Social Spaces

This course is not offered for study in the current academic year.

Course description

Space has long been active in the sociological thinking and analysis but rarely labeled as such. Only recently there is a growing recognition of space, location, and place in social science research. In this course we will explore the contingency of action on spatial structures, as well as the constitution of spaces through action. We will focus upon the dynamics between space and social life, both the micro-spaces of everyday life and the macro-spaces at the nation-state or global levels.

Taking advantage of the richness of sociology studies sensitive to space, the materials chosen for study and discussion in class generally seek to go beyond the abstract philosophical debate to stimulate thinking about the substantial processes of the spatial reality in social life.

Course learning outcomes

  1. Critically analyze existing literature on social spaces.
  2. Develop deeper understanding of the spatial perspective of social phenomenon.
  3. Write and present analysis of the spatial organization of one empirical social process.


Short assignments20%
Final paper40%
Project presentation10%

Required reading

Durkheim and Mauss 1963 Primitive Classification. Chicago: Univ. Chicago Press.

Friedland R. and Boden D. eds.1994. NowHere: Space, Time and Modernity. Berkeley: University of California press.

Recommended reading

Cieraad, Irene. eds 1999. At Home: An Anthropology of Domestic Space. Syracuse, NY: Syracuse Univ. Press.

Gieryn, Thomas. 2000. “A space for place in Sociology.” Annual Review of Sociology. 26:463-96.

Simmel, Georg, David Frisby, and Mike Featherstone. 1997. Simmel on Culture: Selected Writings. London; Thousand Oaks, Calif.: Sage Publications.

Course co-ordinator and teachers