How to Read Space: Methods for a Spatial Analysis in Discourse Research


  • Sybille Bauriedl Universität Hamburg



space, place, multi-layer analysis, sustainability, narratives, local stories, local discourses, mixed methods


Discourses are embedded in the social context of their evolutionary history and they are spatially embedded. Therefore a discourse analysis needs an historical and a spatial perspective. Working with these two perspectives implicates epistemological and methodological problems. To make conclusions about the spatial anchoring of discourses and about the relation of these discourses, have to transfer the terms "space", "place" and "locality" into the conception of discourse research. And there have to be developed a methodology which can measure the reflexive processes of construction and constitution of spaces and systems of signification. This contribution discusses methods, empirical practice and special problems with interpreting the empirical outcome of space sensitive discourse analysis with a case study. An empirical program to interpret spatial metaphors of a discoursive order will be introduced for the topic of the sustainability debate in Hamburg. The material productivity of sustainability discourses has been worked out by the example of an urban development project at the Hamburg waterfront, called HafenCity. URN: urn:nbn:de:0114-fqs0702139


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Author Biography

Sybille Bauriedl, Universität Hamburg

Sybille BAURIEDL, Geographin, ist am Institut für Geographie der Universität Hamburg im Rahmen der sozial-ökologischen Forschung des BMBF tätig und koordiniert die Regionalstudien der Nachwuchsgruppe "Nachhaltige Entwicklung zwischen Durchsatz und Symbolik – NEDS". Sie hat eine Promotion zur "Macht stadtentwicklungspolitischer Diskurse" vorgelegt, die 2006 vom Deutschen Institut für Urbanistik ausgezeichnet wurde. Ihre Forschungsschwerpunkte sind Stadtentwicklung in Europa, demographischer Wandel, Geschlechterverhältnisse, politische Ökologie, Diskurstheorie.



How to Cite

Bauriedl, S. (2007). How to Read Space: Methods for a Spatial Analysis in Discourse Research. Forum Qualitative Sozialforschung Forum: Qualitative Social Research, 8(2).