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Space, a metaphor very frequently used in everyday communication, is a bewildering term

too, for its use has multiple contexts ranging between the concrete and abstract, ideal and

material, phenomenal and behavioural, vertical and horizontal and what not. What we seek

to address ourselves is not absolute space, a ‘thing in itself’ independent of matter, but that

which possesses a structure amenable to individuation. There are absolute spaces all

around us and we cannot evade their significance. Everything is clear enough in absolute

space and time, but things get a bit more awkward when it comes to relative space-time

and downright difficult in a relational world. Such a concept of space is now echoed in

geography and cartography, struggling to map the dynamism of change against a totality

of connections, a complex of spatialities. Space as a relative entity, is intelligible as

relationship between objects, which exists only because objects exist and relate to each

other. As conceived by Leibniz, ‘an object can be said to exist only insofar as it contains

and represents within itself relationships to other objects’.

Our study focusses on the spatial practices inseparable from socio-economic and

politico-cultural processes. Spatial production being inseparable from every existential

social enterprise, space has always been powerful in human cultures, although knowledge

production took a spatial turn only in the recent past. The social theoretical preliminaries

about the notion of space started with a tripartite division of human spatial experience

into: a) the one with the biologically given organic space, b) the neurologically given

perceptual space and c) the symbolic space or the abstract that relates to architectural,

pictorial, poetic space generating distinctive meanings, theorised by Gaston Bachelard

We start with the social theory of space that explains social space as social action,

social existence, social practice and social relationships. In other words it is spatial

practice of social relations that are inevitably based on economic and other practices that

organises and use the space. The space is coded in social relations as theorised by

Lefebvre in the spatiality, society, history combine, or by Harvey in the space time

combine and by Foucault in the space, knowledge, power combine. Social life is spatially

constituted and reconstituted as required by the dominant economy and by different spatial

practices. Every economy, society and practices produce its own unique space that is

simultaneously material, social, political, cultural and symbolic.

The thesis is situated generally in the cultural as well as spatial politics under the

contemporary capitalist spatial complex of social relationships, which is inherently

dynamic, conflicting, contradictory, challenged and contested. There spatial practices are

strategically, geographically, ideologically, materially, and culturally mobilised at the

individual as well as the collective level of existence. This study seeks specifically to

address spatial problematic of the sociality, i.e. spatiality of social life. Spatiality of social

life refers to the conception of society through spatial practices. As spatial problematic, the

study attempts to develop a theoretical model of spatiality of social life. The title is

conceived as ‘Spatiality of Social Life: A Model of Spatial Complexes’. This presumptive

and hypothetical formulation of ‘spatial complexes’ signify that spatiality is constituted by

set of components that intersect in spatial practices. Those components which co-ordinate

and constitute spatiality are its ‘constitutive spatial factors’. And these factors do form

‘spatial complexes’, the model of spatiality. Before highlighting and explaining these

constitutive components of spatiality which would be named as “spatial complexes”, let us

identify the general theoretical milieu of this study.

In the theorisation of society, since second half of twentieth century, there has been

an intellectual attempt giving interpretative privilege to space over time in order to bring

out the spatial dimension of human existence. Many social theoreticians have contributed

towards the theorisation of society from such perspective of space. A profound foundation

for such developments has been made by the spatial thinking of Henri Lefebvre in his

classical work The Production of Space. This is the study of moments and modalities in

the lived action of everyday life. Where there is space, there is human being, the

conviction of Lefebvre. Space is socio-cultural existence and action. It is social reality of

relations, forms and representations and every society makes its own space.1 The process

of human life is inextricably linked with the production of different spaces. Social

theoretician David Harvey2 observed that for modern theoretician space was a mere

contingent category and their pre-occupation with progress privileged ‘time’ over ‘space’.3

For him space and time are indispensible categories of human existence.4 In his work

Social Justice and City, he argued that it was crucial to reflect on the nature of space if we

were to understand urban processes under capitalism. For him the problem of the proper

conceptualisation of space is resolved through human practice with respect to it. That he

asks the question: “how is that different human practices create and make use of different

conceptualisations of space?” For him space is neither absolute, relative nor relational in

itself, but it can become one or all simultaneously depending on the circumstances. Michel

For more information see Henri Lefebvre, The production of Space, Trans. Donald Nicholson-Smith,
Oxford: Blackwell, 1991, p. 27 ff.
David Harvey, a geographer and political economist, has been contributed towards the conceptualisation
of whole range of fundamental relation between space, time and social being. There are different phases
in his theoretical conceptions. He was, earlier, a guru of positivism that exhibited in his Explanation in
Geography (1969); later shifted to Marxian interpretation of spatiality through his work Social Justice
and the City (1973); then acknowledged disruptive spatialities and multiple ontologies of plurality of
universe in a postmodern cultural context of capitalism in The Condition of Postmodernity: An Enquiry
into the Origins of Cultural change (1990); and also conceived the politics of place-making through
‘geographies of differences’ in Justice, Nature and Geography of Difference (1996).
David Harvey, The Condition of Postmodernity: An Enquiry into the Origins of Cultural change,
Oxford: Blackwell, 1990, p. 201.
Ibid., p. 205.

Foucault, from late 1970’s, was much conscious of the way the organisation and use of

space coded in social relations. He attempted to theorize the history of human kind from

“strategies of geopolitics” and to the “tactics of the habitat”, as history of spaces and the

history of powers.5 He theorized space as fundamental in any form of “communal life” and

in any exercise of power.6 He thought that the “obsession” of nineteenth century was for

history and the present epoch for space, in this manner he privileged space over time.7

The contemporary theorisation of society is witnessing both ‘spatial turn’ and

‘postmodern turn’. Spatial turn reflects the growing interests in the power of space and

spatial thinking as a way of interpreting the social world that is theorised from the

perspective of socio-cultural and institutional practices underlying the materiality of such

practices. Such theorisation involves asking different critical questions related to socio-

cultural practices, economic and social relations, dimensions of hegemony, domination,

exercising of power, gender and racial discriminations etc. All these aspects in the spatial

existence of human being become a subject matter of social theorisation. In ‘spatial turn’

Edward Soja finds a “renewed awareness of the simultaneity and interwoven complexity

of the social, historical, and spatial dimensions of our lives, their inseparability and often

problematic interdependence”.8 This spatial turn, i.e. the spatial dimension of human

culture and society, is seen as the most important intellectual and political developments

and has come to the forefront of social theory since the second half of the twentieth


See Michel Foucault, Power/Knowledge: Selected Interviews and Other Writings 1972-1977, New
York: Pantheon, 1980, p. 149 ff.
Michel Foucault, ‘Space, Knowledge and Power’ In Paul Rabinow (ed.), The Foucault Reader, London:
Penguin, 1984, p. 252.
Michel Foucault, ‘Of Other Spaces’ In Diacritics, Vol. 16. 1986, p. 22.
Edward W. Soja, Postmetropolis : Critical studies of Cities and Regions, Oxford: Blackwell, 2000, P.7.

Postmodern turn involves many new approaches to critical thought and theory.

First of all, there is the deep epistemological critique of modernist theories, practices,

which was exclusively binary in nature. And there is attempt to deconstruct and

reconstitute modernist binary thinking in order to open up new alternatives and reduce the

silencing of "other" voices that has been so closely associated with modernist thought and

practice. This in turn has led to an exploration of a multiplicity of alternatives to the more

rigid structures. Michael Dear observed that the emergence of postmodern thought has

provided an important impetus for reconsideration of space in social theorisation and in

shaping of everyday life.9 The postmodern turn is the most significant endeavour in the

study of society since social is spatial i.e., social life is spatially constituted and

reproduced; and each and every society produces its own unique spaces which are

material, cultural and symbolic in nature. These spaces are no longer to be treated as the

dead or fixed rather they are dynamic, contradictory, conflicting and change-oriented.

Moreover, to consider the spatializations of the human life is to locate and relocate the

contexts and the means and ways of our social formations – our daily and institutional

practices, in their concreteness, because “there is no unspatialized social reality”.10 Space

has function in constituting, maintaining and challenging social life. Spatial practices are

strategically, geographically, ideologically, materially and culturally mobilised in the

individual and collective existence.

Both the spatial and postmodern ‘turn’ in the social theory and practice enabled

what Edward Soja described as ‘new cultural politics’. The distinctive features of the ‘new

cultural politics’ are the assertion of difference in order to trash the monolithic and

Michael Dear, “Postmodern Bloodliness” in Georges Benko and Strohmayer (ed.), Space and Social
Theory : Interpreting Modernity and Postmodernity, Oxford: Blackwell, 1997, P. 49.
Edward Soja, Thirdspace: Journey to Los Angeles and other Real-and-Imagined Places, Oxford:
Blackwell,1996, p.46.

homogeneous in the name of diversity, multiplicity, and heterogeneity; and to reject the

abstract, general, and universal in the light of the concrete, specific, and particular.11 For

Soja this ‘new cultural politics’ is a strategy to achieve social and spatial justice in a

culturally complex heterogeneous society.12 Moreover this new cultural politics is at the

heart of what is called as Thirdspace methodology of spatiality of social life. The

methodological concept Thirdspace crops up frequently in contemporary human

geography and the concept is developed as epistemological and ontological category to

challenge dualistic conceptions of spatiality of social life and to open up possible multiple

conception of human spatiality.

Therefore, as discussed above, the category space becomes central to the thinking

of contemporary social sciences. Drawing on and Lefebvre’s conceptualization of the

relations between spatiality, society and history; and Foucault’s attention to the

intersections among space, knowledge, and power; sociologists have increasingly turned

toward examining the social production of space. Their contributions played a major role

in the contemporary reassertion of a critical spatial perspective and geographical

imagination through all of the human sciences. That is, spatiality infuses every discipline

and discourse, and goes beyond fragmented and compartmentalised disciplinary

specialisation.13 It is to say that there is spatial dimension to many disciplines of

knowledge like Geography, Architecture, Urban studies and others like social theorists,

historians, anthropologists, sociologists, feminists, cultural critics, and postcolonial

theorists. The geographical metaphors like space, place, territory, etc. are growingly used

by social theorists and much emphasis on context, particularity, locality and geography.

See Cornel West, ‘The New Cultural Politics of Difference” in R. Ferguson et al., eds., Out There,
Cambridge: MIT Press, 1990, pp. 19-20; and Soja, Postmetropolis: Critical Studies of Cities and
Regions, Oxford: Blackwell, 2000, pp. 279-80.
Edward W. Soja, Postmetropolis : Critical ... Op. cit., P. 279.
Edward Soja, Thirdspace : Journey to Los Angeles ... Op. Cit., p. 47.

Since there is interpretive privileging of space, for contemporary theoreticians there is a

need for an ontological and epistemological shift in human thinking prioritising spatial

existence and spatiality of human life. To understand social, cultural and economic life

and changes in them the category of space has to be fore-grounded as a tool and as a

central category of signification. This is the context of placing our study of developing a

theoretical model of spatiality of social life. But the concern of this study is not the

prioritisation of space to have spatial dimension in the understanding of human existence,

rather to develop a model of spatiality; i.e. to study society through spatial practices by

integrating different constitutive components and co-ordinates of sociality. Therefore we

draw on the above mentioned theories and other relevant concepts to build our conceptual

categories for conceiving a theoretical model of spatiality. And such model would be

again explicated and validated through a case illustration.

What does constitute our conception of spatiality? Even though space and

spatiality is interrelated and sometime could be used interchangeably, space is used in a

restrictive sense of social relation, social action, societal behaviour, etc; but spatiality in

our study is conceived in broader sense of encompassing every co-ordinating ingredient

which contributes towards the flow of life, the sociality. Space is social and social product;

and every society and every form of “communal life” produce its own space. As Manuel

Castells noted, “we look at space as social form and social practice, throughout history

[social] space has been the material support of simultaneity in social practice”.14 Space is a

factor in social existence or in any form of interactive social life from global to local

context. The category of time in social existence is not merely the temporality and even

the time frame of social relationship. It is not the compression of time-space as it is

Manuel Castells, The Information Age: Economy, Society, and Culture: The Rise of The Net work
Society, Second Edition, Oxford: Blackwell Publishing Ltd, 2010, p. xxxi.

conceived in the globalised context of capitalist economy which enabled the mobility of

money, goods and services transcending physical barriers. It is not merely conceived as

progress and change or development (as progressive unfolding over time) where time-

space relation is polarised. Time is conceived as a concrete co-ordinate in the present

spatiality as past, history, events, tradition, social and collective memory, consciousness,

routines of life and day to day practices, mental emphasis of different historical

trajectories (or periods), progress and change etc. which are incorporated into present

spatial practices. The temporal dimensions in spatiality are heterogeneous, multiple; and

different type of time interacting with multiple spaces in spatial practices. Time is

heterogeneous and complex as in the case of space. Time cannot be totally erasable from

spatial practice even in hyper-real-spatial effect of postmodernism, as noted by Federic

Jameson and Mike Davis who criticizes that “despite the claims of some theorists of the

hyperreal or the `depthless present’ ... the past is not completely erasable, even in Southern

California”.15 Place is also an important category of human existence. As space is social

construct place is also a social construct. For Doreen Massey, a feminist critic, place is site
of social relations and she also concerned place with political agency.17 Cultural

geographers like Pamela Shurmer Smith observed that geographical phenomena in a place

are used to form and express people’s identity, ideas, philosophies, believes, practices

etc.18 Therefore ‘space’, ‘time’ and ‘place’ are significant categories of human existence

since they are part of human practices. These factors are conceived as constitutive

Mike Davis, City of Quartz: Excavating the Future in Los Angeles, London and New York: Verso,
1990, pp 229-300.
Doreen Massey, Spaces of Politics, In Doreen Massey, et . all (eds.), Human Geography Today,
Cambridge: Polity, 1999, pp. 288ff.
Doreen Massey, Space, Place, and Gender, Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1994, pp
See Pamela Shurmer Smith (ed.), Doing Cultural Geography, London: Sage Publication, 2002.

components or coordinates which intersect in spatial practices; and they become “spatial


Spatiality is society itself; therefore, as we have explained, social existence of

human being is inherently spatial through different practices. Since socio-cultural-material

processes are spatial practices, spatiality exists historically and ontologically as an

outcome of human activity. Spatiality is neither primordially given nor permanently fixed

but existentially it is ‘primordial’ in the sense that human beings are ‘born’ into or

‘emplaced’ into spatiality to act, live and transform; and such is a pre-condition for spatial

practice. This emplacement is the interface of ‘lived space’ (or ‘being-in-the-world’) to

constitute the spatiality and to actualise one’s own social existence. It is also human

being’s entering into some kind of relationship with regard to the materiality of practices.

Therefore it concretizes different spatial practices and also its underlying substratum of

pattern of relationship. Lived space constitutes and reconstitutes the materiality of spatial

practices. Therefore the spatiality also presupposes certain kind of spatial subjectivity

which refers to actor’s orientation in terms of both to orient spatial practice and get

oriented by it. It is related to the subjectivity and agency of the emplaced subject who is

constitutive of spatiality and gets constituted in and through it, therefore needs the

explication of the notion of subject and agency that enable subject to act. Here spatial

imperative of subjectivity and a ‘post-humanistic’ perspective agency is proposed that

subjectivity and agency in ‘spatial complexes’.

Spatial practices have the underpinning of ideology which is pervasive and spread

across the spatiality having interconnections with other constitutive elements. Ideology is

body of ideas; and lived, material practice – rituals, customs, patterns of behaviour, ways

of thinking, patterns of relationship, mode of organisation of practices etc which take

practical form through different socio–cultural and political institutions and their spatial

practices. That is, on the one hand ideology is seen as cognitive or ideational phenomena

which would primarily be a set of ideas, system of beliefs, perceptions, received wisdom,

social memory etc; and on the other hand it is seen as material practices and social

processes which produce social formations, institutional frames, instruments of power etc

within which ideas are produced and promulgated. In other words spatial practices are

informed by ideologies; and institutional and material practices are ideological. Therefore

it is identified as an interface of ideology i.e. ‘ideological space’ (or ‘ideological

expression’) which is constitutive of spatiality.

Symbolically mediated practices and communicative acts are constitutive of spatial

practices that spatiality always involves certain social semiotic and communicative

aspects. Spatio-cultural horizons provide symbolic categories specific to practices to

enthrone subjectivities and effect consciousness and Lacan theorised. That spatial

practices constitute and employ symbols with specific meanings in relation to their

practices, subjectivities (roles), ideological undercurrent, ethics, conventions, relational

pattern of the actors etc. Moreover, the spatial practice creates symbolic environment of

itself through spatial forms – signs, codes, built forms and architectural designs. This we

could identify as the interface of ‘social semiotic space’ (or ‘symbolic expression’) in the

constitution of spatiality. In short, the three interfaces which are discussed above are also

could identify as constitutive components of spatiality, hence become part of what would

called as ‘spatial complexes’.

As it is mentioned earlier, this study attempts to develop a model to understand the

constitution of social world, the spatiality of social life. For such purpose we integrate all

the constitutive components which we have been identified above and with such

components we conceive the model ‘spatial complexes’. These set of constitutive

components in ‘spatial complexes’ - the categories of human existence such as ‘place’,

‘space’ and ‘time’; the interfaces of ‘lived space’ (of emplaced subject), ‘ideological

space’ and ‘semiotic space’; and the spatial subjectivity of the emplaced subject –

interconnect and intersect to produce spatiality. This dynamic spatiality is the context of

production and re-production of social life. This model ‘spatial complexes’ is a theoretical

aid to trace the complexity and dynamism involved in social world. The model is a

conceptual ramification and theoretical codification; and not a diagrammatical depiction to

describe and explain the reality of spatiality. The proposition ‘complexes’ signifies that

multiple factors with complexity get coordinated and intersected in the constitution of

reality. In such way ‘spatial complexes’ denotes that spatiality is constituted by multiple

factors of social construction which get intersected in spatial practices. In other words,

spatiality cannot reduce to one single factor or give primacy to one factor over another.

That there is irreducibility of spatiality to one single factor rather different factors

coordinate spatiality through its intersection and interconnection. The study intends not

only to enquire the historical ontology of the constitution of spatiality but also to create an

epistemological tool to study the spatiality of social life. And both these intentions are the

research questions – what does constitute spatiality? How does one trace or tract

spatiality? It is presumptively formulated that the theoretical model ‘spatial complexes’

answer these question. The model is explicated and validated through a case illustration

and therefore different spatial practices in Mar Thoma Head Quarters spatiality are

analysed. Such is a religio-secular spatiality that religious and secular practices are

enmeshed in Mar Thoma Head Quarters spatial practices. The practices explored are

modern educational practices in which the Mar Thoma community is a stakeholder,

economic practices, spatial practice of developmental activities for empowering

economically weak, religious administrative practices and collective religious practices of

the community. This empirical exploration or the case illustration is only to explicate and

validate the model. Therefore major portion of the study is attempted to explore

conceptual contours through theoretical over-viewing in order highlight different concepts

related to our model of spatiality and thereby draw the concerns and resources needed for

developing the model; and then such model is explicated through an empirical illustration.

The objectives of the study:

General objectives

1. To conceive social world as ‘spatial complexes’ where multiple factors are

diametrically active to constitute it.

2. To identify various factors/components that constitute the specific social world.

3. To elucidate the subjectivity and agency roles of the actors in a given social


Specific objective

4. To overview theoretical literature to ratify different aspects and concerns of

spatiality and also to draw resources to build conceptual aids to study of


5. To develop a model to study the spatiality of social life in a specific context of

social world.

6. To provide an interpretative tool ‘spatial complexes’ to decipher social world.

Purpose of the study

The main purpose of the study is to investigate the intersectionality involved in the

ontology of social world through the study of spatiality. Therefore the purpose is

theoretical and spatial problematic to develop a theoretical model to explore the

complexity and dynamism of social world. With components which are identified as the

constitutive categories of spatiality what is named as ‘spatial complexes’ would be

formulated as ontology of spatiality and an epistemological tool to trace spatiality of social

life as well.

Scope of the study

The scope of the study is limited to develop a theoretical model to conceive

spatiality by integrating the different components and interfaces which intersect as co-

ordinates in the constitution of spatiality. The study set a paradigm that some of the spatial

concepts developed through the exploration of macro/urbanised capitalist spatiality could

be integrated to develop theoretical model to study different other kind of spatiality like

one that is specific to the present study. The theoretical model developed in the present

study could be applied to study similar spatial practices. The study brings in fresh

dimensions in the conceptualisation of spatial subjectivity and agency in post-humanistic

manner which could initiate further discussions with regard to structure/agency debates in

the conception of the constitution of social world.

Methodology and Source

Methodology refers to the process as well as the science of the construction of

knowledge. It is the point at which epistemology, ontology and methods coalesce to construct

knowledge. This study takes an interdisciplinary approach or convergence method. It is a

study theoretically guided, conceptually overviewed empirically explicated and validated. To

identify concerns in the study of spatiality and also draw resources to build conceptual aid

various socio-cultural theories and philosophical tradition are overviewed. The conceptual

over-viewing is strengthened by theories from disciplines of knowledge like history,

geography, place studies, linguistics and spatial studies from critical tradition as well as

postmodern and postcolonial theories. Source materials for theoretical overview are published

materials. For the explication and validation of the model, through an exemplar and empirical

illustration, the data has been collected through ethnographic and ethno methodological

approach. The researcher has become familiar with the illustrative context by participating and

observing the practices; has special advantage of participating in the administrative spatial

practices through becoming as a member in one of the administrative bodies. It enables the

researcher to have stock of knowledge of spatial practices in the empirical context. A

cartographical and architectural exploration of the anthropological place has been done to

collect data through photography. Interviews and personal discussions are conducted with

some of the main actors who are emplaced in the spatial practices. Therefore data from the

illustrated case has been collected through personal and direct access. In addition to it,

literature and documents like the report and statement of finance which are published every

year are verified. In short, an elaborate exploration of theoretical literature has been done in

order to overview concepts which are needed for modelling spatiality as ‘spatial complexes’

and exhaustive empirical explorations are made to explicate and validate such model. Finally,

to say, methodologically the study keeps an interdisciplinary approach and convergence


Thesis Organisation

The research project is organised in to five chapters in addition to the introduction

and conclusion. The first three chapters are explorations and overviewing of conceptual

contours related to the categories which we identify as constitutive factors of spatiality.

Since the focus is thematic analysis of the conceptual or theoretical formulations, strict

chronological order of the theoreticians are not followed but almost kept intact. The first

chapter is concerned with the conception of space by ancient, classical Greek and

Enlightenment thinkers. The reason for including these early scholars and Enlightenment

thinkers is that their conceptions on space had made much influence on modern spatial

sciences (geographical thoughts), especially the conception of ‘place’. This chapter also

explores briefly the philosophical system of phenomenology (existential phenomenology)

because of two reasons, firstly, it is the philosophical basis of humanistic geography which

‘valorises’ place in terms of human life and activity; and secondly, phenomenological

thinking has a spatial dimension of human existence since its main focus is the existence

of Dasein (human being). The second and third chapters are about different theoretical

debates on space in critical thoughts and thirdspace theories by postcolonial thinkers. In

the second chapter, in addition to Marxian spatial analysis with David Harvey’s

conception of space, the most foundational theories of space by Henri Lefebvre and

Michel Foucault are discussed. Foucault’s spatial thinking also includes his conception of

‘heterotopia’ which gave theoretical impetus for others to build the epistemology of

thirdspace. In the third chapter the debate on thirdspace methodology of spatiality is

discussed. Thirdspace is both a hybrid kind human existence and a methodology which

attempts to destabilise binary thinking in order to open up more inclusive and

heterogeneous conception of space; such kind of conceptions by Edward Soja, Homi

Bhabha and bell hooks are the main discussions. The chapter also includes the discussion

on ‘spatial subjectivity’ since spatiality presupposes the ‘emplaced’ subject who

constitutes spatiality and also gets constituted in and through it. Lacannian theory of

subject formation in symbolic and linguistic horizon and Althusserian notion of

ideological interpellation of subject are discussed in relation to spatial subjectivity. The

fourth chapter has three components. Firstly, the recapitulation of the categories ‘place’,

‘space’ and ‘time’ (which are already discussed in the previous chapters) with some more

ramifications to integrate them as ‘place’, ‘space’ and ‘time’ co-ordinates in spatiality.

Secondly, the conceptual exposition of three interfaces and its connections with other

components in constituting spatiality are done. Thirdly, it formulates ‘post-humanistic’

conception of spatial subjectivity that subjectivity as an outcome of “spatial complexes” in

which the ‘emplaced subject’ is constitutive of and is constituted. All the components

including interfaces and spatial subjectivity are drawn towards to constitute the model of

“spatial complexes”. A model of spatiality consists of the constitutive components ‘place’,

‘space’ and ‘time’ and other three interfaces, along with spatial subjectivity is conceived

as “spatial complexes”. The final chapter is the modelling of spatiality as “spatial

complexes” and the case illustration to explicate and validate such model. The illustrated

case is the spatial practices at the Mar Thoma Head Quarters which is religio-secular

spatiality. Conclusion proposes the thesis that “spatial complexes” constitute spatiality of

social life.

The Chapter I, ‘The Conception of Space in Ancient and Modern Systems of

Thoughts’ is a brief survey of the understanding of space. The first part is on ancient and

Greek classical conceptions with a specific focus on the Euclidian, Aristotelian and

Platonic conceptions followed by the enlightenment modern understanding of space with

Cartesian, Kantian, Newtonian and Leibnizian conceptions of space. The second part

discusses traditional geography, cultural geography, regional geography, positivist

geography and humanistic geography. The philosophical movements of phenomenology,

existentialism, existential phenomenology and hermeneutics are also discussed.

The Chapter II, ‘Ontological and Epistemological Debate on Space in Modern,

Critical and Post Modern Thoughts’ seeks to focus on Radical geography, Feminist

geography, Marxism and Marxist geography, Production of space by Henri Lefebvre,

spatial thinking of Michel Foucault including ‘heterotopia’ and Michael De Certeau’s

‘Spaces of Everyday Life’.

The Chapter III, ‘Theorising Third Space and Spatial Subjectivity’ seeks to discuss

Edward Soja’s theory of space , Homi Bhabha’s notion of cultural hybridity, bell hooks

heterotopic marginality as space of resistance, Doreen Massey’s feminist perspective that

suspicious of grand narratives, and David Harvey’s ‘disruptive spatiality’. Spatial

subjectivity with the perspective of Lacan and Althusserian notion of ideological subject

are also discussed in this chapter.

The Chapter IV, ‘Spatiality of Social Life: The Configuration of Place/Space/Time

and Interfaces’ has two parts: the first part discusses place, space and time as ontological

assemblage in the spatiality of social life; the second part analyses the interfaces of

ideological space, semiotic space and lived space of the emplaced subject in the

constitution of spatiality of social life, and also analysis spatial subjectivity with a Post-

humanistic perspective of agency. These constitutive coordinates or elements are drawn to

model what is called as “spatial complexes”.

The Chapter V, ‘Spatiality of Social Life: A case Illustration’ is the modelling of

spatiality as “spatial complexes” with a support of empirical explication through a case

illustration. The illustrated case is an ensemble of different spatial practices like economic

practices, educational practices, religious practices and religious administrative practices

etc. at the Mar Thoma Head Quarters in the Thiruvalla Town. The model of “spatial

complexes” is explained and validated through the illustration.

The Conclusion, ‘Spatiality of Social Life: A Model of “spatial complexes”’ is the

final outcome or the thesis. The model “Spatial Complexes” is proposed as a framework

and model to understand spatiality of social life today. This model is hoped to serve as a

tool of analysis of society too. Finally, Bibliography of the theoretical literature

overviewed and referred is given.

With this introduction, specifically much of the technical aspect of this research

project, let us traverse,in the following chapters, through theoretical and conceptual

contours of various disciplines of knowledge and also illustrate a case for empirical

explication in order to formulate the thesis of this study.