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Space and Social Theory

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The last decade has been a decade of tremendous change across the broad of the human and social sciences. Ancient certainties, trusted ideologies and tested methods all came under immense pressure once so-called 'postmodern' ideas and concepts gained wider currency particularly among those with an interest in social theory. No longer content with framing social reality according to the logic of one core metaphor, the human and social sciences both rediscovered the local particularity of truth where hitherto a general explanation was deemed sufficient. In short: the revitalizing and formative power of 'space' was acknowledged once again.More than ten years into the debate, the present collection of original essays seeks to assess both the impact and current state of the debate around postmodernism and the spatial social sciences. It aims not at solving contradictions and differences within the debate since such a claim would be both fruitless and immature; rather, it seeks to demonstrate the diversity of interpretations that has come about by the mutual discovery of postmodern discourses and human geography since the mid 1980s. Celebrations of postmodernity, the insistence of a continuation of modernity, interpretations of globally-emerging postmodern spaces, even the call for an analysis of hypermodernity thus coexist in the collection at hand.In-between the essays, a new discursive agenda for the spatial human sciences emerges: not to pave the way for a new orthodoxy but simply to allow for the recognition of new ideas taking root in today's academic environment. This book is at once critical, provocative and accessible. It will be widely welcomed by advanced students of spatial and social theory in geography and related disciplines.
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Table of Contents

List of Plates. List of Figures. List of Contributors. Preface. Introduction: Modernity, Postmodernity and the Social Sciences (Georges Benko). Part I Reasons, Texts and Debates Around Postmodernism. Postmodern Bloodlines (Michael Dear). Social Theory, Postmodernism, and the Critique of Development (Richard Peet). Shelf Length Zero: The Disappearance of the Geographical Text (Michael Curry). Part II Writing Space, Forming Identities. Re-Presenting the Extended Moment of Danger: A Meditation on Hypermodernity, Identity and the Montage Form (Allan Pred). Identity, Space, and other Uncertainties (Wolfgang Natter and John Paul Jones). Belonging: Spaces of Meandering Desire (Ulf Strohmayer). Spatial Stress and Resistance: Social Meanings of Spatialization (Rob Shields). Lacan and Geography: the Production of Space Revisited (Derek Gregory). Part III Planning and the Postmodern . Panning in/for Postmodernity (Ed Soja). Warp, Woof and Regulation: A Tool for Social Science (Alain Lipietz). Institutional Reflexivity and the Rise of the Regional State (Phil Cooke). Part IV The Politics of Difference. Postmodern Becomings: From the Space of Form to the Space of Potentiality (Julie Kathy Gibson-Graham). Geopolitics and the Postmodern: Issues or Knowledge, Difference and North-South Relations (David Slater). Postmodern Space and Japanese Tradition (Augustin Berque). Imperfect Panopticism: Envisioning the Construction of Normal Lives (Matt Hannah). Imagining the Normad: Mobility and the Postmodern Primitive (Tim Cresswell). Conclusion. Forget the Delivery, or, What Post are We Talking about? (Ulf Strohmayer). Index

About the Author

Georges Benko is Professor of Geography at the University of Paris I (Pantheon-Sorbonne). He is a member of the editorial boards of Espaces et Societes and GeoJournal and editor of the series Geographies en Liberte and Theorie Sociale Contemporaine, both published by l'Harmattan in Paris. He is the author of Geographie des Technopoles (Masson), co-author (with Alain Lipietz) of Les Regions qui Gagnent and editor of various books on Industrial Change and Social Theory. Ulf Strohmayer is currently lecturer in human geography at the University of Wales, Lampeter. He is the author of numerous articles, co-editor of two books and author, together with Matthew Hannah, of Gnostic Materialism: Cosmology and the Ruins of Social Theory.

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