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Fractal spatialities

Chettiparamb, A. ORCID: (2013) Fractal spatialities. Environment and Planning D: Society and Space, 31 (4). pp. 680-692. ISSN 0263-7758

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To link to this item DOI: 10.1068/D10111


This paper argues for the use of ‘fractals’ in theorising sociospatial relations. From a realist position, a nonmathematical but nonmetaphoric and descriptive view of ‘fractals’ is advanced. Insights from the natural sciences are combined with insights on the position of the observer from Luhmann and notions of assemblages and repetitions from Deleuze. It is argued that the notion of ‘fractals’ can augment current understanding of sociospatialities in three ways. First, it can pose questions about the scalar position of the observer or the grain of observation; second, as a signifier of particular attributes, it prompts observation and description of particular structuring processes; and third, the epistemic access afforded by the concept can open up possibilities for transformative interventions and thereby inform the same. The theoretical usefulness of the concept is demonstrated by discussing the territory, place, scale, and networks (TPSN) model for theorising sociospatial relations advanced by B Jessop, N Brenner, and M Jones in their 2008 paper “Theorizing sociospatial relations”, published in this journal (volume 26, pages 389–401). It is suggested that a heuristic arising from a ‘fractal’ ontology can contribute to a polymorphous, as opposed to polyvalent, understanding of sociospatial relations.

Item Type:Article
Divisions:Henley Business School > Real Estate and Planning
ID Code:32887
Uncontrolled Keywords:Fractals, scale, sociospatial relations, strategic–relational approach, repetition, distinction

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