PhD course on spatial thinking in the social sciences (with Andy Merrifield)

Social sciences have gained a renewed interest in space and place. In this course we will discuss the loss of a spatial consciousness in social theory in the 20th century and the re-emergence of spatial thinking today. Discussing the changing character of the city and the village, the urban and the rural, this course will give a critical introduction into relational approaches and bring our thinking beyond common levels of understanding.

We question the idea that places, indifferent whether it is a city, a village or a nature park, can be defined in terms of an entity with clear boundaries, single identities and internal cohesion, and propose a spatial imaginary which is relational, open, internally multiple and externally stretched out. We will do this by discussing key-thinkers and key-concepts and unravel debates in seminar like meetings.

The course “new perspectives on the urban and the rural: spatial thinking in the social sciences ” is meant for PhD students in the social, environmental and political sciences. In the course we will switch between close reading of texts, workshops, and discussion. Students following this course will not only learn to think about place as an analytical category, but also learn to ‘work with place’ by applying various perspectives to concrete cases. The course will also give ample attention to the question how to develop research methodology.

Andy Merrifield will be one of the teachers in his course. Andy Merrifield is author of among others The Politics of the Encounter: Urban Theory and Protest under Planetary Urbanization. (University of Georgia Press, 2013) and Magical Marxism: Subversive Politics and the Imagination (Pluto Press, 2011)

For a full description of the course or registration see: