Lefebvre and the Production of Space
is a Politics of Space because Space is Political”
Elden – Department of Government, Brunel University, UK
paper will look at the work of the French Marxist philosopher Henri Lefebvre
(1901-91), who came to prominence in the 1930s with the first translation of
His first important work,
was published in 1939, and he continued working right up until his death,
producing nearly seventy books. Lefebvre is relatively little known in Britain,
at least compared to other Marxist writers who were his contemporaries, such as
Sartre and Althusser. This is part due to the limited availability of his work
in English – only nine of his books are translated: four of which have
appeared in the last few years. This has heavily skewed the way he has been
read and received in this country. There are no full length studies in English,
and much of the secondary literature is patchy or partial.
limited length of this paper precludes a detailed situation of Lefebvre’s
work, but a few important points should be born in mind. First, Lefebvre was
always interested in the relationship between Hegel and Marx, and through this
idealism and materialism. Instead of matter being seen as the embodiment of
mental constructs, or mind being seen as the reaction to matter, Lefebvre sees
both material and mental together. It is the fusion of the idealist and
materialist notions, that enable an
approach to questions of life and lived experience (see DM).
Second, Lefebvre saw Marx’s work as important, indeed essential, to an
understanding of our times, but not something that could stand alone. To this
purpose he incorporated many of the insights of other thinkers, notably
Heidegger and Nietzsche. This influence was apparent in the work on space, and
in what Lefebvre called his most well known concept (LCP, 78), the critique of
everyday life. Lefebvre was the one of the first to see Marx as a theorist of
Althusser, to emphasise the continuity between the early and late works. Within
the concept of everyday life is a clear use of Marx’s notion of
alienation, fused with Heidegger’s understanding of
recent reception in the English speaking world has been almost exclusively in
the fields of geography and urban studies, where the 1991 translation of
Production of Space
has received serious critical attention. His reception in the fields of
political theory and philosophy has been somewhat muted. My intention in this
paper is to show how Lefebvre’s work can provide the political theorist
with a useful set of conceptual tools for mapping the spatiality of politics
and history, rather than simply explaining the politics and history of space.
Rural, The Urban, and the Global
notion of everyday life has been usefully situated between the two principal
movements of post-war French theory.
Rather than the bracketing of phenomenology, or the denial of experience found
in structuralism, Lefebvre wishes to see how the structures, signs and codes of
the everyday integrate with the biographical life. Lefebvre utilises this
notion in his urban and rural sociology. Little of his work on the rural has
been translated into English, but far more of his work on the urban is
available, especially given the 1996 translated collection
Lefebvre’s understanding of space was further developed in
Survival of Capitalism
which suggested that the reshaping of the global spatial economy was an
important historical development. In his initial sketches of the practical
understanding of space Lefebvre rehearses themes that would find theoretical
Production of Space
relationship between the town and the countryside is, for Lefebvre, a
historical relationship, with the mediating role being played by
industrialisation and the advance of technology. The industrial society has,
Lefebvre argues, been supplanted by urban society. This was only just beginning
in Marx’s time, so it is therefore understandable that he failed to
perceive that “the
of the city
was the end, the objective and the meaning of
(EL, 195; see also WC, 65ff, 130). Writing in 1968, Lefebvre suggests that
“the great event of the last few years is that the effects of
industrialisation on a superficially modified capitalist society of production
and property have produced their results: a programmed
in its appropriate
Such a process was favoured by the disintegration of the traditional town and
the expansion of urbanism” (EL, 65). What this has produced, and
therefore what must be examined, is an urban environment. Lefebvre suggests
that this expression is better than “technological environment”,
“since technology only produces an ‘environment’ in the city
and by the city; outside the city technology produces isolated objects: a
rocket, a radar station” (EL, 50). We may wish to question this
assumption, as it would seem to be self-evident that the advances of technology
in, for example, farming, have sculpted the “rural” as much as
parallel developments have the urban. It should also not be forgotten that the
environment is, of course, directly affected by state planning. This is another
development of relatively recent times. As Lefebvre remarks, the state
“is actively involved in housing construction, city planning,
urbanisation. ‘Urbanism’ is part of both ideology and the would-be
rational practice of the state” (E, 46).
understanding of the shift from the rural to the urban – both in
historical terms, and in his own work – enables Lefebvre to escape the
accusations that suggest that there is a strong urban bias in much continental
theory. Margaret Fitzsimmons castigates Marx and Weber for this, and sees the
bias continue in the more recent work of Althusser, Foucault, Derrida and
Lacan. Only Lefebvre escapes her damning condemnation of “their obsession
as the only civilised manifestation of
Lefebvre’s understanding of the rural and urban together rather than in
isolation is one of his key points: the over-emphasis on the urban is one of
his criticisms of the Situationists (IM, 345-6); whilst the neglect of the
problems of urbanisation is seen as a fault with Marcuse (E, 33).
readings of urban and rural landscapes are found throughout his work. In the
of Everyday Life
there is a chapter entitled “Notes Written One Sunday in the French
Countryside”, where Lefebvre takes an ordinary village in France as an
example. One of the clearest parts of Lefebvre’s discussion is of the
village church (CEL, 213ff), a reading which has distinct parallels with
Nietzsche’s remarks on this subject.
Lefebvre clearly identifies the power of the symbols in the church –
“for me this space can never be just like any other space” (CEL,
214) – and it is evident, even in this initial sketch, that he has
appropriated the Nietzschean notion of power in space: “Castles, palaces,
cathedrals, fortresses, all speak in their various ways of the greatness and
the strength of the people who built them and against whom they were
built” (CEL, 232).
The reading of space is similarly evident in a work written fifteen years
later, in which he contrasts the village where he lives with a new town a few
kilometres away. For Lefebvre, the town is very much a
rather than a natural,
(IM, 116ff). Lefebvre’s notion of everyday life suggests that capitalism,
which has always organised the working life, has greatly expanded its control
over the private life, over leisure. This is often through an organisation of
was the typical significant phenomenon in which and on which this organisation
because it was there that it was
What, apart from such features as the negation of traditional towns,
segregation and intense police supervision, was inscribed in this social text
to be deciphered by those who knew the code, what was projected on this screen?
Everyday life – organised, neatly subdivided and programmed to fit a
controlled, exact time-table... (EL, 59)
Production of Space
recent years there has been a noticeable shift from questions of temporality to
those of spatiality. As Frederic Jameson asks, “why should landscape be
any less dramatic than the event?”
In his work, Lefebvre suggests that just as everyday life has been colonised by
capitalism, so too has its location – social space.
There is therefore work to be done on an understanding of space and how it is
socially constructed and used. This is especially necessary given the shift to
the importance of space in the modern age. Lefebvre suggests that in the past
there were shortages of bread, and never a shortage of space, but that now corn
is plentiful (at least in the developed world), whilst space is in short
supply: “The overcrowding of highly industrialised countries is
especially pronounced in the larger towns and cities” (EL, 52; RPS, 33).
Social space is allocated according to class, and social planning reproduces
the class structure. This is either on the basis of too much space for the rich
and too little for the poor, or because of uneven development in the quality of
places, or indeed both. Like all economies, the political economy of space is
based on the idea of scarcity.
“Today more than ever, the class struggle is inscribed in space”
are also crucial issues around the idea of marginalisation or regionalisation.
This is one of Lefebvre’s points in his call for the right to the city [
Segregation and discrimination should not remove people from the urban (WC,
195; SC, 17ff). Nor is space and the politics of space confined to the city.
The relationship of centre and periphery is similarly evidenced elsewhere: in
under-developed countries, in the rural, in the marginal regions of capitalist
countries – Sicily, Scotland, the Basque area – in the suburbs and
the ghettos, and in the social and political peripheries – the areas of
the mad, homosexuals, women, youth, and drug takers. Several of these liminal
groups have been analysed by Foucault, yet Lefebvre criticises his approach as
“a lot of pin-prick operations which are separated from each other in
time and space. It neglects the centres and centrality; it neglects the
global” (SC, 116).
The local studies are essential, but we must see the whole picture. As Harvey
has phrased it, “the whole history of territorial organisation,
colonialism and imperialism, of uneven development, of urban and rural
contradictions, as well as of geopolitical conflict testifies to the importance
of such struggles within the history of capitalism”.
One of the reasons why capitalism has survived into the twentieth century is
because of its flexibility in constructing and reconstructing the relations of
space and the global space economy, in constituting the world market (SC, 21,
106). Lefebvre argues that space is the ultimate locus and medium of struggle,
and is therefore a crucial political issue: “There is a politics of space
because space is political” (RPS, 33).
many of the commentators on Lefebvre have pointed out, Marxism is not
particularly noted for its attendance to questions of space. Edward Soja
attributes to Marx the view that history was important, and geography an
and Richard Peet suggests that “Marxism has little to say about relations
with nature and sees events occurring on top of a pin rather than in
The fairness of these claims is moot, though it is certainly true that the
analyses never claim centre stage. It should also be noted that some Marxists
who have signally failed to make analyses have made extensive use of spatial
metaphors. A classic instance is Althusser, who uses such terms as field,
terrain, space, site, situation, position, but seems to rely on language alone.
Whilst the use of spatial language for metaphor should not be knocked, an
this language is so useful should perhaps be appended. Much spatial language
deals with contestation, struggle and productivity. This is precisely because
it mirrors the actual uses and experiences of space. For example, where the
space of town planners is seen as a scientific object, as pure and apolitical,
Lefebvre argues that has been shaped and moulded by historical and natural
elements, through a political process (RPS, 30). Space is a social and
political product. This is clearly why Lefebvre’s main work on space is
Production of Space
There are two terms in this title, both need to be critically examined.
Lefebvre has been accused of prioritising the early Marx’s notion of
alienation over the later idea of production, it is clear in the work on space
(if not elsewhere) that the mode of production is essential to the analysis.
The human effects, whilst considered forcefully, do not dominate. Lefebvre
unequivocally states that “
space is a (social) product
(PS, 26). This means that “every society – and hence every mode of
production with all its subvariants... produces a space, its own space”
(PS, 31). The crudities of the
regarding base and superstructure are not replicated, but he does recognise the
causal efficacy of the forces and relations of production. He notes that there
is a not a strict correspondence, and that sometimes spaces are produced by the
contradictions in the mode of production. The example he gives is of the
medieval town, which was produced out of feudalism, but eventually emerged
Lefebvre is anxious to point out that “a social space is not a
(PS, 190), it did not exist beforehand as a non-social space, as a natural
space: it is produced by social forces.
analysis of production in the modern world shows that “we have passed
of things in space
of space itself
(S, 285). One of the key factors is technology. Scott Kirsch has pointed out
that this is sometimes neglected in an analysis of Lefebvre’s work:
“In addition to its significance to production
space, technology also plays a mediating role in the production
space”. Kirsch also cautions against “resorting to the rather
cartoonish shrinking world metaphor”, which risks losing sight of the
complex relations between capital,
and space. Space is not “shrinking”, but must rather be perpetually
We might wish to modify and rephrase this last sentence. Space is not
shrinking, it is being perpetually recast, but we
it to be shrinking.
highlights an important point. Lefebvre not only corrected the modernist
imbalance of time over space, but also,
Kant, emphasised the historicality of their experience. No longer the Kantian
empty formal containers, no longer
of experience, time and space could be experienced
and their experience was directly related to the historical conditions they
were experienced within.
For Lefebvre, of course, these historical conditions are directly linked to the
mode of production: hence the
Lefebvre therefore wished to make two main moves in his work. First to put
space up with and alongside time in considerations of social theory, and in
doing so correct the vacuity of the Kantian experiential containers. Spatiality
is as important as, but must not obscure considerations of, temporality and
history: “space and time thus appear and manifest themselves as different
yet unseverable” (PS, 175). Secondly he wished to use this new critical
understanding to examine the (modern) world in which he was writing. This is
accomplished through an analysis of how space is produced, and how it is
experienced. Space is produced in two ways, as a social formation (mode of
production), and as a mental construction (conception).
is meant by space? As Massey sensibly warns, “space” and
“spatial” are regularly used as if their meaning was clear, but
writers generally fail to realise that they have many different
interpretations. She accepts that Lefebvre realised this (see PS, 3), and that
he is fairly explicit in his understanding of these problematic terms.
situation is further complicated when we consider that the French word
has a wider range of meanings than “space”. In English some of the
other meanings might be translated as area, zone, locus or territory. Lefebvre
Production of Space
by suggesting that up until recently one view of space dominated. This was the
view of space based on the division Descartes established between
Space was formulated on the basis of extension, thought of in terms of
co-ordinates, lines and planes, as Euclidean geometry. Kant further complicated
the picture by conceiving of space and time as
absolute categories, structuring all experience. We have already seen how
Lefebvre’s emphasis on the production of space historicises this
experience; the critique of Cartesian formulations still needs to be achieved.
early as 1939, Lefebvre had described geometric space as abstractive, and had
likened it to clock time in its abstraction of the concrete (DM, 122, 133).
This is clearly drawing on the critique of geometric space in Heidegger’s
and later works. Just as we experience the hammer as a hammer only when there
is a problem with it, we encounter space geometrically only when we pause to
think about it, when we conceptualise it.
Our mode of reaction to space is not geometric, only our mode of abstraction
is. There is an opposition established between our
of space – abstract, mental and geometric – and our
of space – concrete, material and physical. The latter takes as its
initial point of departure the body, which Lefebvre sees as the site of
resistance within the discourse of Power in space (SC, 89). Abstract,
decorporalised space is, he suggests, still another aspect of alienation.
order to make progress in understanding space, we need to grasp the concrete
and the abstract together. As was argued in
if only one is grasped and turned into an absolute, a partial truth becomes an
error: “By rejecting a part of the content it gives sanction to and
aggravates the dispersion of the elements of the real” (DM, 167). Just as
Lefebvre described the state as a “realised abstraction” (CEL,
209), space too is a realised (in both senses of the word) abstraction. Here
there is an obvious use of idealism and materialism together. Space is a mental
material construct. This provides us with a third term between the poles of
conception and perception, the notion of the lived. Lefebvre argues that human
space and human time lie half in nature, and half in abstraction. His example
of time is instructive: “It is obvious... that the human rhythms
(biological, psychological and social time-scales – the time-scale of our
own organism and that of the clock) determine the way in which we perceive and
conceive of the world and even the laws we discover in it” (PS, 142).
Socially lived space and time, socially produced, depend on physical and mental
gives us a conceptual triad: spatial practice; representations of space; and
spaces of representation (PS, 33; translation modified). Space is viewed in
three ways, as perceived, conceived and lived:
perçu, conçu, vécu
This Lefebvrian schema sees a unity between physical, mental and social space:
first of these takes space as physical form,
space, space that is generated and used. The second is the space of
(knowledge) and logic, of maps, mathematics, of space as the instrumental space
of social engineers and urban planners. Space as a mental construct,
space. The third sees space as produced and modified over time and through its
use, spaces invested with symbolism and meaning, the space of
(less formal or more local forms of knowledge), space as
notion of lived space is one of Lefebvre’s central contributions, though
it predates his use. Heidegger’s influence can be seen in many places in
Production of Space
and in other works of the same period. What Lefebvre seems to do is to bring
together much of Heidegger’s work with the work of Marx. Through his work
on Nietzsche and Hölderlin, Heidegger incorporated an understanding of the
poetic into his work, crucially in the spatial notion of poetic dwelling, a
experience of everyday life
As Harvey has noted, in this view of lived space, Cartesian-Kantian notions of
space are not wrong – they are perfectly reasonable approximations
– but they are approximations.
To repeat, they are approximations that begin at the level of abstraction,
crucially one level away from the initial level of lived reaction.
construction, or production, of spaces therefore owes as much to the conceptual
realms as to material activities. An example of a space that incorporates both
mental and material constructs is a cloister, where “a gestural space has
succeeded in mooring a mental space – a space of contemplation and
theological abstraction – to the earth, thus allowing it to express
itself symbolically and to become part of a practice” (PS, 217). Another
example shows how constructs are experienced in a modern city. A park is
designed and produced through labour, technology and institutions, but the
meaning of the space, and the space itself, is adapted and transformed as it is
by social actors and groups.
But this notion of space as lived is on its own not sufficient.
Lefebvre’s criticism of Heidegger is that he failed to understand the
notion of production in sufficient detail. Heidegger’s conception of
production is seen as “restricted and restrictive”, as he envisages
it as a “causing-to-appear, a process of emergence which brings a thing
forth as a thing now present amidst other already-present things” (PS,
112). What is involved, therefore, is a
production of space.
then should an analysis of space proceed? Just as the social is historically
shaped, so to is it spatially shaped. Equally the spatial is historically and
socially configured. The three elements of the social, spatial and temporal
shape and are shaped by each other. “Social relations, which are concrete
abstractions, have no real existence save in and through space.
underpinning is spatial
(PS, 404), and, we should add, historical. Searching for a name for this new
approach, Lefebvre toys with spatio-analysis or spatiology, but accepts there
is a problem with these, as we need an analysis of the
(PS, 404). Being a Marxist, Lefebvre naturally utilises historical materialism.
David Caute has given Lefebvre credit for integrating sociology and history
within the perspective of historical materialism.
Given the work that Lefebvre produced after the publication of Caute’s
book, we may feel tempted to add “spatiology” as the third term.
Indeed, in 1989 Lefebvre suggested to his interviewers that courses in history
and sociology which leave aside urban (spatial) questions seem ludicrous, in
that they lack their very substance (WC, 215).
Reception: Towards a History of Space or a Spatial History?
have argued that Lefebvre makes two main moves in his work: an assertion of the
importance of space in tandem with that of time; and an analysis of the spaces
of the modern age. Whilst in Lefebvre’s subtle and nuanced work this
distinction is clear and useful, in the hands of less adroit writers this all
too often descends into a heavy-handed examination of the postmodernisation of,
for example (though it is depressingly regularly the only example), the Los
In this brief appreciation of the critical appropriation of Lefebvre, only the
first of these two moves – the methodological one – will be examined.
of the first glimpses of Lefebvre’s work in the English speaking world
was through the work of Manuel Castells. Castells was influenced by the
anti-Hegelian/Althusserian strand of Marxism, and was therefore critical of
Lefebvre, especially on the question of space. It has been pointed out that he
mainly formulated his view before Lefebvre became explicit on this subject, and
that he neglected Lefebvre’s work on everyday life, where the ideas were
Lefebvre’s work was initially read by Castells as a kind of spatial
fetishism. It was felt that the prioritising of space was injurious to
historical materialism, which of course marginalised space, and privileged time
and history. It has been convincingly argued that this is a misreading of what
Lefebvre is doing.
Lefebvre may have inhabited a liminal position within Western Marxism and
historical materialism, but was still trying to further an explicitly Marxist
analysis. Given the imbalance previously found within historical materialism,
some over-prioritisation of space – in order to redress the balance
– was perhaps to be expected. Had space not been thrust to the fore it
would probably have been ignored.
is one of the claims of Edward Soja, who champions Lefebvre as the
“original and foremost historical and geographical materialist”.
Soja deserves due credit for promoting Lefebvre’s work in the English
speaking world, and his
has been rightly hailed as one of the most challenging and stimulating books
ever written on the social use of space.
major problem with Soja’s work is that he is so intent on focusing on the
postmodern and on Los Angeles that he develops a programme from the work of
Lefebvre and others for precisely this intent, rather than sketching a
framework approach that could be applied to other times and places. Whilst Soja
claims that criticisms such as “what about Huddersfield?” miss the
point, in that his conceptual tools can be used in other areas, in his own work
he continually focuses on the one place, with only a cursory nod toward its
This blunts the critical edge of his aim: the reassertion of space in critical
reassertion of space in critical social theory – and in critical
political praxis – will depend upon a continued deconstruction of a still
occlusive historicism and many additional voyages of exploration into the
heterotopias of contemporary postmodern geographies.
this reassertion Soja hopes to spatialise history, and put time “in its
place”, but he seems largely unaware that Lefebvre’s work is a
historicism of sorts.
This is a key issue: does Lefebvre spatialise history, historicise space, or
simply spatialise sociology? Whilst I believe that Lefebvre, working with three
continually relating terms, was attempting to do all these and more, it can
appear that he is writing a
and not a
(PS, 46, 110, 122).
Many of his commentators seem to have followed these leads in historicising
space without due attendance to the converse. The crucial point seems to be a
radicalising of the notion of history so that it becomes spatialised. With
little of Lefebvre’s work on history and time available in English this
problem will not easily go away. There is a danger of crowning space at the
expense of an impoverished historical understanding; similarly I do not believe
that simply adding a second adjective to the phrase “historical
materialism” is adequate. In tandem with Lefebvre, we may wish to draw on
the work of Michel Foucault, who, utilising Nietzsche and Heidegger, develops
an alternative approach to questions of time and space, that, crucially, is
temporally and spatially aware
from the beginning
Though Soja does look at Foucault’s work, he fails to address many of his
more important insights. What Foucault does so successfully is to spatialise
historical studies in such a way as to show how space is important in a number
of ages, though naturally in different ways.
would be harsh, but not perhaps unfair, to suggest that Lefebvre’s work
has suffered as a
of being read in English by certain types of scholars. Just as the theoretical
underpinnings of Foucault have been neglected by cultural critics eager to get
their hands on his toolkit, so too has Lefebvre been poorly served by
geographers and urbanists who only look to Marx for Lefebvre’s
philosophical background. Lefebvre only makes sense if the arguments of
Nietzsche and Heidegger are understood along with those of Marx. His Marxism
was open to many possibilities, as he saw Marx’s thinking as “a
nucleus, an effervescent seed, the ferment of a conception of the world that
develops without being able to avoid confrontation with entirely different
works” (LCP, 76).
Hegel, Marx, Nietzsche and Heidegger can be used to help us understand the
modern world. The understanding works by retaining some of Marx’s
concepts but also adding new ones: “the everyday, the urban, social time
and space” (LCP, 77). A residual Hegelian idealism, Heidegger’s
understanding of the everyday and experiencing space, Nietzsche’s
comments on the will to power and buildings, and “the emphasis on the
body, sexuality, violence and the tragic, and the production of differential
space and plural times”
are all found in Lefebvre’s work. Marxist scholars have struggled to map
Lefebvre’s intellectual heritage for precisely these reasons, spatialists
often fail to grasp his reworking of Marxism.
his own words, Lefebvre’s work provides us with an
“orientation” to questions of space:
speak of an
advisedly. We are concerned with nothing more and nothing less than that. We
are concerned with what might be called a ‘sense’: an organ that
perceives, a direction that may be conceived, and a directly lived movement
progressing towards the horizon. And we are concerned with nothing that even
remotely resembles a system (PS, 423).
to works by Henri Lefebvre
of Everyday Life
London: Verso, 1991.
London: Jonathan Cape, 1968.
Explosion: Marxism and the French Upheaval
New York: Modern Reader, 1969.
Life in the Modern World
Harmondsworth: Allen Lane, 1971.
to Modernity: Twelve Preludes
London: Verso, 1995.
Production of Space
Oxford: Blackwell, 1991.
on the Politics of Space”, in
Vol 8, No 2, May 1976.
Social Product and Use Value”, in J.W. Freiburg (eds.),
Sociology: European Perspectives
New York: Irvington Publishers, 1979.
Survival of Capitalism
London: Allison & Busby, 1976.
a Leftist Cultural Politics: Remarks Occasioned by the Centenary of
Marx’s Death”, in Cary Nelson and Lawrence Grossberg (eds.)
and the Interpretation of Culture
London: Macmillan, 1988.
Oxford: Blackwell, 1996.
key to the abbreviations for Lefebvre’s works will be found at the end of
important considerations of Marxism include
Paris: Presses Universitaires de France, 1948, and
Paris: Presses Universitaires de France, 1966. For an excellent biography of
Lefebvre, see Rémi Hess,
Lefebvre et l’aventure du siècle
Paris: A.M. Métailié, 1988. On his relationship with Marxism and
contemporary thought see, particularly, Michael Kelly,
Oxford: Basil Blackwell, 1982; Alfred Schmidt, “Henri Lefèbvre and
Contemporary Interpretations of Marx”, in Dick Howard & Karl E. Klare,
Unknown Dimension: European Marxism since Lenin
New York, 1972; Mark Poster,
Marxism in Postwar France: From Sartre to Althusser
Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1975; Edith Kurzweil,
Age of Structuralism: Lévi Strauss to Foucault
New York: Columbia University Press, 1980. On everyday life, see Alice Kaplan
& Kristin Ross,
Life: Yale French Studies
No 73, Fall 1987; A. Hirsch,
French New Left
Boston, MA: South End Press, 1981. Heidegger’s discussion of
is found in
Tübingen: Max Niemeyer,
Kaplan & Kristin Ross, “Introduction” to
Life: Yale French Studies
Margaret Fitzsimmons, “The Matter of Nature”, in Trevor Barnes
& Derek Gregory (eds.),
Human Geography: The Politics and Poetics of Inquiry
London: Arnold, 1997, especially p188. Lefebvre’s fundamental text on
this shift is
rural à l’urbain
Paris: Anthropos, 1970.
for example, Friedrich Nietzsche,
Part II, §4;
§130. On power in space more generally, see
Part 9, §11; all in
Werke: Kritische Studienausgabe
edited by Giorgio Colli & Mazzino Montinari, Berlin and München, W. de
Gruyter and Deutscher Taschenbuch Verlag, Fifteen Volumes, 1980.
a later and more explicit formulation see SC, 86-8: “Constructed space
– a transparency of metal and glass – tells aloud of the will to
power and all its trickery. It is hardly necessary to add that the
‘habitat’ too shares in this spatial distribution of
domination” (SC, 88).
or, The Cultural Logic of Late Capitalism
London: Verso, 1991, p364.
Emergence of Social Space: Rimbaud and the Paris Commune
Houndmills: Macmillan, 1988, pp8-9, goes so far as to suggest that social space
is a synonym of everyday life – that everyday life is primarily (though
not entirely) a spatial concept.
this, and other aspects of Lefebvre and space, see Mario Rui Martins,
“The Theory of Social Space in the Work of Henri Lefebvre”, in Ray
Forrest, Jeff Henderson & Peter Williams (eds.),
Political Economy and Social Theory: Critical Essays in Urban Studies
Aldershot: Gower, 1982.
theme is prevalent throughout Foucault’s work, though see particularly
de la folie à l’âge classique
Paris: Gallimard, 1976, and
et punir: Naissance de la prison
Paris: Gallimard, 1975.
Condition of Postmodernity
Oxford: Blackwell, 1989, p237.
(though without reference) by Edward Soja,
London: Verso, 1989, p32.
Capitalism: Theories of Societal Development
London & New York: Routledge, 1991, pp178-9. Lefebvre’s view is that
“although space is not analysed in
certain concepts, such as exchange value and use value, today apply to
space” (S, 292).
especially Louis Althusser & Étienne Balibar,
London: NLB, 1970, pp26-8. For a discussion of Althusser in this context, see
Neil Smith & Cindy Katz, “Grounding Metaphor: Towards a Spatialised
Politics”, in Michael Keith & Steve Pile (eds.),
and the Politics of Identity
London: Routledge, 1993.
Interview with Henri Lefebvre”, in
and Planning D: Society and Space
Vol 5, 1987, p31.
Kirsch, “The Incredible Shrinking World? Technology and the Production of
and Planning D: Society and Space
Vol 13, 1995, pp533, 544. The critique of the shrinking world metaphor is
expressly directed at David Harvey’s work. Kirsch suggests that the
metaphorical space of the shrinking world takes material space out of
geography, and is therefore akin to a fetishism of space. It is suggested that
Lefebvre’s space, a concrete abstraction, cannot be divorced from its
the view Lefebvre is arguing against, see Immanuel Kant,
der reinen Vernunft
Hamburg: Felix Meiner, 1956, especially the chapter on the Transcendental
Aesthetic, or the
zu einer jeden künftigen Metaphysik
by Ernst Cassirer, Berlin: Bruno Cassirer, 1922, Vol IV.
Massey, “Politics and Space/Time”,
No 192, Nov/Dec 1992, p66.
de Prima Philosophia
Philosophiques: Tome II (1638-1642)
Paris: Garnier Frères, 1967.
Grundprobleme der Phänomenologie, Gesamtausgabe Band 24
Frankfurt am Main: Vittorio Klostermann, 1975, pp231ff.
Pfullingen: Günther Neske, Zwei bande, 1961;
Hymne ‘Der Ister’, Gesamtausgabe Band 53
Frankfurt am Main: Vittorio Klostermann, 1984;
Pfullingen: Günther Neske,
For a commentary, see Stuart Elden, “Heidegger’s Hölderlin and
the Importance of Place”, in
for the British Society of Phenomenology
Nature and the Geography of Difference
Oxford: Blackwell, 1996, p267.
“The Incredible Shrinking World?”, p548.
and the French Intellectuals 1914-1960
London: Andre Deutsch, 1964, p298.
have in mind particularly Edward Soja’s
Journeys to Los Angeles and Other Real-and-Imagined Places
Oxford: Blackwell, 1996, which I have critically reviewed in “What about
No 84, July/August 1997.
London: Edward Arnold, 1977. For a critical discussion of Castells’ work
see Peter Newman, “Urban Political Economy and Planning Theory”, in
Forrest, Henderson & Williams (eds.),
Political Economy and Social Theory
and Peter Saunders,
Theory and the Urban Question
London: Hutchinson, 2nd Edition, 1986. It should be noted that Castells changed
his mind about and softened his attitude towards Lefebvre in later works. Also
important is David Harvey’s work
Justice and the City
Oxford: Blackwell, 1973.
Emergence of Social Space
p9; Edward Soja,
discussed these criticisms in a paper entitled “Postmodern Spaces”,
given at the July 1995 Signs of the Times conference Postmodern Times, City
Stewart, “Bodies, Visions and Spatial Politics: a Review Essay of Henri
Production of Space
and Planning D: Society and Space
Vol 13, 1995, p617.
important exception is
a short text in which he looks at the events of May 1968: according special
status to “urban phenomena”. It should be noted that
Lefebvre’s criticism of structuralism with regard to space is that it
does not accord due status to the historical (see SC, 65-6)
is telling that Soja and others have made so much use of Foucault’s 1967
lecture “Des Espaces Autres” in
Paris: Gallimard, 1994, Four Volumes, Vol IV, which is Foucault’s most
explicit demonstration of the history of space, rather than giving due
attendance to the spatial histories throughout his work.
this, and also as a useful summary of some of his ideas, see the discussion
between Lefebvre and Leskek Kolakowski, “Evolution or Revolution”,
in Fons Elders (ed.),
Water: The Basic Concerns of Mankind
London: Souvenir Press, 1974.
Kofman & Elizabeth Lebas, “Lost in Transposition – Time, Space
and the City”, Introduction to WC, p5.