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This essential guide to social theory and space is written by one of the leading writers in the field. Nigel Thrift explores the interconnections among people, places and things and demonstrates why they must be examined in relation to each other rather than in isolation - as is too often the case.
Spatial Formations presents a formidable analysis of how space is socially constructed, unmade and reconstructed. Thrift provides the reader with a direct understanding of how social theory can be used to make sense of spatial forms and practices, and how spatial relations are made durable over space and time. These themes are developed through case studies, ranging from medieval time consciousness to the modern usage of m
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Nigel Thrift is Professor in the Department of Geography at the University of Bristol. He has co-edited and co-authored numerous books; most recently Writing the Rural: Five Cultural Geographies and Globalisation, Institutions and Regional Development in Europe. Thrift has three co-edited or co-authored books in press The City of London and Social Power in Modern Britain; Diffusing Geography: Essays for Peter Hagget; and Mapping the Subject.Review:
`This is a hugely impressive collection, displaying an enviable diversity and rigour in its combination of theoretical reflection and empirical case analysis. It is a book that manages to connect up social, cultural, political and economic perspectives without ever over-privileging one or underemphasizing others. If it is characterized by a certain eccentricity with regard to what counts as `mainstream′ critical human geography, it seems that this is because of a determination to work through issues properly rather than follow the whims of theoretical fashion′ - Ecumene
`This is, by any standards, an extraordinary book. It contains six previously published essays together with a substantial introductory essay on "non-representational theory", and two shorter pieces which together provide a rationale for (and commentary on) the work of an author who has done more than most to bring human geographers into communication with their neighbours, near and far, in the human sciences. Both the scope of its subject matter (from medieval church bells to late-20th century cyborgs) and its breadth of theoretical reference (across a range of disciplines) are striking, indeed disconcerting.... Thrift draws upon a remarkable range of theoretical writings in the social and cultural sciences.... Thrift concludes the volume with an appropriately fast-moving essay on landscapes of speed, light, and power, in which he conjoins an empirical account of the impact of new technologies with a commentary on the metaphorical and cultural significance of the late-twentieth century idea of mobility′ - Environment and Planning A
′A stunning book, rich in theory, argument and controversy. It is hard to imagine anyone else able to produce such a wide-ranging and stimulating text′ - John Urry, Lancaster University
`One of the mysteries of the universe is how Nigel Thrift continues to produce the
extraordinary number of high quality pieces of research and writing he does, and
over an amazingly wide range of subject areas... Constants throughout are his strong, lucid writing, theoretical open-mindedness, a keen sense of history and context, a sharp curiosity and concern about people′s everyday lives, and a desire to mobilize theory never for its own sake but always for a better understanding of the world and its improvement′ - Trevor J Barnes, Progress in Human Geography
`In his newly published book, Spatial Formations, Nigel Thrift transgresses the boundaries both between various academic disciplines and, more importantly, between various spheres of the `object of study′, the society. The book is without doubt worth reading. It is, without overstatement, an intellectual adventure. The difficult style is also somewhat counterbalanced by numerous concrete and historical examples. Thrift is in some sense a truly dual writer, at home both in the `higher′ theoretical spheres and in the everyday reality of both past and present′ - Acta Sociologica
`This book leads into new and `strange country′. It is about space and time and the way we continually reconstruct reality through communicative action and presentation. The book acknowledges readily the contribution of Marxism but insists that a reworking of Marxism is required. Thus we need to work on various forms of `transformation structures′ linking narratives to context. It is here that the book gives much needed impetus and a great many stimuli′ - Capital & Class
`Immensely thought-provoking, dazzling in its intellectual range and unusually subtle in its arguments. The books provides a forceful demonstration of the ways in which what Thrift calls ′modest theory′ and empirical acuity can work together to chart the knottings and unravellings of time, space and social action. Thrift describes his work as a series of journeys into a ′strange country′, and so they are: but his writing artfully retains that sense of strangeness while at the same time making readers feel they are travelling through a landscape they have inhabited all along′ -Derek Gregory, Department of Geography, University of British Columbia
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