Comparison, Refiguration, and Multiple Spatialities
Keywords:communicative constructivism, mediatization, multiple modernities, polycontexturalization, refiguration of space, sociology of knowledge, sociology of space, translocalization
Drawing on the empirical contributions of the FQS thematic issues on "The Refiguration of Spaces and Cross-Cultural Comparison," we specify what is meant by "refiguration of space" and how comparisons can serve to study the refiguration of space. We address the question of how current social change can be understood and explained in spatial terms. Moreover, these spatial dynamics are driven by tensions and conflict between different Raumfiguren [spatial figures] that result in refiguration. By capturing the conflictual nature of the social change in space, "refiguration" complements the rather linear idea of "globalization." The necessity to empirically substantiate its constitutive sub-processes of mediatization, translocalization, and polycontexturalization raises the question of how refiguration can be studied on a global scale particularly on the basis of case studies and systematic comparisons. With reference to the articles in this thematic issue, we suggest to focus on "knowledge" instead of "culture" as a major reference for comparison. We introduce the notion of "multiple spatialities" by which such a comparison can be achieved, which accounts for the plurality of perspectives of observers comparing spatial phenomena and for the multiplicity of spatial arrangements within the varieties of refiguration to be found on the global scale.
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Copyright (c) 2021 Hubert Knoblauch, Martina Löw
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