Social Imaginaries of Space

Concepts and Cases

New Horizons in Human Geography series

Bernard Debarbieux, University of Geneva, Switzerland Translated from French by Sheila Malovany Chevallier

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.

This book provides a fascinating overview of practices through which the modern nation-state aligned itself to its territory, and is an invitation to consider how the spatial forms of contemporary state imaginaries are transforming.’
– Sander van Lanen, Tijdschrift voor Economische en Sociale Geografie

‘The trajectory of this book crosses brilliantly major phenomena of cultural and social geography, emphasizing the importance of social, political, mental and imaginative cartographies constantly proliferating and giving birth to new definitions for urbanism and non urban settlements. Debarbieux examines with ease and clarity the radical historical and rhetorical narratives leading to the formation of solid imaginary concepts, without neglecting the fact that despite rhetorical changes along national and state history, imaginaries did not lose their constitutive place in the nation agenda. Debarbieux proposes an original, informative and unique position regarding the binding of space to societal transformations, developing an idiosyncratic vocabulary including almost all the facets of effervescent spatial manifestation of the visual and the imaginative socially constructed world. The book, I sincerely hope, will ring the bell for the need to expand the boundaries of humanistic geography, emphasizing the urge to shape new imaginative models and debates having in common the dialectical relationships between the and reality reflection. The rich bibliography offered is of high interest to those who wish to relieve their thirst for additional information.’
– Miron M. Denan, Geography Research Forum

‘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

2019 224 pp Hardback 978 1 78897 386 1 £75.00 £67.50 $120.00 $108.00
2020 224 pp Paperback 978 1 80037 247 4 £25.95 £20.76 $39.95 $31.96

Elgaronline 978 1 78897 387 8

Edward Elgar Publishing Ltd. is registered in the UK at: The Lypiatts, 15 Lansdown Road,
Cheltenham, Glos GL50 2JA. Registered number: 2041703

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