Peter Merriman, Space – Routledge, Key Ideas in Geography, February 2022
Space is the first accessible text which provides a comprehensive examination of approaches that have crossed between such diverse fields as philosophy, physics, architecture, sociology, anthropology, and geography.
The text examines the influence of geometry, arithmetic, natural philosophy, empiricism and positivism to the development of spatial thinking, as well as focussing on the contributions of phenomenologists, existentialists, psychologists, Marxists and post-structuralists to how we occupy, live, structure, and perform spaces and practices of spacing. The book emphasises the multiple and partial construction of spaces through the embodied practices of diverse subjects, highlighting the contributions of feminists, queer theorists, anthropologists, sociologists and post-colonial scholars to academic debates. In contrast to contemporary studies which draw a clear line between scientific and particularly quantitative approaches to space and spatiality and more ‘lived’ human enactments and performances, this book highlights the continual influence of different mathematical and philosophical understandings of space and spatiality on everyday western spatial imaginations and registers in the twenty-first century.
Space is possibly the key concept underpinning research in geography, as well as being of central importance to scholars and practitioners working across the arts, humanities, social sciences, and physical sciences.
1. Introduction 2. Genealogies of Western Spatial Thinking 3. Geometric and Arithmetic Spaces 4. Psy-Spaces and Spatialities 5. Phenomenological and Existential Spatialities 6. Different Spatialities / Spaces of Difference 7. Production, Structuring and the Spatialities of Power 8. Representing, Practising, Spacing 9. Conclusions Addendum: COVID-19 Spaces and Spatialities in the UK
‘Space is one of the most taken-for-granted, contested, and elusive of geographical concepts. In this engaging and accessible book, Peter Merriman guides us expertly through the twists and folds in the emergence of western conceptions of space and spatiality. Skillfully drawing together and appraising the most influential approaches to this complex topic, Merriman provides a compelling account of how space can be understood as abstract, lively, and intensely political. Merriman’s book will be an important and welcome resource for anyone in the social sciences and humanities seeking to make sense of how and why space matters.’
Derek McCormack, Professor of Cultural Geography, University of Oxford, UK
‘In this comprehensive survey, Peter Merriman provides a valuable map of the different ways in which space has been understood and practiced. An excellent guide for students – and their teachers – in a range of disciplines.’
Stuart Elden, Professor of Political Theory and Geography, Warwick University, UK
‘Space is both the most obvious thing in the world – where would we all be without it? what would we all be without it? – and an enigma. As we play with it, it plays with us. Peter Merriman does a fine job of outlining all of the ways in which writers from many disciplines have played with and practised space, sensed and been sensed by it. A classic.’
Sir Nigel Thrift, Visiting Professor at the University of Oxford and Tsinghua University and an Emeritus Professor at the University of Bristol, UK
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