Place and the "Spatial Turn" in Geography and in History

Place and the "Spatial Turn" in Geography and in History Charles W. J. Withers I. INTRODUCTION A few years ago, British Telecom ran a newspaper advertisement in the British press about the benefits--and consequences--of advances in communications technology. Featuring a remote settlement in the north-west Highlands of Scotland, and with the clear implication that such ``out-of-the-way places'' were now connected to the wider world (as if they had not been before), the advert proclaimed ``Geography is History.'' What the advert signalled to as the ``end'' of geography in the sense of the social gradients associated with space and distance is what is known, variously, as ``time-space convergence'' and ``time-space distanciation.''1 The terms embrace not just the ``collapse'' of geographical space given technical advances (in travel time and in communications--consequences of what Castells calls ``the information age'' and ``the network society''2), but also the idea that the modern world has become 1 ``Time-Space Convergence'' is the decrease in the friction of distance between places, most commonly though changes in travel times: see Donald Janelle, ``Global Interdependence and its Consequences,'' in Collapsing Space and Time: Geographic Aspects of Communications and Information, ed. Stanley D. Brunn and Thomas Leinbach (London: Harper Collins, 1991), 49­81. ``Time Space Distanciation'' is the term proposed Journal of the History of Ideas University of Pennsylvania Press

Place and the "Spatial Turn" in Geography and in History

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