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sorts of places (. . .) have come to construct
themselves as objects of the tourist gaze' (Urry,
1990, p. 125) - and to people acting as one
would expect from tourists, picturing everything
to capture the 'essence' or authenticity of being
at one place. The images then serve as a proof
of the authentic reliving and recognizing of the
places, leading to 'a kind of alienation which
has become a prototypical hallmark of photo-
graphic 'seeing' in tourism' (Albers and James,
1988, p. 136). Furthermore, people visiting
these staged places are even expected to behave
like tourists, trying to picture what was created
to be extraordinary. If someone would act in
contrast to these expectations by continually
taking photos of everyday situations and places,
irritation can occur.
A physical-scientifi c understanding of
space as relational (Einstein: Theory of relativ-
ity) has had a signifi cant infl uence on the con-
cept of space prevalent in the social sciences. A
decade before, space was not a matter of soci-
ology, since it was conceptualized to act as a
container, containing social action with no inter-
action between agency and structure. The
explanatory potential of a (social) spatial relativ-
ity is far higher, since many social process can
be better explained using a theoretical system
that treats motion, dynamics, continuous pro-
cesses and transformations as being the normal
state of affairs.
Space in this regard is conceptualized by
Martina Löw (2001, 2005) as a relational (re)
arrangement of human beings (animals) and
objects located at places, consisting of the two
interwoven processes of perception/construc-
tion and action. She classifi es her spatial theory
as relational, and differentiates between two
processes that constitute space: fi rst , 'the posi-
tioning of social objects and people and of
primarily symbolic markings in order to denote
as such ensembles of objects and people'
(Löw, 2001, p. 158). She calls this process spac-
ing. Second, a synthesis effect is necessary in
the structuring of space: people and objects are
combined producing spaces through processes
of perception, imagination and remembering.
These two processes do not operate in an arbi-
trary fashion, and instead observe predefi ned
Spaces are created by the arrangement
of bodies - both living beings and social
objects - which are the products of current and
of past (symbolic and material) action:
'Space is the relational arrangement of
social objects and people (living beings) in loca-
tions' (Löw, 2001, p. 224). Spacing and the
synthesis process are both subject to predefi ned
conditions and depend on the nature of actions:
societal notions of space, and class-specifi c,
gender-specifi c and culturally specifi c habitus all
infl uence these processes; they are also affected
by the location of the synthesis process and the
external infl uence of the social objects and peo-
ple already present. In addition, one can only
'place' that which is available in a given action
situation - in other words, spacing processes are
negotiation processes based on the symbolic
and material goods (and beings) present in a
given location; these processes do not take
place in a power vacuum (Fig. 6.2; see also
Löw, 2001, p. 228).
Spatial arrangements thus have a forming
infl uence on actions and are simultaneously
(re)produced by these. This happens in the
case of routines in repetitive, everyday life. In
describing the constitution of spaces, Löw
(2001) refers back to the differentiation made
by Giddens (1984) between practical and dis-
cursive consciousness: the latter allows us to
put our own actions and behaviour into words
when we refl ect on and consider these - for
example, in interviews where residents talk
about their neighbourhoods, about their per-
ception of the city or town where they live or
about the layout and decoration of their homes.
Depending on habitus, these refl ective exami-
nations of the one's own spatial behaviour will
exhibit varying degrees of sophistication. In
order to 'create' such a situation, both time and
trust are necessary; visual material can often be
an effective aid. For example, residents might
describe their neighbourhood with the help of
photos that they have made themselves, or
might comment on a selection of images or
newspaper cuttings.
Practical consciousness is concerned with
the knowledge that is updated in everyday
behaviour, but is not directly accessible. In repet-
itive, everyday life, spaces are generally formed
from the practical consciousness - people rarely
talk about how they generate spaces. However,
when this subject is brought up, for example in
refl exive contexts, a part of knowledge from the
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