Hubert Knoblauch Martina Löw

On the Spatial Re-Figuration of the Social World



Lefebvre famously had asked how "éspace" and "spacialité" contribute to the constitution of societal order. In this paper we want to propose an answer to this question by sketching a new social theory in the making. On this basis we address the recent societal transformations, as they are indicated by empirical research, in terms of the re-figuration of spaces. Finally, we want to provide some preliminary specifications of what we mean by the re-figuration of space with reference to the processes of polycontexturalization, mediatization and translocalization. By polycontexturalization we mean that increasingly there are arrangements of space and multiple references to hitherto different spatial scales and dimensions which take effect or are put into effect simultaneously. Individual and collective actors are confronted with the challenge of following different spatial logics at the same time. By mediatization we refer to the fact that the constitution of space takes place in mediated forms spurred by advances in digital communication technologies. Proactive and reflexive communicative acts on different scales and levels, at once digital and face-to-face, are thus made possible or become inevitable. As a result of mediatization and multiple processes of circulation involving human beings, things and technologies, polycontexturalization implies what has come to be called translocalization, i.e. a continual coupling of different locations in conjunction with an increase in relevance of the individual location.


  • Sociology of Spaces
  • Communicative Constructivism
  • Sociology of Knowledge


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