Social Science Forum 89 (XXXIV)

Editorial: the problems of spatial-environmental sustainabilities in the times of increasing fluidity of social relationships

Marjan Hočevar

ABSTRACT: Vpliv zmanjševanja prostorskih ovir na spreminjanje ozemeljske organizacije družb je bil stalnica sociološkega teoretiziranja in raziskovanja od sredine osemdesetih let prejšnjega stoletja. Dinamizacija in fleksibilizacija časovno-prostorskih ritmov v vsakodnevnem življenjusta dolgoročno vplivali na spremembe v organiziranosti in strukturiranosti družb. Anthony Giddens je »raztezanju družbenih sistemov v času in prostoru« pripisal ključno vlogo pri pojasnjevanju prežemanja strukture in delovanja v visoko modernih družbah (koncept strukturacije). …

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Postmodern reflections of space and time

Drago Kos

ABSTRACT: The assumption that the erosion of spatial determinism increases the possibilities for the non-instrumental perception and use of space is central to the emergence of postmodern spatial arrangements and identities. The weakening of spatial determinism accelerates the imaginative »constructivity« of space. The new spatiacognitive-emotional constructions in the new relaxed circumstances enable variability in implementation of identity practices. At different spatial levels, we can expect attempts to establish new meanings. However, optimistic theoretical assumptions have lately been more and more likely to collide with the empirical limits of the postmodern systems’ openness, which is already approaching dangerous traditionalist regressions. The question of whether the assumptions about a flexible non-confrontational response are in fact a pre/optimistic ideological construction is the fundamental motive of this text, which we try to answer using the Braudelian »rules of a new history«.

KEY WORDS: postmodernity, fragmentarity, spatial development, retrospective analysis

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A fluid spatial planning and communicative process with stakeholders – Advantages and dilemmas of establishing a communicatively open spatial planning process

Matjaž Uršič

ABSTRACT: The problem of fluidity in the context of ensuring the continuous multidirectional exchange of information between different stakeholders in the spatial development process is closely related to the problem of establishing sustainable spatial planning. The by-product of spatial interventions is often seen in ‘communication noise’ identified as the inability to establish appropriate communication channels and participatory mechanisms among the actors involved. The article first analyses the concept and components of fluid spatial planning and then describes the gap between the expectations and capabilities of such planning. Three case studies are presented – an attempt to practically apply fluid spatial planning in the Norwegian city of Tromsø, the case of renovation of the Bežigrad stadium and the search for a low and medium radio-active waste site, both in Slovenia.

KEY WORDS: fluid spatial planning, participation in spatial planning, communication process in spatial planning, Tromsø, Slovenia

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Utopian socialists – initiators of contemporary sustainable urbanism?

Primož Medved

ABSTRACT: Ebenezer Howard, with his book Garden City (1898), is considered to be the initiator of contemporary sustainable urbanism. Few authors recognise utopian socialists, with their socio-spatial visions since the late 18th century, as conceptual pioneers of modern sustainable cities. In the article, specific elements of visions of socialist utopias, which anticipated the basic functionalities of modern sustainable cities, are identified. The study shows how the utopian socialists‘ plans transmuted into the basic structure of the 21st-century sustainable neighbourhood. In addition, the article addresses the debate on whether spatial determinism, as typical of the utopian socialists’ visions, is relevant in today‘s urban sustainable cities. Are communities’ long-term relations based on spatial proximity (still/again) an imperative in modern sustainable cities?

KEY WORDS: utopian socialism, sustainable urbanism, utopistics, spatial determinism, garden city

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Accumulation of capital and instability of the production of space in capitalism

Klemen Ploštajner, Marko Hočevar

IZVLEČEK: The production of space in capitalism is marked by instability, as expressed in both its materiality and its use. In the article, we seek to understand this historical specificity of spatial instability in capitalism through analysis of the logic of the circuit of capital and its intertwining with the production of space. The unsuitability of spatial forms is no coincidence, but is the expression of the production of space being subordinated to the logic of capital accumulation, marked by the constant revolutionising of both the forces and relations of production. However, space and its production are not just a reaction to the circuit of capital, but permeate the whole process with the dynamic tension between fixity and mobility, the production and realisation of surplus value, the absolute and relative conception of space. The instability of spatial forms thus expresses capitalism’s constant inability to solve its internal contradictions by producing space, and the contradictory demands that capitalism brings into it.

KEY WORDS: production of space, accumulation of capital, instability, circuit of capital, spatial fix

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Selected aspects of social space as the basis for understanding the »modernisation« of higher education

Samo Pavlin

ABSTRACT: Based on selected aspects of the social space, we establish a conceptual model for developing indicators of the »modernisation« of higher education systems. The described dynamic relates to the issue of understanding the social fluidity and sustainability of higher education systems with respect to the labour market. This can be observed on both the individual and system levels. Our conceptual model is based on learning spaces and their physical design, the transfer of
learning to employers, the role of virtual space in learning, student mobility and motility and the theoretical assumptions made by Lefebvre and Foucault.
In the article, we demonstrate that exploring selected socio-spatial aspects of higher education offers a vital perspective for understanding changes in higher
education’s contemporary role on the national and European levels.

KEY WORDS: social space, higher education, modernisation, labour market, mobility

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Digital routes, »digital migrants«: from empowerment to control over refugees’ digital footprints

Sanja Cukut Krilić, Simona Zavratnik

ABSTRACT: The text studies how digitality and refugee routes intersect by focussing on the concepts of »connected migrants« and the digital footprints of refugee routes in transnational spaces. The smartphone is a key signifier of today’s refugee, and possession of one is questioned by government policies of legitimisation and public opinion perceptions of what constitutes a »genuine refugee«. These overlook the complex question of digital rights and migration’s embeddedness in the fluidity of the postmodern world. The text thus deals with the digital world’s ambivalence, which is not just a one-way relation of empowerment but entails the risk of complete control over a refugee’s body as well. We establish that an important shift has occurred in European policies, one most visible in the process of erasing the electronic traces of refugees on the move and the illegal return of refugees to the previous country on their way, the so-called »pushbacks«.

KEY WORDS: smartphones, digital routes, »digital migrants«, refugee routes, erasure of electronic traces, illegal returns

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