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City in network society : between "space of place" and "space of flows"


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Šarinić, Jana. (2013). City in network society : between "space of place" and "space of flows". PhD Thesis. Filozofski fakultet u Zagrebu, Department of Sociology. [mentor Čaldarović, Ognjen].

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One of the most important features of contemporary world is intensive urbanization and growth of megacities around the globe. As well as other close disciplines, geography in particular, urban sociology is facing many dilemmas about how to explain new urban phenomena and in which way to point out the potential perspective of the further development of urbanization processes. The topic of this dissertation is critical analysis of potential approaches and goals of classical and modern urban sociology in their efforts to explain new phenomena that are developing in front of our eyes. The dissertation presents discussion on the aspects of development of urban society, on the role and position of contemporary urban sociology and its key concepts and theoretical approaches, with special attention given to contrast, differences and similarities between different critical approaches, theories and ideas of contemporary and classical urban sociology. Classical urban sociology, the Chicago School that was established at the very end of 19th century, had provided explanations of urban phenomena mostly based on the theory of spatial determinism (human ecology) without the deeper understanding ofeconomic and political processes that were behind it and that have influence on changes within the urban tissue and processes. Contrary to the Chicago School explanations, the “New urban sociology”, starting from the 1960s, focused on analysing changes and influences of political and economic dimensions on cities. This is partly due to differences between American and European tradition of urban sociology which are brought up in this work as well. Contemporary urban sociology, especially "Los Angeles School of Urbanism", is interested in new processes of urbanization in post-fordist globalized economies. These processes, according to the "LA School", are restructuring "social mosaic" of "postmetropolis" as a globalized "exopolis" and "fractal city" (Soja). New models of urban growth such as global city model and postmetropolis model are introduced and discussed, in addition and opposition to the traditional concentric-zone model of Chicago School. The conclusion is drawn that the most important feature of any contemporary model is that it should be a network city model, because the network analyses of city connections, inside restructuring and organization (for example, complicated transportation networks of metropolis or metropolitan region) is the best way to understand growth dynamics and change of any contemporary city. In this dissertation we will present a critical analysis of theories and concepts of the most important authors that study contemporary cities and urban agglomerations as well as developed social and sociological explanations of these "multifaceted processes" within urban regions. However the main three authors whose work we will address here are Manuel Castells, Edward W. Soja and Michel Bassand. Castells introduced the term "network society" for a new social structure that emerged at the end of 20th century, and explained the depth and complexity of structural changes regarding the new social form of networks (between groups, individuals, but cities as well), informational and technological impact on space, time (space of flows and timeless time) and culture (a new form of culture - "culture of real virtuality"). A new type of space that emerged in the network society („space of flows“) is viewed by Castells as (analytically) opposed to „space of place“ where we all live in our everyday life. In our work we will show that it is better to understand these terms as connected and parts of the process of structuralization of contemporary cities and urban society. In the concluding part of dissertation, potential ways of understanding the urban phenomena as well as sociological and social theories that could help in the explanation of the future of our urban society are being discussed and summarized. The dominant form of space in the network society is the space of flows. It is a space of economic transactions and global networks, as well as instrumental spaces and „non-places“ (Augé), but it is not disconnected from the place as such (the space of place) because the space of everyday life is still full of people, ideas, traditions - culture(s), and it is "very much alive". We will show how these two spaces interact with one another, but the main focus will be social and sociological problems that are arising from this relation, such as dual city and social fragmentation in global and world cities.

Item Type: PhD Thesis
Uncontrolled Keywords: urban sociology, sociology of urban, social theory, sociological theory, global city, space of flows, spaces of places, Castells, urbanization
Subjects: Sociology
Departments: Department of Sociology
Supervisor: Čaldarović, Ognjen
Date Deposited: 30 Dec 2013 10:24
Last Modified: 20 Nov 2014 10:58

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