Language, Space, Power : Reflections on Linguistic and Spatial Turns in Urban Research

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Title: Language, Space, Power : Reflections on Linguistic and Spatial Turns in Urban Research
Author: Vuolteenaho, Jani; Ameel, Lieven; Newby, Andrew; Scott, Maggie
Publisher: Helsinki Collegium for Advanced Studies
Date: 2012
Language: eng
Belongs to series: COLLeGIUM: Studies across Disciplines in the Humanities and Social Sciences 13
ISBN: 978-952-10-8578-9
ISSN: 1796-2986
Abstract: Seeking to locate the case studies of Language, Space and Power: Urban Entanglements in the context of recent academic history, this introductory article explores the manifestations and legacies of the so-called linguistic and spatial turns in urban research. With regard to the linguistic turn, we first illustrate approaches characteristic of structuralism-inspired urban semiotics and postructuralism-affected discussions of the postmodern urban condition. In these research fronts, that were extremely fashionable in the late twentieth century, language was adopted as a pivotal metaphorical model to conceptualise the power-embeddedness of urban spaces, processes and identities. More recently, however, the ramifications of the linguistic turn across urban research have proliferated as a result of approaches in which specific place-bound language practices and language-based representations about cities have been scrutinised. Sharing an understanding of the linguistic realm as a category that is analytically distinct from the social and material realms, we identify methodological orientations (from discourse analytic to speech act theoretical frameworks), social scientific theories (from Laclau to Lefebvre) and thematic interests (from place naming to interactional uses of spoken language) that have been significant channels in re-directing urban scholars’ attention to the concrete workings of language. As regards the spatial turn, we highlight the relevance of the connectivity-, territoriality-, attachment- and entanglement-focused conceptualisations of space for the study of language-related power issues in urban settings. Finally, we introduce the volume’s empirical articles.
Subject: linguistic turn
spatial turn
urban space
Rights: © author(s) & Helsinki Collegium for Advanced Studies

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