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Towards What Kind of Spatial Sociology: The Four Scenarios of Space as a Sociological Object and Reflections

Social Sciences in China Review

No.1, 2019

 

Towards What Kind of Spatial Sociology: The Four Scenarios of Space as a Sociological Object and Reflections (Abstract)

 

Ying Licheng

 

Although “spatial sociology” has existed as a concept for more than a hundred years, the existence of this discipline is still controversial. There are four scenarios in which to “sociologically objectify” space. The first scenario is to regard space as a community ecological organism, but this cannot solve the contradictory problem of the concept of “community” in theory and experience. The second scenario regards space as a context that affects action, but space is not always an important context for social action, which makes the scenario vulnerable to the trap of spatial determinism. The third one regards space as a scarce resource that affects inequality, but this setting dispels the particularity of space and becomes a common layer theory. The fourth scenario places space in the context of production as a product of society, but the concept of “production” in the scenario does not deal well with the problem of space generation as an unintended consequence of collective action. Based on the above reflections, we can move from a space-centered spatial sociology to a spatial sociology of space as use-experience.