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Annu. Rev. Sociol. 2000. 26:463-96 Copyright(? 2000 by AnnualReviews. All rightsreserved
A SPACE FOR PLACE IN SOCIOLOGY
Departmentof Sociology, Indiana University,Bloomington,Indiana 47405; e-mail: email@example.com
Key Words place andspace,builtenvironment, architecture, material culture,design * Abstract Sociologicalstudiessensitiveto the issue of place are rarelylabeled thus,andat the sametimetherearefartoo manyof themto fit in thisreview.It maybe is a good thingthatthisresearch seldomgathered as a "sociologyof place," that for up could ghettoizethe subjectas somethingof interestonly to geographers, architects, or environmental historians. The point of this review is to indicatethat sociologists have a stakein place no matterwhat they analyze,or how: The workscited below emplaceinequality, social movedifference, power,politics,interaction, community, ments,deviance, crime,life course,science,identity, Aftera prologue memory, history. of definitionsandmethodological I ruminations, ask:How do places come to be the way they are,andhow do placesmatter socialpractices historical for and change?
This may or may not be a propitiousmomentto review the sociological literatures on place. We have been told aboutthe "transcendence place" (Coleman 1993), of the "placelessnessof place" (Relph 1976), cities "withouta place" (Sorkin 1992), andhow place becomes, with modernity, "phantasmagoric" (Giddens1990). Technological revolutionsin transportation communication,it is said, have all but and eliminatedthe drag once imposed by location and distance on humaninteraction and on the flow of goods, capital, or information.Social life now moves through nodes in one or anothernetwork,throughpoints of power or convergenceor translation but not anchoredat any place necessarily.The places we build appearas clones of places elsewhere:suburban tracts,shoppingmalls, freewayinterchanges, office complexes, and gussied up old neighborhoodsvary less and less. As places lose theirdistinctiveness,place loses its realityand significance,some believe. The uniquenessof New York,New York,gets packagedfor reassemblyin Las Vegas, next to pyramidsand the Eiffel Tower.Disneylandis in France. Could it be thatplace just does not matteranymore?I think it does. In spite of (and perhapsbecause of) the jet, the 'net, and the fast-food outlet, place persists as a constituentelement of social life and historicalchange (Friedland& Boden 0360-0572/00/0815-0463$14.00 463
GIERYN 1994). And thatsignificanceis measuredby an enduringtraditionof robustsociological studies of place thatremainsinvisible only because it is rarelyframedthat way. Sociologists have given the appearanceof not being interestedin placeperhapspreferringto leave the matterto specialists from geography,or fearing that environmentaldeterminismwould rob social and culturalvariablesof their of explanatoryoomph, or worryingthat the particularities discrete places might compromisethe generalizingand abstractingambitionsof the discipline (Agnew 1989, Entrekin1991). My taskis to revealthe richesof a place-sensitivesociology and propel it forward. I begin with some definitionalnecessities and illustratethese with one sociological study that takes place for all that it is worth. Next I consider the sociology of how places come to be, and, after that, how place mattersfor social life. Ratherthan pursue an exhaustive review of work on place from collateral disciplines of geography (Gregory 1994, Soja 1989), architectureand planning, environmentalpsychology, anthropology(Lawrence & Low 1990, Low 1996), environmentalhistory, and philosophy (Casey 1997), I have instead been cavalier in choosing books and articles that inform themes and issues already somewhere on the sociological agenda. Whereveravailable,I cite only the good trailhead to a path of inquiry-that is, something recently published with a long bibliography.
Some definitionof place is needed if only to restrictthe domain of work under review. But more: the definition offered here is designed to bring together several literaturesnow rarelyconnected.For presentpurposes,place will have three necessary and sufficientfeatures:
A place is a unique spot in the universe.Place is the distinctionbetween here and nearand far.Places have finitude, there,and it is what allows people to appreciate but they nest logically because the boundariesare (analyticallyand phenomenoa logically) elastic. A place could be yourfavoritearmchair, room,building,neighborhood,district, village, city, county, metropolitanarea, region (Entrikin1989, 1991), state, province, nation, continent,planet-or a forest glade, the seaside, a mountaintop.This gradientof place is one reason why it is difficult to apprecihave writtenaboutplace because the discipline ate what sociologists in particular the phenomenainto incommunicadobits: urbansociology, ruralsocichops up ology, suburbansociology, home, the environment,neighborhood,workplaces, ecology. To pursueplace itself is to ask what these places of varyingscale have in common and how they differ.
meaningor valueof the sameplace is labile-flexible the in the hands of differentpeople or cultures. . Latour 1996. use. What Place is Not To define place this way excludes several phenomenapotentially of keen interest to sociologists. place is not space-which is more properlyconceived as abstractgeometries (distance. inequality.In spite of its relativelyenduring andimposingmateriality. building. meanings.It is a compilationof thingsor objectsat some particular spot in the universe. a place is not a place. Jones 1998. Harvey 1996.felt. A spot in the universe. Sociologists are again alive to the significanceof materialculturein social life.collective action) happen throughthe materialforms that we design. They arealso interpreted. build. First. objects. practices. and city that house and locate a certain server is a place (S Graham 1998. shape.becomes a place only when it ensconces history or utopia. power. it is fascinating to watch geography and architecturebecome the means through which cyberspace is reckoned by designers and users (Boyer 1996. malleable over time. and values are sucked out (de Certeau 1984.andimagined(Soja 1996). Schama 1995). Websites on the internet are not places in the same way that the room. narrated. identification.with a gatheringof physical stuffthere. Neither is place to be found in cyberspace: virtual it is not.PLACEIN SOCIOLOGY 465 (2) MaterialForm Place has physicality. understood. volume) detached from materialform and culturalinterpretation (Hillier & Hanson 1984). Put positively.Whetherbuilt orjust come upon. direction. Places aredoubly constructed: most arebuilt or in some way physically carvedout. King 1998.dangeror security. Social processes (difference. A on thrivingliterature technology (notjust on its social effects butits physical guts) has generatedconcepts andtheoriesfor discussingplaces as assemblagesof things (Bijker et al 1987. Purcell 1997). artificialor natural.or representation by ordinary people.territories)thatdefine conceptual or analytical spaces-as the title of this piece makes plain (also: Gieryn 1999). Still. Space is what place becomes when the unique gatheringof things. and protest(Habraken1998). place is space filled up by people.streets anddoorsor rocks andtrees. size. (3) Investmentwith Meaningand Value Withoutnaming(on toponyms:Feld & Basso 1996). and representations.identityor memory.place is stuff. and inevitably contested. at least for purposes of this review. In place should not be confused with the use of geographicor cartographic metaphors(boundaries.Places areworkedby people: we makeplaces and probablyinvest as much effort in making the supposedly pristine places of Natureas we do in cities or buildings(DuPuis& Vandergeest1996. Mitchell 1995). particular. perceived. for contrastingdefinitions:Lefebvre 1991). campus. MacKenzie 1990).
No: in much research.Nothing of interestto sociologists is structural. unemploymentrates in cities.g.Thatis. I think. at once.the patternsof streetsor significanceof particular of markets. or attributedmeanings of the two cities. If the census tractis simply a bundleof analyticvariables used to distinguish one neighborhoodfrom anotherin terms of its economic or demographicfeatures.but an agentic player in the game-a force with detectable and independenteffects on social life (Werlen1993). you buildit. Jargowsky1997. Thrift 1996).and .just as it precludesanunbridled come" is good Hollywood (or Iowa).Place has a plenitude. Sack 1997.andthe perceptionsandunderstandings the place by people who might live thereor not.They cannotbe ranked into greateror lesser significance for social life.used so narrations.violence. birth rates in nation-states. but nothing more is said aboutthose cities). such that the phenomenonis analyticallyand substantivelydestroyedif the three become unraveled or one of them forgotten (Entrikin1991. Bergeson& Harman1998. Perhapsthe classic examplefrom sociology is the census tract. place becomes a stand-in for clusters of variables located in spaces chosen for their landscape.stage.a completeness. or contextfor somethingelse thatbecomes the focus of sociological attention."Place is. In the same way.backdrop.monuments. materialform. or behaviorvariables. which means that every publishedpiece of sociology legitimatelybelongs in this review. the buildings.if it is neitherreductionist nor determinist. A sensitivity to place must be more than using two "places"simply to get a comparativewedge. materialform.466 GIERYN Second. Such studiesbecome place-sensitiveas aboutrelativelocationof the censustractin a metropolitan they feed in information buildingslike churchesor area. but bad social theory.Here.then it is not place. regationin urbanneighborhoods South& Crowder1999). nor can one be reduced down to an expression of another.noris it a proxy for demographic. nowhere (Casey 1993): Everythingthat we study is emplaced. effectively in researchon the persistenceof poverty.it happens somewhere and involves materialstuff. economic. WorkingMetatheoreticalPremises A sociology informedby place will be most effective.structural changes. The strong form of the argumentis this: place is not merely a setting or backdrop.place is notjust a setting. the threedefiningfeaturesof place-location. it is thus. streets.equally bad is "If you perceive it so. and residentialseg(e.and actors' own analyticutility but generallydenudedof architecture. place must be more than (say) racial proportionsof neighborhoods. or attitudes-if nothing more is hypothesized about the effects of the geographic location. theywill ism. This determinanti-reductionism precludesgeographicalfetishism and environmental "If social constructivism. Place is equally irrelevantto studies that compareKalamazooand Kankakeein terms of behaviorpatterns.pseudo-places are identified only as a means to bound the unit of analysis (as when a survey asks questions of respondentswho happen to live in Kalamazoo or Kankakee. and meaningfulness-should remainbundled.
representations. as being constitutedin partthroughlocation. Visitorscome from miles away to take a pint of good ale in front of its huge fireplace. and their imaginings (Appadurai1996).Pubs (along with council houses.manorhouses-and how fireplacesor televisions are differentlyarrangedtherein)(Halle 1993) contributeto the reproduction class of distinctions in Childerley:the Horse and Hound is favoredby the moneyed. and it is rarely chosen by them as a legitimatesource of identityand motivationor seen as a guarantee of morality and sincerity-too easily polluted by materialistself-interest. deviance. Put more tractably. experiential)..individualistic).ten feet wide and five feet deep.politics-but these are all emplaced.Both domains (the materialand the interpretive. Its topics read like the table of contents from an intro text: values. Antideterminismapplies as well to the analyticalrelationshipbetween place andthe otherontologicalrealmsthatsociologists routinelystudy:behavior. 475) epitomizes a sociology sensitive to place.and we learn aboutthem in and throughChilderley.distanced. centurypub at the end of the village. morality. materialform.Bell findsinsteadthatplace itself-Childerley the village andeven more the naturefound in the surrounding pastoralcountryside-becomes the interpretiveframe throughwhich people there measuretheir lives.a genuine sixteenth. informal. it is something more than just another independent variable(Abu-Lughod1968).belief. change. and just make sense. evaluateothers.considerChilderley. Place saturatessocial life: it is one medium (along with historicaltime) throughwhich social life happens. is best knownfor the Horse andHound.the ordinary folks are "back-door" (local. tied cottages.IN PLACE SOCIOLOGY 467 open spaces assembledat a certaingeographicspotand actors'interpretations. the physical and the semiotic) work autonomouslyand in a mutually dependent way (Bourdieu 1990). Incidentaldetail? Hardly.Almost every chapter starts out by situating the reader there:"Childerley. take political positions.and identifications.Bell's (1994) ethnographicstudy of a pseudonymous exurbanEnglish village in Hampshire (pop. institutions. gender. The countrysideitself becomes a . they might say.The analogyis to gender:to code a respondentmale or female is not the same as graspinghow social institutions(and places) are gendered. Exemplar To bringthis flightyprolegomenadown to earth. Place mediates social life. place standsin a recursiverelationto other social and culturalentities:places are made throughhumanpracticesand institutions even as they help to make those practices and institutions(Giddens 1984). the Fox (describedas "abit grotty")is favoredby ordinaryworking-classfolks. culture.change. Even the concepts that Bell devises to analyze class in Childerleyare place-terms:the moneyed are "front-door" people (formal. power.group-oriented.The task aheadis to see all social phenomenaas emplaced.class. But social class is distrustedamong residents of Childerley. and to soak in the ambianceof the head-bashingly-lowtimberedceiling and rude board tables and benches" (Bell 1994:27).
sincere.building.as they see themselves in and from this "good"place (wherepatient.it will come from sociological studies of anything and everything that are informed by a sense of place as with Childerley (which was chosen as exemplarnot because the village evokes nostalgia or traditionbut because it is one of many sites where battles over the authenticityand even existence of "the local" are waged). tions by ordinary people who experienceplaces (and Powers Behind Places Most researchhas been done on how urbanplaces come to look the way thatthey do. power and inequality. How do geographic locations. authentically"country" For ordinaryfolks.and other squarelysociological matters. act on those understandings).Rather. interpreting. political economists (Feagin 1998.the constructionof places and their social achievementsor consequences distinction good only for are tough to disentangle so consider it an arbitrary ends. Gottdeiner 1994.capitalism.People arerankedandtrustedby how they are. materialforms. with less on the powers shapingruralareas(on rusticity:Ching & Creed 1997. An enduringdebate over factorsdrivingthe location andbuilt form of cities pits urbanecologists vs.In the Real World. individual buildings and lightly built landscapes (Bantjes 1997). Gottdeiner& Feagin 1988. Place is as vital for securingtraditionas for manifesting class difference:"The stories we tell take place in places. Childerleyan'srepresentationsof theirhome these are the means throughwhich readerslearn about inequality.only sometimesbroughttogether:upstreamforces thatdrivethe creationof place with perceptionsandattribupowerandwealth. Geographiclocation. and the culturalconjuringsof them intersectwith social practices and structures. Flanagan1993. Cloke & Little 1997.professionalpracticesof place-experts.468 GIERYN "moralrock"(1994:8) for Childerleyans. and most ordinary Childerleyanslive right in the setting of most of theirlifetime's accumulatedstories" (Bell 1994:170). with its own ASA section and specialtyjournal. A space for place in sociology is not to be found in a sociology of place. the country village that Childerley was imagined to be has been lost to gentrifyingarrivistesfrom London who build huge new homes and want to clean the place up.remembering has been examined in three sociological literatures. distantfromthe evil metropole.designating. Hughes 1993.using. small towns (Hummon 1990). and friendlypeople respectnatureon a firstnamebasis).difference and distinction?There are two ways to answer this question:the first is explore how places come intobeing. immediateorganizational PLACE-MAKING The makingof places identifying.morality.norms and values. Frisbie& Kasarda1988. Walton 1993). Summers 1986). thoughnot everyone agrees on its determinants. Urbanecologists . materialforms. the secondis to findout whatplaces accomplish.designing.
"Growth machines"of place-entrepreneurs local rentiers. and the process is neverthe same fromhereto there(Logan& Molotch 1987). media.as the place itself is consumedby touristsas they also consume schlock: "Sea Worldis a like a mall with fish" (Davis 1997:2. Knox 1993) has not made place unimportantbut ratherhas given rise to new kinds of places such as the "global city" (AD King 1996. or to legal structuresthat set in motion economic competitionsamong fractured municipalsovereignties(Frug 1999). decentralization banization.transportation.politicians. warehouses-have been decentralbusiness district. and technology.residential. to selective capital investmentsby banks and and government(Harvey 1973) or to economic restructuring the rise of high tech industries (Castells 1977) that find it more profitableto locate in (and spawn) "edge cities" (Garreau1991). Capitalistindustrialstrategiesare unavoidablyterritorialstrategies.changing populationdensities. Sassen 1991) and dependentcities in the "thirdworld"(Smith 1996). Simultaneousdecay in the urbancore and sprawlingsuburbs(Baldassare 1992) is tracedback. Theme parks representa double commodification. Wright& Hutchison 1997). and utilities-pursue ever . about the Political economic models of place-makingfind nothing "natural" architectureof urbanity:cities assume material forms (and cultural meanings) congruentwith economic interestsandpolitical alignmentsin a resolutelycapitalist world (for socialist alternatives: Blau 1999). Globalization of economic activity (Cox 1997. Knox & Taylor 1995. The natural physical environment. More recentecological perspectives(Hawley 1986) have exploredpatterns and suburof ethnic segregation. Metropolitanareas are not shaped by faceless forces of natural succession-and-competition capitalist logics of accumulation:people and or groups organized into coalitions actively accomplish places. sectorsthatslice throughthe concentriczones and as a spatiallydistributed multiplicityof nuclei or centers (reviewedin Wilson 1984). the individualchoices of self-interestedactorsare less consequentialthanthe pursuitof profit(throughproductionof goods and services.PLACEIN SOCIOLOGY 469 see cities as the result of a survivalof the fittest. A kind of structuraldeterminismhaunts these ecological and political economic models.and sought to identify empirically socioeconomic and ethnic factors thatunderliedifferencesamong residentialniches (Berry& Kasarda1977). "Natural" processes of competitionand mobility lead to segregatedniches of homogeneous activities The spatialarrangement these naturalareasof or demographiccharacteristics. or total makeoversof extantplaces like Times Square (Reichl 1999).manufacturing. or massive changes among existing cities such as the tilt towardthe AmericanSunbelt (Scott 1988). scribedas a set of concentriczones. Storper& Walker 1989). or-more immediately-investments in land) andpolitical complicity with such enlargementsof wealth (Lefebvre 1991). leading them both to overlook the play of agency and contingency in place-making. for example. shaped by competitionsfor efficient locations among individuals and corporateactors of diverse means and powers to controlthe physical terrainin a self-interestedway. on themed places generally:Gottdeiner1997.as geographicpatternsin productionand consumption create places of growth and decline (Clarke 1992.
and a "discipline"of design. Thrower1996).which destinationwith astronomicalrents has remadeSoho into a tourist-and-shopping residentialneighborhoodin Brussels is transformed (Zukin 1982). Suttles 1990). Dallas (Fairbanks1998). The design of a place may involve planners. or mobilized powers and the built-placesthat they desire. interior designers (Fehrenbacher-Zeiser (Buisseret 1998. Perin 1977. Forester1989. urban growth machines become clients for professions whose bailiwick is the design of built-places: architects (Blau 1984.technical skills and imperatives. Gans 1968. developers. who oppose growthbecause of its detrimentalconsequencesfor neighborhoodquality health. economic. spectacles. They sometimesface resistance from community organizersmore concerned about the use-value of place. Houston (Feagin 1988). Zeisel 1975). architects. Artistsdrawnto Lower Manhattan initially cheap digs in lofts soon found themselvesin the midst of intense economic development. (for The practiceof architecture example) situatesplace-makingwithin a profession that must defend its jurisdictionor marketniche (Brain 1991).historic (Barthel 1996). at and once.translation. Cherry1974. cartographers (Mukerji 1997).Cities compete nationallyand places like militarybases globally for investors.patrons.engineers. On-the-ground 1996). Cuff 1991. G King 1996. SarfattiLarson 1993. Brain 1989. Miami (Croucher1997. 1998. Portes & Stepick 1993) Milwaukee (Orum 1995). the makingof a place and the negotiation. even public relationsspecialists with expertisein preservationists promotinga place (Gold & Ward1994).financialinstitutions.policymakers.It is. and Minneapolis-St. alignmentof political and economic interests. culturaltreasures.aestheticjudgments and societal futures(Stieber 1998). and sufferare as much the consequenceof decisions made by place-professionals as of the wishes of clients upon whom they dependfor their livelihood. Paul (Orfield 1997) put human faces on the winnersand losers in these layered strugglesover place-making. nity (Papadopolous Beijing (Sit 1995). Hayden 1995. Scott & Soja 1996). a culture. surveyors. The finishedplaces that we see.regulatoryagencies. potentialusers. state-supported and tourists by differentiatingthem(Hooks 1994). Dearet al 1996. urban and regionalplanners(Boyer 1983.visit. Berlin (Ladd 1997.shoppers by selves from the rest.jobs. landscape architects 1996). legitimate . Pickles 1995.470 GIERYN more intensive land-use so that greateramounts of exchange-valuemay be extractedfromcommodifiedproperty(Rudel 1989). Gutman 1988. Hall 1988. A century-old home for the EuropeanCommu(not without opposition) into an administrative case studiesof Atlanta(Rutheiser1996). Los Angeles (Davis 1990. Sandercock 1998.The strugglebetweenthose who produceplaces for of life or environmental profitand those who consume it in theirdaily roundsis playedout againsta global struggleamong places for the wherewithalto grow. Place-Professionals From a different perspective. Interestsand agendas of diverse clients are filteredthrougha profession. Keil 1998.and variouslyinterestedaudiences. Strom 1996). inhabit. Design-expertsmediate the relationship between political.
postmodernemporiumsbecamerightnot only for selling butfor other social goals such as growing communityor attracting capital. the terrainof the physical site-get materialized in the built-form of a place.not just when design professional give form to function. 1995) have a certainsamenessto them not only because capitalistlogic demandsthat the same retail chains locate in almost every one of them.All by of these struggles melded with emergentconstraintsfrom clients' preferences and budget.as design firmshustle clients by specializing in a particular buildingtype or by promoting a signaturestyle. Ley 1989)] is not just about changing tastes (or changingpolitical economies: Harvey 1990).standardize procedures.and U-design-it software. The profession's marketabilitydepends upon convincing clients that architectsalone possess the creativeskills and artisticjudgmentsnecessary for making this transitfrom idea or need to place.local buildingcodes.standardization. This routinization. it is also aboutarchitectsseeking to convince clients that they have hit upon a better way to move function to form amidst the changing political economy of urbanareas (Ellin 1996)." which-when built-in-becomes the look or feel thatpeople associatewith a place.named. but also because developersbuy architectural plans from a small numberof bureaucratically organizedfirms who save considerabletime and money by hiring draftpersonsto crankout (routinizedby computer-assisted design) an effective and low-risk one-size-fits-allmall.amateurs.Architectssurvive because there are innumerableways to translate"function"(selling goods) into built "form"(a mall). or . A place is remarkable. Architectssell "style. but also when ordinarypeople extractfrom continuousand abstractspace a bounded. socialize its members. rationalizationof design practicethat and makes architecture firmsefficientlyprofitableandprofessionallyaccountablealso raises questionsaboutwhat it is exactly thatarchitectsprovide. Gottdeiner1995. and significantplace (de Certeau 1984. A Sense of Place Places are endlessly made.PLACE SOCIOLOGY IN 471 its its culturalauthority. Most everybodynotices at some level thatthe big-box suburban mall landinglike a spaceshipin a sea of parkingis not the same as the postmodernconfection like Boston's Quincy Marketor Baltimore's Harborplacethat is contextualizedinto the surrounding urbanfabric and decoratedwith appropriate historicalreferents.and what makes it so is an unwindablespiral of materialform and interpretative understandings experiences.andreward its heroes and (infrequently:Hughes 1996) heroines. not just when the powerful pursue their ambition throughbrick and mortar. For instance. Etlin 1997). Zukin 1991. suburbanshopping malls (Crawford 1992.developers. Buildings take shape as individual draftpersonsseek promotionto project architectsand then partners. The stylistic turn from modernismto postmodernism[which has yielded vastly different places (R King 1996. identified. 1997.meaningful. As the failed urbanrenewalprograms modernismgave way to gentrifyingcity neighborhoods of (Ley 1997). and as the professionpatrolsits porousboundariesfrom encroachments engineers.
is shopping.unfamiliaror known. Farleyet al 1994. Rankingsof city neighborhoodsin terms of perceived desirabilityand quality of life are key variablesin "place stratification"models used to explainpatternsof residentialdispersionof racialand ethnic areas(Alba & Logan 1993. The perceivedcontrastbetween a place unidentifiedspaces may be achievedthroughcontinuity(when andits surrounding homogeneity of buildings in a neighborhoodlead people to see the architectural it as Beacon Hill or Seaside).is pragmatic utility:people identify as places those spots thatthey go to for some particularpurposeor function. "Locality"is as much phenomenologicalas spatial. Harris1999.Urbanenvironments are designed and built in ways that either enhance or prevent their "imageability"and "legibility"(Lynch 1960). and they are boundedby imposing physinodes (transportation building facades that wall an open space) (Downs & Stea cal edges (waterfront. Also.perhaps. employment. like New York's FlatironBuilding or the VietnamVeteransMemorialin Washington)(Milgramet al 1972). Sundstromet al 1996). Places are made as people ascribe qualities to the material and social stuff gatheredthere: ours or theirs. New Yorkers 1973. or throughuniqueness(when a landmarkstandsout as utterly unlike any other thing in town. public or private. Research on mental (or cognitive) mapping how individualsidentify and locate a place when asked to map it suggests thatplaces emerge along paths (linearstreets)or transferpoints). accessible or not. 1977). A sense of place is not only the ability to locate things on a cognitive map. Advantagedgroups (and individuals) seek to put distance between themselves and the less advantaged.are reviewed in Kitchin 1994. The egoistic particularity mapped-outplaces will vary among individu(Jameson 1984:90) suggests that such representations and als in termsof theirbiographicalcharacteristics experiences:researchshows considerableracial and ethnic differencesin how people choose places to put on theirmaps (Lewis 1996).472 GIERYN Something in the built-formof a place encouragespeople to distinguish this buildingor thatpatch of groundfrom its overlookablebackdrop. rich or poor. Peponis et al 1990).The sequence of places along one's daily rounds(home. When asked to describe theirapartment. safe or dangerous. groupsin metropolitan Lindstrom1997. presentedeither a map (giving the location of adjacentrooms) or a tour (moving the respondentthroughspace) (Linde & Labov 1975). people recallmore easily places thatthey associate on with momentousevents in their lives (literatures cognitive mapping. But mentalmaps drawnby naive geographersalso measurewhat people bring to the materialforms they inhabit(Tuan 1974. beautiful or ugly.and environmentalpsychology generally. Foremost. but of is ratheran ongoing practicaland discursive production/imagining a people. of but also the attribution meaning to a built-formor naturalspot (Rotenberg& McDonogh 1993. new or old. Walter 1988).The very idea of is of "neighborhood" not inherentin any arrangement streets and houses. Black or White.entertainment) often the core cartographicfeature of then graftedon as a subjectivecityscapes-with identifieddistrictsandlandmarks of means of orientation(Pred 1990). South & Crowder1998). achieved against the ground .
Navahobeliefs thatArizona'sBlackMesa is a sacredplace did not preventthe Peabody Coal Companyfrom stripmining it for coal starting in 1970 (Kelley & Francis 1994). Is North America a "place. Laclau 1990). Crain 1997. Nomadichuntingandgatheringlifestyles of NativeAmericansin New Englanddid muchless to reducethe diversityof floraandfaunaof thisplace thanthe agricultural lifestyles of the colonists who carvedup the land into parcels of privatelyowned property (Cronon1983). WHAT PLACE DOES If place mattersfor social life and historicalchange-how? Scatteredliteratures suggest that place: stabilizes and gives durabilityto social structural categories. memories and values like the American . and became by turn. Lippard1997). Meaningsthatindividualsand groupsassign to places are more or less embedof ded in historicallycontingentand sharedculturalunderstandings the terrain sustainedby diverseimageriesthroughwhich we see and remembercities (Boyer 1994). embodies and secures otherwise and intangible cultural norms. Culturalgeography (or metageography)studies the (often implicit) spatial representations images throughwhich people arrangetheir behaviorand and of interpretations the social world (Anderson& Gale 1992.a sacredplace.and assumedas fact but not among all peoples at all times. for example. transmitted. and finally a mundaneplace (Smith 1999). WhetherNative American understandings of places are consistently in tune with ecologically sound noninvasivepracticesis a matterof dispute (Krech 1999. Stea & Turan1993).arrangespatternsof face-to-face interactionthatconstitute network-formation collective action.PLACE SOCIOLOGY IN 473 of globalizationor nationalization(Appadurai1996.not all islands are continents-Madagascar isn't. The Bastille. So much is at stake in these diverse images and experiences of a place. and with heavy ideological freight. and it becomes a sociological truism to say that such symbolic constructionswill be foreverprecariousand contested (Griswold 1992. differencesand hierarchies. physical topographyonto one continent are belied by obvious internaldifferentiation(what else does subAfrica sharewith Mediterranean Saharan Africa-or Mexico with Canadaandthe United States-apart from sitting on the same continentalland mass?) These culturallyreproduced images of places arethus arbitrary real in their but consequences-for what people do to the land."or Africa? Conventionaldemarcationsamong continentsare not based on any consistentlyapplieddecision-rule:EuropeandAsia arenot completely divided by water. built-environments. learned.culturalbeliefs. To shift ground:the familiar seven-continentspatialization of the earth'sprominentland masses has been described as a "myth"(Lewis & Wigen 1997) thatgets reproduced. Koptiuch1997. identities. Hiss 1990. Norton 1989. Moreover. startedout as a profaneplace. as they make (or destroy)places. Basso 1996. the homogeneities implied by gatheringup social practices. demographic and distributions. a liminal place. Sopher 1973).
This structuralist tradition says little about agency and choice in the planning of places (Pearson& Richards1997). physically threatening.wet/dry. Hayden 1984.light/dark(Bourdieu1990). . Instead. Weisman 1992.family stability) ascribed to the home (Benjamin 1995. These consequences result uniquely (but incompletely) from materialforms assembled at a particularspot. and place-shapedcapacities for workingclass mobilizationor expression(Thrift& Williams 1987). Bourdieu suggests that the architectural and geographicform of places is generated(self-reproduced) not-fully-conscious-orby strategicpracticesand symbolic logics thatare (at the same time) embodiedin and structured the resultingmaterialarrangements buildings. Prussin 1995).geographic patternsof relocation that differentiallyaffect labor and capital. especially in suburbs(DeSena 1990.474 GIERYN Dream (Whitaker1996). Emplacing Difference and Hierarchy Fundamentalsocial classifications take on an imposing and constrainingforce as they are built in to everyday materialplaces. by of Place sustains difference and hierarchyboth by routinizing daily rounds in ways that exclude and segregatecategories of people. Wilson 1998). at the same time that ethnic enclaves segregate.and economic advance(Zhou 1992). Class differencesandhierarchiesarereproduced throughsegregatedclass-specific localities of residence and consumption. Wilson 1992. Haar 1996. in Africa: Moore 1986. Wright 1981). Nippert-Eng 1995. Kirp et al 1995. Gendered segregations via and the geographyand architecture built-placescontributeto the subordination of spatializedsocial control of women.high/low. and class segregationsare achieved via restrictiveland-usezoning thatrequireshomes to be of a certainsize or value. Places reflect and reinforcehierarchyby extendingor denying life-chances to groups located in salutaryor detrimentalspots. Hayden 1981. they also provide conditions of ethnic solidarity. community.or inappropriate(McDowell 1999. social.seeking theoreticalescape from artificialoppositions of the objective and subjective. Cieraad 1999) which has been traditionally(and for many is still) a woman's place (Massey 1994). either by denying access to knowledge and of activitiescrucialfor the reproduction powerandprivilegeorby limitingmobility more generally within places defined as unsafe. and by embodying in visible and tangible ways the cultural meanings variously ascribed to them. Spain 1992. What it is to be female is constructed in part throughidealized qualities (domestic security. The kinship structureof simple societies is securedas it is spatializedin the geographicarrangement villages of and dwellings (Durkheim& Mauss 1963). in partvia the meanings that people invest in a place. ethnic. and the interiorallocation of spaces in the Kabyle house correspondsto basic dichotomies in the Berbercosmogony: male/female. Most of the literatureon ethnic enclaves has focussed on segregatedurbanneighborhoodswhose physical. Racial. The spatialdivision of laborbetween home and work has profoundconsequences for women's identities and opportunities(Ahrentzen 1992. Still.
prisons.inhibit their uphill attack.For example. The array of building-typesis. also a catalog of how places differentlybecome often terrainsof powers (Markus 1993).who are compelled by gentrificationto relocate elsewhere when they are given offers thatthey cannotrefuse (Zukin 1987). Powerspots vary in form and function:the co-location of exclusive clubs and corporate headquarters create local and comfortableplaces where interlockingdirectorates can assemble informallyand plot moves (Davis & Greve 1997.as Clark(1998) has shown for several Europeanminoritiesin the seventeenthcentury.PLACE SOCIOLOGY IN 475 and culturaldeterioration(whetherdue to the exodus of middle-class minorities or to racist real estate practices) has made it difficult for residentsto bettertheir conditions (Massey & Denton 1993. . on this score. give an impersonal and autonomouspower over docile subjects to hospitals. Power-Vessels Strongholds and who Places havepowersui generis. Oliver& Shapiro 1995. of accompaniedby architectures enclosure.and classification.display. From their domipasnationover nature. and pollutantsthat architecturally. the inscribedeven on the sewer plates of Rome (Falasca-Zamponi hold of a place on power is never permanentor absolute:as marketsand capital go global. Wilson 1996). which became a "centerof calculation"with the power to move a healthierFrance towardenlargedandenthusiasticpatronage science (Latour1988). The powerof of depends considerablyupon sequestrationsachieved laboratoriesas "truth-spots" walls and doors that exclude or inhibitpeople. Still. asylums. the point may be generalizable:being in the wrong place at the wrong time imposes costs on ethnic minoritypopulations. The situation is not all that differentfor long-time residentsof supposedlydeclining urban neighborhoods. However. the vaccine for anthraxwas uniquely emplaced at Pasteur'sParisianlaboratory. Kono et al 1998). The "commandof heights"has strategicadvantagein groundwarfare:places of high ground afford a wider view of adversaries'maneuvers.segregation.The fate of these groupswas a contingentmatterof place: those located in regions strategicallyin between two international powers at war sufferedgreaterpersecutionand violence.all apartfrompowerfulpeople or organizations occupy them:the capacityto dominateandcontrolpeople or thingscomes through the geographiclocation.and symbolic meaningsof a place. schools the Panopticon(Foucault 1979). Scientific laboratoriesare places where wild creatures are tamed.and facilitate constructionof powerful defensive strongholds(Clausewitz 1976). Spatializationsof normal/pathological. rustedsteel mills and ghostly impoverishedtowns stay behind (Pappas 1989.surveillance. built-form. Dominationover natureis housed in buildingsthatbecome-for this reason places of social power too. The aestheticizationof politics means that Mussolini's fascist power is 1997:98). Zukin 1991). enculturatedby insertion into artificialterritorialregimes that create purifiedand workableobjects of inquiry (KnorrCetina 1999).laboratories dominatesociety as they become "obligatory sage points" standingbetween desperatepeople and their panacea.
e. thus. The exercise of politicalpoweris also intimatelyconnectedwith place: geograorganizepolitical behaviorsuch as voting or activism phy and built environments (Sellers 1998). 1982). commandeeringopen spots on the shop-floorfor long breaks)(Rofel 1997. calculatingegoism.integration. the absolute(power)becomes local throughits emand placement(Deleuze & Guattari1986). and city in a "highmodernist" control over its people (Holston 1989. detachment. Such power can also be symbolized and reproducedthroughdistinctive building-typesor styles the bungalow in India (King 1995) that materialize colonization.the possibilities are two-engagement or estrangement (Sennett 1990) and debatesover the conditionsmakingfor one or the otheroutcomeconstituteperhapsthe most celebratedandenduringcontribution of sociologists to the studyof place (reviewedin Choldin 1978. 1992) that facilitate state Rabinow 1989.detachment. Robinson 1989). Carter1988. isolation. Sennett 1994)? Put crudely. sociation. Price 1995..disconnections. Urbanplaces have been describedas the locus of diversity. Metcalf 1989. coping. (Fischer 1977.e. and control of territoryis one measure of effective state sovereignty (Agnew 1987). Sennett 1970). Fischer 1975). of the land itself griddingthe countryside. Baldry 1999). These architectural geographicpowermoves sometimes meet resistance: recent constructionof modern and globally typical factoriesfor makingsilk in Hangzhoucould not deterworkers'subversive practices groundedin long-standingtraditions(e. Interaction. fear. creativity i. Proximity.tolerance. . Imposingmonumentsor government engineering colonies extendedimperialpower. seclusion. segregations.parochialism. Community Places bring people together in bodily co-presence but then what (Boden & Molotch 1994. the last place on earthone would expect to find community. Gieryn 1998. privatization.loneliness.in partby assertingwith "superior" or decorthatindigenes simply lackedthe civilizationto do the same for themselves (Anderson1983. Shapin 1998). cf. mental illness (Halpern 1995) i.476 GIERYN might challenge or compromise the cognitive authorityof experimentalscience (Galison & Thompson 1999. Gutman1989.g.formalizedsocial controls. spaces become the focus of governmentdevelopmentpolicies. to extend its reach over people and territory. tion. community(as a coming togetherin local collective projects requiringcivil negotiationsof differences that are inevitable) (Young1990).In all these cases.specialization. Wright1991. its prowess to control people buildingserectedall overthe (Mukerji1997).vilcan result from standardizations way.freedom. Or such power can merely be dischest-thumping:Louis XIV's straight-jacketed played in a kind of architectural for at Versaillesdemonstrated all to see the capacity of the French state gardens for material dominationover the land and.individualism. But urbanplaceshave also been describedas the locus of anonymity. frequentspontaneous personalnetwork-formation interactions. Scott 1998.sophisticacosmopolitanism. or even just mappingit (Kain & Baigent lage. Vale 1992.public participation.. This Place enables power to travel..withdrawal. cf.
the street. cornerstores. movable chairs. Places like neighborhood bars. Ordinaryneighborhoodresidents may be broughttogetherin unplannedinteractionswhen individualdwellings are compactly-built ratherthan widely dispersed. Brain 1998.open andinvitingenoughto encouraginglingeringtalk).andclubsprovides spots for informalengagementsand organizational meetings. But is there a "place effect" as well.freedom.g. Sorkin 1999).or when front porches and stoops permit seamless moves from home to a pedestrian-friendly street (Festingeret al 1950. Presence of perceivedly public places such as parks. cf. Lofland 1998. maybe somethingerotic (Young 1990)-more people will be drawnto them (Whyte 1980). new neighborhoodsare gated (Blakely & Snyder 1997). theirdifferentiationsalong lines of class. Suttles 1972). MacCannell1999). by forcingeverybody to use the same stairwell. and the culturalbeliefs they share (Wellman 1979). I breathemore easily.taste or lifestyle.the present!"Buck-Morss 1989:38).and subjectivetopological understanding mediatesthe effects of size. Kunstler 1996. So. Residential development that sprawls furtherand furtheraway from city centers creates the need for mobile pods of seclusion if they are connectableonly by privatecar travelingat high speeds (de Boer 1986.. often amongpeople who alreadyknow each other (Oldenburg1989). the grid of residential .inviting and accessible to all-fosters mingling of diverse people who don't alreadyknow each otherandprovidesa settingfor spectaclesand communal celebrations(Carret al 1992.restaurants (Ferguson1998).Allen (1977) foundthattherateof innovationin high-techR&D organizations couldbe enhanced by designingfacilities to maximizechanceinteractions(e. Engagementcan be built-in.streetfood. If those public places are designed effectively-providing comfortableplaces to sit.churches. Logan & Spitze 1994). Giving residents a stake in the process of place-making "New Urbanist"planners involve residents in "charrettes.At the scale of individualbuildings. Orperhapsthe places most conducive to communityarenot "designed" all (Cline 1997). but are disordered-and lose at much when they are purified(Jacobs 1961.libraries. too. squares. Sarkis 1997). demographic patterns. race. the built-formof cities may help to explain outbreaksof cultural effervescence and creativity (Hannerz 1992). in which the tight coupling of geography. Rowe 1997. ethnicity. Sennett 1970)."where strategicdesign decisions are made collectively-leads to greater civic interest and participationin subsequentpublic policy deliberations(Brain 1997.plazas (Moore 1996). Conversionof once public places into privateor semipublic ones-shopping malls replace Main Street and the town square(consider what Benjamin said of Europeanurbanarcadesfrom a centuryago: "Atthe exit .andvalueson the possibility or achievementof community?Enough studies suggest thatthe design and serial constructionof places is at the same time the execution of community (in one or the other sense of that word) (Hummon 1990. can estrangementbe built-in. In the same way.agora-owned by no one (legally or informally).built-form..water..PLACE SOCIOLOGY IN 477 Whetheror not communityresults from the gatheringup of people into proximateface-to-faceinteractions depends-sociologists routinelysay-on theirnumber.
which are then differentiatedby the propertyvalues of their homes-further segregatesdenizens along lines of race.In 1848. The bordersamong ethnic (or class) enclaves in the urbanmosaic often become impassable(Massey 1985.478 GIERYN streets is selectively closed off restrictthe range and diversity of people with whom one is likely to interacton daily rounds(Lofland1998).or civic centers are distanced from residential neighborhoods. spatial proximity in itself inspired collective activism (Hedstrom 1994). Haussmann'sboulevardshad fracturedsome of these neighborhoodsand. Place was equally consequentialin the 1989 Beijing studentrevolt. exclusionary. Haussmann'srebuildingof centralParisbetweenthese two uprisingschangedthe identity-contours along which protestwas organized. These patterns inspiredby narrationsof place thatin effect legitimatethe resultinghomogeneousenclaves for example. pollutions.and protectionist(Frug 1999). andgender(Lofland1973). when suburbsare envisaged throughimageriesof romanticpastoralism or unique historical heritages (Bridger 1996. Dorst 1989). In these outlying areas. are class.Here. does arise inside such enclaves wealthy 'burbor gentrifyWhen "community" ing neighborhood-it tends to be defensive. In the case of Swedishtrade of patterns "tertiary" unionists between 1890 and 1940. and undesirablessimultaneouslyplanted in The City. In the twentiethcentury.age. On different occasions. and thus as escapes from the risks. place provided a site where numbersof participantscould and would gather Leipzig's Karl Marx Platz for . Neighborhoodties became the via media of recruitmentand mobilization for the Paris Commune. Young 1990. of organization racialgroupsin Los Angeles was affectedby the spatial Community residentialstreets(Grannis1998). most workerswere residentiallyclustered by trade or craft in neighborhoodsreplete with cabaretsand cafes where they mobilized and schemed: networks forged in the workplace and reinforced in neighborhoodcentersof sociability organizedinsurgencyalong class lines. workplaces. the built environmentwas not a source of collective identity but ratherstructuredthe spatial distributionand flow of activists (Zhao 1998). where they organized their neighborsinto active resistanceagainstthe Frenchstate.wherethe combinationof radicalpolitics andneighborhood is attachments sustained(Stovall 1990). By 1870. but see Sigelman et al 1996). The spatial specialization of function-magnet places like stores. and works againsta more inclusive public sphere. part of Paris. ethnicity. Places SpawnCollectiveAction in Gould's rich studies of Parisianinsurrections 1848 and 1870-1871 epitomize a place-sensitiveperspectiveon collective behavior(Gould 1995). workers from different trades along with othersfrom differentclasses formeda new collective identitybased on the neighborhood itself: they were drawnto local public meetings. The fine structureof campus architectureand of surroundingstreets shaped patternsof mobilization.office parks. pushed many workersout to peripheralareasjust annexed as more importantly.the "redbelt" of Paris moved even furtherout into suburbssuch as Bobigny.
Normative Landscapes(Resistance. identities groundedin attachmentto local communities or neighborhoodscan inhibit an individual's commitmentto collective action-as Bearman(1991) foundfor desertersfromthe Confederate Armywho stoppedthinkingaboutthemselvesas genericSoutherners. San Francisco(Castells 1983.political autonomyandsolidarity-leading eventuallyto emergingrights of citizenship-were more common in pastoralareas than in arable lands more tightly controlledby ruling elites (Somers 1993. malls and arenasthat are constructedwith material(locks). appearances. avoided or destroyed.andsemiotic (informalcodes thatannounceappropriate usersanduses) devices thatdiscouragepublicdisplaysof politicalactivism(Boddy 1992. saving the Cedar-Riverside neighborhoodin Minneapolisfrom urbanrenewal (Stoecker 1994). Massachusetts. for Stockholm. place affects media coverage of collective action:public events are more likely to receive coverage if they occur on the customarybeat of reporters(Oliver & Myers 1999). New York) from an intrusive elevated train line (Gregory 1998). legal (armedguards andsurveillancecameras).Transgression. Openly gay behaviormay be expected and approved in CastroValley. Winner 1992). but not (it seems) in ruralWyoming. squaresand markets. Other studies call attentionto the locations of places. and saving Manhattan'sLower East Side from gentrification(Abu-Lughod1994) became rallyingcries for protestmovements.PLACE SOCIOLOGY IN 479 East Germanprotestsin 1989 (Opp & Gern 1993). cf. Place can become the object of collective action. Saving Owens Valley from thirstyLos Angeles (Walton 1992.villages thatwere neithertoo close to thecenterof politicalpowernortoo isolatedweremore prone to peasant uprisings (Barkey & Van Rossem 1997).M Graham1998. In a very differentway.Forsyth 1997). Brustein& Levi 1987). GrovelandChurchfor political rallies in a Chicago African-American community(Pattillo-McCoy1998).the effect is chilling on the possibility of mobilizationand public protest. for lesbians in Northhampton. saving "Black Corona" (a neighborhood in Queens.Whethera workers'strikeis legal or not. Control) Place is imbricatedin moral judgments and deviant practices as well. As public spaces in cities are privatized. as factors in collective action. In the seventeenth-century OttomanEmpire.stigmatized. Tags of graffiti artists violate legal norms when sprayed on the sides of subway cars or public walls. Constructionsof behavior. depends much on its geography(Blomley 1994). And. and how police respond to it. Davis 1990. for Arizona: Espeland 1998). in a quite differentway. but they become legitimate art when moved inside a gallery or museum (Lachmann1988). In eighteenthcentury England. as in NIMBY [not in my backyard]movements (Norton & Hannon 1997) or protests groundedin charges of environmentalracism (Bullard 1990).or even people as deviant depend upon where they happen but as . If places spawn collective action. in geographicspace. Conduct appropriate backstage is often not permissible out front (Goffman 1959). so too can they become its contraceptive.increasinglygive way to pedways and skyways.Streetsand sidewalks.
Pile & Keith 1997) againstforces imposing a territorializednormativeorder(Cresswell 1996). Interestingly.however.stigmatized.even thoughonly one quarter streetsas moredangerous of the neighborhood'srobberieshappenedthere (Merry 1981).or merely rectified(Foote 1997. City blocks with bars & crime againstproperty(Brantingham Brantingham or public schools have higher rates of burglariesthan elsewhere.anxiety. both its formal and informal guises. Place also plays a role in shaping rates of behaviorgenerally considered decriminologistssugviant or criminalno matterwhere they occur. But even perception of one's neighborhoodas dangerousincreasesthe frequencyof symptomsof depression. Still. which neverthelessfailed to avertthe destructivestrikeof 1894 (Buder 1967.or natural ders. Debate rages on over factorsaffect crime ratesnet of othersocial. explicitlyto clean up vice On some occasions. propertycrime rates may be lowered if places are designed to avoid large unassigned public spaces (with nobody interestedenough to watch over them). on model villages and plannedcommunities:Buder 1990). Police squadcars in Los Angeles maintainorderin partby patrollingboundaries and restrictingaccess they use place as a means to decide who and what properly belongs where (Herbert1997). cf. Likewise. Ekblom 1995. thanopen andbusy spaces. facilitatingsurveillance . terrorist erased. Gardner1995). McCarthy& Hagan 1992). just as place is caught up in definitionsof deviance. Gregory& Lewis 1988). Public places provide the circumstancesfor the most degradingforms of informal social control: on-the-streetharassmentof women or racial minorities is surely one way to keep disadvantagedgroups in their place (Duneier & Molotch 1999. and a study in Vancouverfound that the number of streets leading in to a block was directly to proportional the rateof propertycrime-convenient access andegress seems to enable some forms of streetcrime (Felson 1994). atrocities. to remove walls and shrubberythat make good hiding places De (Jeffery 1971. whetherenvironmental or economic variables (Birkbeck & LaFree 1993. so deviance on occasion defines place: sites of mass murtragediesare variouslymemorialized. sanctified. The same tactics are used by gang members seeking to establish and control their turf (Venkatesh1997.to engage in "outof place"practicesis also a form of resistance(de Certeau1984.oppositionaldefiantdisorderamong adolescents(Aneshensel & Sucoff 1996). places aredesigned andconstructed and otherdisorderlypractices as was the case with GeorgePullman'smodel village in Chicago.480 GIERYN these threeexamplesillustrate. places perceived by people as dangerous often do not match up with the geographic distributionof crime: in an ethniresidentstypicallydefinednarrowandclosed-off cally mixedurbanneighborhood. demographic. on companytowns:Crawford1995. Offices have become open. in Social control is also territorialized. to separateschools from shopping malls. White 1990). Green et al 1998). Smith 1995. Littmann1998.Environmental gest that the geographiclocation of various social activities and the architectural of arrangements spaces and building can promote or retardcrime rates mainly 1990). on "defendedneighborhoods:" Sena 1990. Feagin 1991. violence.
are more likely to have strongeremotional bonds to where they live.the formalqualitiesof a builtenvironment effect on individualsby shapingthe possibilities for theirbehaviors. providing a durable legible architectural aide-memoire(on nationalidentities:Cerulo 1995. Residents of neighborhoodsnear prominentlandmarks. Place attachmentfacilitates a sense of security and well-being.IN PLACE SOCIOLOGY 481 and bureaucratic control (Hatch 1990). the more rooted they feel. or with better quality housing stock. public harassment. Herting et al 1997). Perhaps for this reason. Marcus 1992.. community sentiment (Cuba & Hummon 1993. terrifying.triumphant. Radcliffe . class. Gupta 1997. Other research shows that place attachmentresults from interactiveand with culturallysharedprocessesof endowingroomsor buildingsor neighborhoods an emotional meaning. Hecht 1994). The longer people have lived in a place. Hummon 1992).or with easily defined edges. to us personally there.mnemonicplaces (Zerubavel1997) are specifically designed and constructedto evoke memories. In these cases. What Venkateshwrites of gangs and their territoriesholds as well for formal policing. SarfattiLarson 1997. The good times sharedby friends at a universitycoffee shop (Milligan 1998) or a Chicago cafeteria (Duneier 1992) formed the basis for tight bonds of group affiliation-then disruptedwhen the special place was shut down. defines group boundaries. and Place Attachment:Identity.at least in theory(on place andcontestednationalidentities:Borneman 1997. Generally. just as sacred places become the destination of pilgrimages because of their mythic or symbolic connection to the transcendent (Barrie 1996.sentimentalbonds betweenpeople and a place brings together(in yet anotherway) the materialformationson a geographicsite and the meaningswe investin them (Altman& Low 1992. triggeridentities. and the greatertheir attachmentto it (Elder et al 1996. among children:Chawla 1992. and stabilizes memories (Halbwachs 1980) against the passage of time (generally:Logan & Molotch 1987. Friedlander& Seligman 1994.Loss The formationof emotional. Wagner-Pacifici Schwartz 1991) inspire & patriotism. and embody histories. Spillman 1997. Rubinstein & Parmelee 1992). among the elderly: Reed et al 1997.and crime generexerta powerful ally: "Onthe one hand.traumatic. Zelinsky 1988).Memory.On the other with qualihand. built places give materialform to the ineffable or invisible. Because of these kinds of attachments. individualsproducetheir space by investing their surroundings tative attributes specified meanings"(1997:90).sociologists should perhaps add place to race.e.involvementin local public activities (shopping. politics) increases attachmentto one's neighborhood i. and gender as a wellspring of identity.National monumentscommemorating wars or centennialsor atrocities(Barber1972. Gupta& Ferguson1997). drawn upon to decide just who we are in an always unsettledway (Keith & Pile 1993). But the attachmentto places also depends some on the geography and architectureof the places themselves. Place attachments resultfromaccumulated biographical experiences:we associateplaces secret events that happened with the fulfilling.
482 GIERYN & Westwood 1996). as in naturaldisasters(Erikson 1967). To be without a place of one's own-persona non locata is to be almost non-existent. One can be displacedeven withoutgoing anywhere:victims of residential a report(for some time thereafter) violation of theirpersonalspace and burglaries a loss of security (Brown & Perkins 1992). must have devastatingimplicationsfor individual and collective identity. as partof the affirmation ethnicor tribalsolidarityand continuity (Appadurai1996.This is impossible. It is difficult to spot the most vitally overlookedgaps when the domain of study is as unboundedas the one discussed here-place matters for politics and identity. unforgettable CONCLUSION Review articles typically end by looking ahead to questions and problems most in need of researchtomorrow. a neighborhood. It is a place not exactly like the place where I had earliergatheredup and studiedthe books and articles needed for what I have written so far. to the deinstitutionalized nity. and history and for psychological well-being (Fullilove 1996). where I had been invited to give a series of lectures. The on immense literature diasporascalls attentionto idealizationsof homelandsthat of (sometimes)neverwere. Sorenson 1992). The loss of place. commu(Dear & Wolch 1987. An alternative Holland. Rossi 1989. Wolch & Dear 1993. often amid local opposition Taylor 1989). Naficy 1999. conclusion came to mind while spendinga week in Maastricht.exploited.history and futures.prisons) is a to the difficultyof reattaching a place findinga home. it follows. Cohen 1997. Malkki 1995. The difficulties in imaginingjust what a place-sensitivesociology might become next were obvious as I struggled . Effects of displacementvary (Brown & Perkins 1992) depending upon whetherthe dislocation is forced. and the same loss of meaning is reportedby those whose sacredplaces are desecrated(de Certeau1984). mainly because the books and articles reviewed here as exemplifying a place-sensitive sociology do not add up to a neat propositionalinventory of empirical findings about the social causes and effects of place. on immigrantethnic communities:Kasinitz 1992).forgotten. They might also be home to ghosts (Bell 1997) and as with cemeteries (Sloane 1991) we go to such places to visit those who are no longer. Safran 1991.inequalityand community. Snow & Anderson 1993.memory. as studies of the homeless imply (Dordick 1997. Among the problemsof those dischargedfrom total institutions(mentalhospitals.and like West Virginiacoal country(Stewart1996). by Native Americanswhose homelandshave been made invisible (Blu 1996) and by people in regions of the United States chronicallymarginalized. or voluntary. urban renewal(Gans 1962) and political exile (Bisharat1997. Portes & Stepick 1993). Wright 1997).Is there anythingsociological not touchedby place? Probablynot.as in job relocations and tourism (MacCannell 1976) and on whetherthe displacementis temporaryor permanent(on migrant workers:Mitchell 1996.
..' . .. neithernumbers nor words nor abstractconcepts seemed sufficient to capturethe sociologically significantcharacteristics Maastricht Bloomingtonas places.. it was easy for me to startdemographically: how many people lived in each place. of and Maybe a place-sensitive sociology is not a set of empirical findings at all or even a distinctivekind of explanatorymodel. perhaps.. race.floor . or theorize medieval vs. but rathera way to do sociology in a differentkey-a visual key. .. :. As a sociologist.. And it was no sweat to theorize Maastrichtand Bloomington as instances of global capitalismor urban sprawlor liberaldemocratic regimesor town-gownrelations. of trainedincompetencein a disciplinethatcultivatesstatisticsandwords as means to graspthe social Sociologists could become more adeptwith maps.> .:.SES. . twentieth-century architectural styles But so much is lost in this translation of street scene to measurementor narrationor abstraction. and how are the two populationsdifferentiated by age. Indiana.or how they might be alike-and why those differencesor similaritiesmight matterfor the thinking I was doing. ethnicity?I could just as easily put into wordshistoricaltidbitsaboutthem:the treatyto createa EuropeanUnion was signed at Maastricht 1992..o . gender..What I lacked were tools to analyze place in its given two and three dimensions.. . I am a victim. x . . R. occupation. .: in Figure1 Street Maastricht. I walked down this street in Maastrichta dozen times and forced myself to wonder how I knew that I was not back in Bloomington. religion.e os.Surely I could measure the width of the lane between buildings (noting that no street in Indianais that narrow).Still..sx . .or tell a story about the absence of front lawns. Hoagy Carmichealcomposed "Stardust" the in at Book Nook on Bloomington's IndianaAvenue in 1929..B! .PLACEIN SOCIOLOGY 483 to see how Maastrichtdiffered from Bloomington. . ..^'_f .
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