Re-Figuration of Spaces as Long‐Term Social Change: The Methodological Potential of Comparative Historical Sociology for Cross-Cultural Comparison


  • Jannis Hergesell Technische Universität Berlin



figurational sociology, historical sociology, historical-comparative social research, cross-cultural comparison, sociology of space, spatial analysis, re-figuration of spaces


Analyzing social change from a historical perspective is one of the longest established strategies of sociological comparison. Numerous classic sociologists have examined cross-cultural (long-term) social change with a historical-comparative methodology in an effort to understand the differences and similarities of transformation processes in the present by reconstructing their past. As such, there are comprehensive historical-sociological preliminary works, which are intended as a means of analyzing the long-term and large-scale social change that is currently leading to a fundamental, worldwide restructuring of spatial orders, referred to as the re-figuration of spaces. Nevertheless, no one has applied the comparative methodology of historical sociology to the empirical analysis of the re-figuration of spaces so far. Instead, research on the re-figuration is currently restricted to research designs focused on the present. Therefore, I propose considering the methodological potential of historical-comparative methodology for research on the re-figuration of spaces. I start by discussing existing preliminary historical-sociological work on comparison strategies for analyzing cross-cultural, large-scale social change. Then, I will show how the re-figuration of spaces can be understood as long-term social change. On this basis, I will outline a universally comparative, causal-analytic, historical-sociological methodology of research on the re-figuration of


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Author Biography

Jannis Hergesell, Technische Universität Berlin

Jannis HERGESELL studied ancient studies at the Freie Universität Berlin and sociology and technology studies at the Technische Universität Berlin. There he received his doctorate with a thesis on the connection between the sociogenesis of elderly care and innovative care technologies. Jannis HERGESELL is currently research associate at the Technische Universität Berlin and the Leibniz Universität Hannover, in his research he focuses on historical sociology, sociology of innovation and digitalization, sociology of health and methodology of social research.




How to Cite

Hergesell, J. (2021). Re-Figuration of Spaces as Long‐Term Social Change: The Methodological Potential of Comparative Historical Sociology for Cross-Cultural Comparison. Forum Qualitative Sozialforschung Forum: Qualitative Social Research, 22(2).



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