Theorizing sociospatial relations

Bob Jessop, Neil Brenner, Martin Russell Jones

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

903 Citations (SciVal)


This essay seeks to reframe recent debates on sociospatial theory through the introduction of an approach that can grasp the inherently polymorphic, multidimensional character of sociospatial relations. As previous advocates of a scalar turn, we now question the privileging, in any form, of a single dimension of sociospatial processes, scalar or otherwise. We consider several recent sophisticated ‘turns’ within critical social science; explore their methodological limitations; and highlight several important strands of sociospatial theory that seek to transcend the latter. On this basis, we argue for a more systematic recognition of polymorphy—the organization of sociospatial relations in multiple forms—within sociospatial theory. Specifically, we suggest that territories (T), places (P), scales (S), and networks (N) must be viewed as mutually constitutive and relationally intertwined dimensions of sociospatial relations. We present this proposition as an extension of recent contributions to the spatialization of the strategic-relational approach (SRA), and we explore some of its methodological implications. We conclude by briefly illustrating the applicability of the ‘TPSN framework’ to several realms of inquiry into sociospatial processes under contemporary capitalism.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)381-401
Number of pages21
JournalEnvironment and Planning D: Society and Space
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 01 Jun 2008


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