Spatial Social Thought: Local Knowledge in Global Science Encounters


Print Version can be ordered from Idem Verlag

Global, local, global – reflecting on the area of world social science seems to be above all a matter of space. In these spatial dichotomies the global has no location and locations seem beyond this world.

Discourses about world social science thought not only distinguish social thought along spaces where they are created. Space has become an attribute of thinking when social scientists reflect on the world of social thought: Southern, Western and Northern knowledge, the location in which thoughts are created, is not only a hint about the address of a thinker, but about the theoretical perspective through which social science thinkers look at social reality.

Social thoughts are imagined as imprisoned in the spatial context in which they are created, and social science thinkers are imagined as representatives of spaces, whether these are defined politically, culturally, or in any other context in which their thoughts must be rooted as if the product of human minds was nothing but a voicing of the nature of spaces. And should we imagine the world social science arena, the encounter of all these spatially bound thoughts, as the encounter of many parochial knowledges that never manage to arrive at shared thoughts unless they already share the same spatial context? Why should we then at all meet each other? This book discusses examples of spatially constructed knowledges and the struggles these knowledges encounter as they seek to meet one another and escape from the mind prison of their spatial contexts. Or does the world social science arena after all only prove that the ‘Western’ dogma of contextualizing social thought is a dead end road for social thought – everywhere?

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Date of Publication
Ibidem Verlag
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