Historical Social Research

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Sebastian Scholl, Matthias Lahr-Kurten & Marc Redepenning: Considering the Role of Presence and Absence in Space Constructions. Ethnography as Methodology in Human Geography [Abstract]

In this article, we discuss methodological issues and problems in researching relational space. We argue that despite all innovations after recent spatial turns, research on space is often still marked by what we call ‘presentism’ and ‘concretism’. Instead, we seek to show how spatial encounters today are more and more marked and shaped by different absences. Using some insights from the poststructuralist take on assemblages we argue that any spatial method to understand spatial complexity is incomplete if the role of absences in shaping spatial presences and spatial encounters is left unconsidered. Addressing questions of methodology and methods we vote for the ethnographic approach which, to us, has the strongest potential to undertake spatial research sensitive to the problem of present absences, i.e. that the complexity of places is often shaped by absent spatial events.

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