Going places: Towards a spatial turn in the social sciences?

The vector of time has long been appreciated in the political economy of Marx, Kondratiev or Schumpeter through notions such as historical shifts in modes of production, technological paradigms and trajectories, and the significance of time-instituted selection environments. In evolutionary strands of economic thinking, the vector of time has lain at the very core of reasoning. The vector of space, in contrast, has remained somewhat out of the focus of the social sciences. Space, quit simply, signified a sort of blackboard on which socio-economic determinants inscribed the traces of historical development.

This asymmetry, more recently, it seems has begun to shift, if slightly though. The increasing problematisation of territoriality appears to be driven, above all, by three interrelated debates on innovation and learning. On a macro-level, the persistence of the national institutional context of the ‘home base’ vis-à-vis globalisation dynamics has been recognized. On a meso-level, the classic success stories of industrial districts and clusters reiterate the importance of the local embeddedness in place-bound conventions and practices. And on a micro-level, scholars of the sociology of science have come to appreciate the powers of co-location and face-to-face communities for tacit practices of knowledge exchange in the laboratory.

This obvious increasing sensitivity towards space in the social sciences is the theme of the second track of the SECONS Discussion Forum.

Gernot Grabher and Robert Hassink



No. 5
Jamie Peck: "Economic sociologies in space". Published in Economic Geography, 2005, vol. 81, No. 2, pp. 129-176.


No. 6
Bob Jessop: "From localities via the spatial turn to spatio-temporal Fixes: A strategic-relational odyssey"


No. 7
Gary Herrigel: "Space and governance in new old economy manufacturing industries"


No. 8
Jörg Sydow: "Towards a spatial turn in organization science? A long wait"


No. 9
Gernot Grabher: "Trading routes, bypasses, and risky intersections: Mapping the travels of networks between economic sociology and economic geography" Published in Progress in Human Geography, 2006, vol. 30, No. 2, pp. 163-189.


No. 10
Michael Jonas:"Suggestions for a sociological-based regional cluster research" Published in Zeitschrift für Soziologie, 2005, vol. 34, No. 4, pp. 278-287 (in German).