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Social Imaginaries of Space

Concepts and Cases Bernard Debarbieux, University of Geneva, Switzerland
Travelling through various historical and geographical contexts, Social Imaginaries of Space explores diverse forms of spatiality, examining the interconnections which shape different social collectives. Proposing a theory on how space is intrinsically linked to the making of societies, this book examines the history of the spatiality of modern states and nations and the social collectives of Western modernity in a contemporary light.
Extent: 224 pp
Hardback Price: $120.00 Web: $108.00
Publication Date: 2019
ISBN: 978 1 78897 386 1
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  • Geography
  • Human Geography
  • Political Geography and Geopolitics
  • Social and Cultural Geography
  • Politics and Public Policy
  • Political Geography and Geopolitics
  • Political Theory
Travelling through various historical and geographical contexts, Social Imaginaries of Space explores diverse forms of spatiality, examining the interconnections which shape different social collectives. Proposing a theory on how space is intrinsically linked to the making of societies, this book examines the history of the spatiality of modern states and nations and the social collectives of Western modernity in a contemporary light. Debarbieux offers a practical exploration of his theory of the social imaginaries of space through the analysis of a number of case studies.

Advanced geography scholars will find the analysis of space and its impact on societies a valuable tool in understanding the ways in which space, culture and behaviour interact. Historians of Western modernity will also benefit from Debarbieux’s analysis of case studies that impact modern life.
‘Debarbieux continues to traverse with ease the Anglophone/Francophone border in social theory with this most recent work, a creative and highly readable exploration of the political significance of social imaginaries of space. Through a series of conceptual essays and related case studies, or in his terms “detours”, he crafts an intriguing, jargon-free narrative that examines the spatial imaginings that have generated the territorial ideals and practices of modern states and nations. Debarbieux further demonstrates that while the rhetoric of post-nationalism and globalization has changed the content of these imaginaries, it has not diminished their constitutive role. His is a cosmopolitan vision but one that does not dismiss the power of particularism, especially evident in the place loyalties that have become so prominent in current national and global political debate.’
– J. Nicholas Entrikin, University of California, Los Angeles and University of Notre Dame, US

‘Social Imaginaries of Space explores a crucial contact zone between cultural and political geographies. Written by a major figure of contemporary Francophone geography, this ambitious book brilliantly analyses how spatial imaginaries have continuously constituted societies and their mutations in the modern era.’
– Ola Söderström, University of Neuchâtel, Switzerland
Contents: 1. Framing the spatial dimension of social imaginaries 2. Concept 1 - Social Imaginaries and space 3. Case 1 - Competing imaginaries of nature in Yosemite 4. Concept 2 - State Imaginary of Territory 5. Case 2 - England at the time of the Tudors and Stuarts, or the self-representation of the modern State 6. Case 3 - Science and State imaginary in colonial Indochina 7. Concept 3 - The singularity of the national imaginary 8. Case 4 - Nationalist rhetoric of space and of time in Paris, Washington and other places 9. Concept 4 - Post national political imaginaries of space 10. Case 5 - Post-national imaginary of New York Italianness 11. Case 6 - Post national imaginaries of nature 12. Epiphany - Leviathan at the border Bibliography Index