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Space and Culture: Henri Lefebvre on Space

By Christopher Knoll
Space and Culture

Stanek_henri cover[…] to think of space as a whole means to keep it open to everybody. (Stanek: 137)

Ɫukasz Stanek’s book on the French urban sociologist Henri Lefebvre is a detailed, well-researched and balanced account of both Lefebvre’s intellectual biography and the development of his conceptual frameworks.

From agrarian to urban space

Stanek stresses how Lefebvre’s early intellectual interests in agrarian societies [e.g. his study of a Pyrenean village] were methodologically shaped by a combination of the Annales school and dialectical materialism, which lead him to an early insight that neither the production of territory and the production of community, nor mental concepts of spatial planning and the actual way of ‘living space out’, could be separated analytically.

After having written his PhD and becoming professor in Paris, Lefebvre’s focus switched from agrarian planning policies to urban spatial planning, partly because in the early 60s, the authorities of the USSR, Algeria and Cuba denied Lefebvre to carry out empirical research on their agrarian policies.

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