This course is concerned with how contemporary societies are spatially organised. This is addressed both through theory and a diverse set of concrete cases. From a sociological perspective, space is the product of societal relations, but at the same time space shapes how people live together. This course hence focuses on the processes through which space is socially constructed. Space is analysed both in in its physical (e.g. boundary post) and social forms (e.g. boundary as juridical reality). We discuss spatial dynamics on the micro-level of localities as well as on the macro-level of states, international networks and the world economy.
The course is organised in several parts that each deal with one or more forms of spatial structuration: territorialisation (bounding of space), place (proximity), scale (hierarchical organisation of spaces) and networks (horizontal connections of spaces). We discuss the following themes: (local) community, public and private space, rural areas, the nation-state, the state in the world system, community development as political strategy and globalisation. These themes are dealt with from the perspective of one specific form of spatial structuration, but of course in concrete spaces various forms of spatial structuration are at work at the same time.