990, Gisa WESZKALNYS has shown how a radical constructivist concept of place and space can be transformed into practical research. This review essay argues that an ethnographic research perspective is of particular relevance both epistemologically as well as methodologically if the aim is to reconstruct places and spaces beyond their perceived "actuality" in terms of a fundamentally contingent social and essentially political practice.



ethnography; research on place and space; spatial turn; social anthropology; German unification; urban planning; Berlin; civil society

Copyright (c) 2011 Cornelia Siebeck

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