(en)Countering change, (dis)Assembling placeness

(en)Countering change, (dis)Assembling placeness

Marc Welsh (Aberystwyth University) and Samantha Saville (Aberystwyth University)

Place is a foundational concept in human geography, albeit one conceived in different ways to do different forms of analytical work. From meaning and phenomenological centred notions (Relph, Tuan, Creswell); to their construction as sites of capital accumulation, pools of stability in an ocean of global change (Harvey); to attention to the processual dynamics of the ‘constant becoming’ of place (Pred, Thrift); to Massey’s decentred relational ‘sense of place’; to more applied turns to theorise the making of places (Marsden, Healey), ‘place’ retains conceptual and analytical power.  For all its centrality as a cornerstone of geographical thought and research, for all the studies and analysis that have interrogated, played with and sought to make meaningful the concept we contend that there is still place for an ongoing re-consideration of place.

We are interested in drawing together insights from different theoretical approaches that triangulate on the matter of place, its making and unmaking, in an increasingly interconnected world. Do recent ‘turns’ and ontological reframings (relational, affective, networked, mobile, virtual, assemblaged and nexused) offer novel ways to examine processes generative of continuity and change coming together in topological and topographical places?

In this session we seek empirically informed theoretical papers that explore place and placeness in the modern era.

Contributions might respond to the following questions:

  • What theoretical approaches can help to capture and interrogate the persistence of placeness when place is conceived as relational, emergent, in a continual state of becoming and shifting instability?
  • How helpful are turns towards complexity, assemblage and nexus-thinking in thinking about the processes of place? How is place best conceived for this kind of work?
  • How can geographical insights speak back to those seeking to “make place” or produce a “sense of place”, to enhance placeness?

The website for the Royal Geographical Society's History and Philosophy of Geography Research Group

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