A Conceptual and Analytical Framework for Interpreting the Spatiality of Social Life

Lee Pugalis

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This paper provides a framework for understanding the phenomenon of the discursive-material production of space, and also, for considering how unknowns may be organised. Language is instrumental to the production of place but has been overshadowed by investigations of material transformations. This is partly being redressed by the ‘linguistic turn’ in urban policy analysis over recent decades which recognise the performative aspects of language. However, the methodological ‘gap’ between discursivities and materialities remains as too often analysis of urban policy discourse has taken an aspatial analytic approach. Representations of space cannot be divorced from spatial practices and vice versa. Based on my premise that many visions, plans and strategies never materialise, and even some that do materialise have little bearing on what is produced, a mixed-method approach is required that considers the recursive interactions between spatial practices and representations of space. Grounded in the theories of Henri Lefebvre and Michel Foucault, which conceptualis space as a social process and broaden discourse to embrace spatial practice respectively, I devise a conceptual and operational analytics which I refer to as interpretive-spatial analysis with the goal of helping to bridge the problematic ontological, epistemological and methodological divide between discursivities and materialities.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)77-98
JournalFORUM Ejournal
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2009


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