International Planning Studies vol:18 issue:3-4 pages:342-357
A well-established scholarly paradigm capable of explaining the interaction between spatial and social constellations doesn’t really exist. Several attempts have been formulated from different disciplinary perspectives, such as anthropology, sociology, social and cultural geography, architectural history and theory, but no consensus has been reached. The only chance to develop a convincing theoretical apparatus nevertheless lies in an interdisciplinary approach that would build upon the insights and methods developed within these different disciplines. In order to do that, it might be helpful to point towards divergent models of thought that underlie the existing attempts to make sense of the relation between spatial configurations on the one hand and social/cultural patterns on the other. This paper presents a model which identifies three important ways to conceptualise this interaction: space seen as receptor, as instrument or as stage. The paper reviews the relevant literature from architectural history and theory, positioning it within a broader framework that also addresses material from anthropology, sociology and cultural geography. It points to similarities and parallels, but also to divergent sensibilities and contrasting understandings, which together make up a rich matrix of theoretical positions.