Historical Social Research

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Nina Baur, Linda Hering, Anna Laura Raschke & Cornelia Thierbach: Theory and Methods in Spatial Analysis. Towards Integrating Qualitative, Quantitative and Cartographic Approaches in the Social Sciences and Humanities [Abstract]

A main obstacle for integrating the methodological debates on spatial analysis in diverse social sciences and humanities (such as Sociology, Geography, History and Cultural Studies) is the lack of a common definition of research goals and theories of space. Starting from the discussion on absolute and relational space concepts as well as the observation that space is a multi-level-phenomenon consisting of different spatial layers which interact with time layers, the authors argue that all spatial problems can be categorized into one of five dimensions: (1) Thinking and Imagining Space; (2) Creating and Changing Space; (3) Experiencing, Appropriating and Orientating within Space; (4) (Inter)Action and Distribution within Space; and (5) Relations and Movements between Spaces. The authors discuss the contribution of various qualitative approaches (e.g. ethnography, case studies and discourse analysis), quantitative approaches (e.g. surveys, public administrational data and GIS) and cartographic approaches for analysing these dimensions and conclude with open questions for future research.

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