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In between materiality and metaphor. The ambivalence of space.

Mandich, Giuliana (1998) In between materiality and metaphor. The ambivalence of space. Quaderni del Dipartimento di Ricerche Economiche e Sociali - Sezione sociologica .


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Despite the incredible variety of dimensions and meanings, the definitions of space appears constantly to oscillate between two different, and apparently opposed, conceptions. On the one hand, space tends to be considered as an objective characteristic of things. In this meaning it is mainly related to the materiality of social life, is the empirical, «concrete», substratum of society. On the other hand sociology has strongly emphasised the variability and heterogeneity of this dimension. According to this second view, space is a way of representing society. In this paper I will try to show how it is possible to interpret this duality in terms of “individual” versus “society” or in terms of “nature” versus “society”. In the first case objectivity of space lies in the process of externalisation and objectification and the relationship between the two elements can be expressed through Giddens’ concept of duality. In the second, the “external” and “constraining” nature of space, lies outside society and Simmel’s concept of dualism or ambivalence (tension between the opposing nature of two elements) is a more suitable idea of relating the two aspects of space.

Item Type:Article
Publisher:Dipartimento di Ricerche Economiche e Sociali - Università di Cagliari
Institution:Universita' degli Studi di Cagliari
Divisions:Dipartimenti (fino a dicembre 2011) > Dipartimento di Ricerche economiche e sociali
Subjects:Area 14 - Scienze politiche e sociali > SPS/07 Sociologia generale
Uncontrolled Keywords:space; individual vs. society; nature vs. society; duality; dualism
ID Code:432
Deposited On:26 Nov 2009 20:06

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