A SPACE FOR PLACE IN SOCIOLOGY

May 19th, 2015
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* Abstract Sociological studies sensitive to the issue of place are rarely labeled thus, and at the same time there are far too many of them to fit in this review. It may be a good thing that this research is seldom gathered up as a "sociology of place," for that could ghettoize the subject as something of interest only to geographers, architects, or environmental historians.

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A SPACE FOR PLACE IN SOCIOLOGY. by Thomas F. Gieryn Key Words place and space, built environment, architecture, material culture, design * Abstract Sociological studies sensitive to the issue of place are rarely labeled thus, and at the same time there are far too many of them to fit in this review. It may be a good thing that this research is seldom gathered up as a "sociology of place," for that could ghettoize the subject as something of interest only to geographers, architects, or environmental historians. The point of this review is to indicate that sociologists have a stake in place no matter what they analyze, or how: The works cited below emplace inequality, difference, power, politics, interaction, community, social movements, deviance, crime, life course, science, identity, memory, history. After a prologue of definitions and methodological ruminations, I ask: How do places come to be the way they are, and how do places matter for social practices and historical change? INTRODUCTION This may or may not be a propitious moment to review the sociological literatures on place. We have been told about the "transcendence of place" (Coleman 1993), the "placelessness of place" (Relph 1976), cities "without a place" (Sorkin 1992), and how place becomes, with modernity, "phantasmagoric" (Giddens 1990). Technological revolutions in transportation and communication, it is said, have all but eliminated the drag once imposed by location and distance on human interaction

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