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What is the 'spatial turn'?

Refers to a renewed emphasis on space as historically contingent and socially constructed. (this raises questions of power and authority- and is tied to the Marxist tradition of social history) This has happened in recent decades


In relation to space, what did the Annales school emphasise?

The importance of geography and locations significant to ordinary people. They emphasises every-day life above the grand political and diplomatic narratives of conventional history


Why can space be considered to be part of cultural history? Can you think of an example to show this?

Communities shape and produce space, and are not only influenced by it. Lefebvre considered the possibility that different historical forms of society and individuals have different senses of space. For him, Capitalism had its own space that must be surpassed in the transition to communism


What are some of the different layers of space?

Global, national, regional, local, domestic, and personal.


How does cartography begin to show that space is constructed?

Different countries may draw world maps differently, e.g. showing North up is not a given. It is a constructed vision of the world, just there because it makes it easier if we all agree on some imagined versions of things


How might space and place differ?

Place is indicative of how communities produce and articulate a sense of being in place- it suggests the meaning of and attachment to a particular place. Because of this, place is less abstract as it has associations with identity and can produce narratives


How are notions of space and place bound up with authority and control?

For example, borders and border control. Requirement of a passport to travel between spaces. Your passport allows you entry to the constructed, imagined, place that is the UK.


What did Marx recognise about the intimate relationship between land and power?

Marx described the end of the feudal period and the rise of the ‘capitalist mode’ of production in 15th- and 16thcentury England. Small peasant landholders thrown off their land, which was appropriated by large baronial landowners  Even the towns, it was said, were ‘pulled down for sheep walks’. That is, land that had been set aside for use by peasantry, whether commonly held or available to own on a small scale, was being eaten up by baronial capitalists


How might we think of space in terms of gender and authority?

Women of the past may not have been allowed to occupy the public sphere. This has an impact on identity as they may only occupy a domestic space. Mary Beard looks at how speech was for men, and they control the public sphere, silencing women in public


How might we look at space in terms of the British Empire?

Many historians may view the British Empire between the metropole and its peripheries. Robinson and Gallagher argue that circumstances overseas meant that actions taken were tailored to each individual region. They believe that in spatial terms, there was a centripetal as expansionary initiative moved from the colonial edge of the Empire to the British centre. In contrast to this, there is the argument of Cain and Hopkins- theirs is the argument of 'gentlemanly capitalism' believing that its logic was structured in the City of London and was the driving force for interactions between Britain and her colonies.


Why might the suggestion of Cain and Hopkins be criticised?

Ballantyne argues that viewing the Empire and its history from London returns indigenous peoples to the margins of history whilst foregrounding 'gentlemanly capitalists'. Furthermore, it may be limited by their rather narrow top-down economic approach.


What might be a more considerate approach to think about the British Empire?

To think of it as an interconnected web of metropoles and peripheries. It was both dynamic and fragile, moving material things, like capital and commodities, but also people.


Why had Charles Dilke's Greater Britain failed to materialise?

The colonies of Britain were no longer simply extensions of the metropole, but somewhat independent. Despite military presence, British people did not usually settle in all of the colonies acquired. The Commonwealth was no longer British. In the 1970s Britain seemed bent on becoming European- such confident self-estimation, amply endorsed by foreigners, in turn, came to be part of the national character itself.


Why does the concept of Europe make Britain feel uncomfortable?

Their geopolitical position made them uncomfortable with any notion which tried to identify a continental core to which they might be thought peripheral. This indicated they would have a more semi-detached life.


Were there any problems in peripheries of Britain itself?

London was both the capital of England and the capital of the UK. This sometimes causes conflict as Scotland and Wales are seen as peripheral to England, even though they are part of the United Kingdom. This shows that space is always shifting, contested, and enduringly problematic.