Society Action And Space

Benno Werlen

What is space? And why are questions of space important to social theory? 'Society, Action and Space' is the first English translation of a book which has been widely recognized in Europe as a major contribution to the interface between geography and social theory. Benno Werlen focuses on the issues which are at the heart of the most important debates in human and social geography today. One of the most significant recent developments in social analysis has been the increasing interchange among geographers, sociologists, anthropologists and social philosophers concerning 'the spatial.' This debate involves the work of Giddens, Foucault, Bourdieu, Lefebvre, Harvey, Gregory, Soja, and many others. From these new developments a whole series of new forms and empirical work, as well as theoretical innovations, have come into being. Spatial considerations are no longer confined to the realm of geography, but are now seen as fundamental to all forms of social theorizing, especially under conditions of late modernity and globalization. 'Society, Action and Space' links discussions in the philosophy of social science with theories of action which have direct relevance to concepts of space. Benno Werlen provides a discussion of Popper's critical rationalism, and connects it to ideas drawn from phenomenology. This epistemological debate is linked with the sociological action theories of Pareto, Weber, Parsons, and Schutz. The book closes with an evaluation of how 'the spatial' can be systematically integrated into action theory. Ambitious, original, and persuasive in its arguments, it raises exciting new implications for the study of space and social theory.

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