Place as locale
Field Exercise: place and power (part 3 & Write-up)

Geographers at work: place and power

These readings are examples of theory and research that show you, in more detail, how geographers use "place" in their work, particularly in relation to geographies of power.

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  • Tim Cresswell's Place: An Introduction2nd edition (2014) is a survey of how geographers use the term "place." The introduction (pages 1-22, especially 1-18) includes additional discussion of "location, locale and sense of place."
  • One of the most influential writings on places as open-ended, "ongoing compositions," and a direct influence for what Anderson calls "trace chains" (pages 67-72 in the textbook), is Doreen Massey's essay on "A global sense of place," which you can read here from Space, Place, and Gender (1994). 
  • Note: chapter 4 in Cresswell's Place: An Introduction is a critical interpretation and comparison of Massey's essay to one by David Harvey, "From space to place and back again," which is included in his book, Justice, Nature, and the Geography of Difference (1996) (no online access).
  • Finally, the concluding chapter to another book by Tim Cresswell, In Place/Out of Place (1996), provides an in-depth analysis of geography, power and transgression, including some key examples.


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 McKenzie Brown

The concluding chapter of 'In Place/Out of Place' by Tim Cresswell was very interesting to me. I loved the beginning of the chapter when Cresswell goes into detail of how making Space a means of control, can simultaneously make it a space of meaningful resistance. The idea relates to the (b)ordering discussion we had in Tuesday's class with examples from the period of Jim Crow Laws in the United states. With the white race being in power, they declared blacks have separate areas from whites; for example, on buses, whites could sit in the front while blacks were forced to go to the back. However, by declaring the SPACE of the front of the bus off limits with their power, they also made it a meaningful space for resistance. When black people got fed up with the discriminatory white power, they were able to stage protests by sitting in the "off limits" space of the front of the bus.

Kamalei P.

In Creswell's Place: An Introduction, Chapter 4 is titled "A Global Sense Of Place". One part of the chapter really fit in well with the title when it talked about how the Western World began to globalize and adopt new cultures into one area. More global chains started to appear, more ethnic restaurants of different cultures began to appear, more clothes from around the world began to make its way over to that area and so on. It was almost as if all the globalization that was happening was in its own way, "A Global Sense Of Place".

Jiayue Wang

Tim Cresswell said place is one of the two or three most important terms for his discipline geography, and the most important of geography is about place and Places. Robert Sack also pointed out that " for a variety of reasons, space is often used to control people and things." I like this definition.In fact, Space and place are useful surrogates for more direct forms of power leads to an interesting, albeit unintended, consequence. The place have a strong power to social, cultural, and environment.

Yifan Lu

The chapter which written by Tim Cresswell said that " the fact that space and place are useful surrogates for more direct forms of power leads to an interesting, albeit unintended, consequence. Robert Sack has pointed out that, for a variety of reasons, space is often used to control people and things." And I think space is a continuous area or expanse that is free, available, or unoccupied, and place is a particular position or point in space.

 McKenzie Brown

I find it very interesting that when making the distinction between space and place, space is often used to control people (which can also be giving a platform for meaningful rebellion as I commented above), where as place is more of general description of the location or locale. It brings me to understand that space has more to do with sense of place and the ordering and bordering of a place, where as place is more general. Does anyone else know if I am understanding this correctly?

Sam Wheeler

Going back to the quote Yifan commented on, I think it's interesting that the author states that the consequence of control in the distinction of place is "unintended." In many cases our idea of place is defined by the borders our society has placed, and those borders were placed there precisely for political control and control of the way people are and what they do in many ways.

Matt Herbert

McKenzie, you mentioned that you understood place as more of a general description of the location and that space has to do with sense of place. I think what the author of chapter four is trying to do is separate the idea of place and space. Space is the scientific, open, detached, and more general idea of an area. It is looked at as a "range of scale" meaning space can be a chair, your body, a room, a country, a continent, etc. There is a quote from chapter four that says "geographical space becomes place when human beings imbue it with meaning." Therefore, place is intimate, peopled, emotive, politicized, cultured, and otherwise a humanized version of space. It is also fashioned by culture and context and influenced by humans and non-humans in which traces are left by intent or accident. Therefore, sense of place refers more to the emotional, experiential, and affective traces that tie humans into particular environments. It's also the idea of "who we are" and "where we are" in which place defines identity. I hope this helps! I am still trying to wrap my head around everything too.


I found Cresswells Place: An Introduction interesting for a few reasons. the beginning of the chapter was intriguing because it talked about the word place in a few ways that I had not thought of before. Discussing place in terms of art is not really something that had crossed my mind. I enjoy reading about how this word fits into so many disaplines and aspects of life. I also found what Kamalei was saying really insightful. It is interesting to consider how much more of the world we can experience within our own local environment now than we would have throughout much of history. Today with amazon and other similar vendors we are not limited to experiencing things only from our own culture. Although it may not be the same as traveling to another place it is still a step towards blurring the lines between our own local sense of place and a global sense of place.

Sam Combs

I find it really interesting where the most trace chains take place. America is extremely diverse and flaunts its image of excepting everyone, and it has so much diversity in every corner. Yes, there are McDonalds where you would not expect them, but what else is there? I find food trace chains especially interesting.

Jeanette Betancourt

Tim Cresswell's gives a good understanding about when he mentions about space and place being useful surrogates. I thought it was interesting because I related them about what we talked about in class and how different the places are around the world. It would be amazing to be travel the world and see all the different cultures and places around. Also to be able to have the send of place and realize how different the spaces are, and the different people.

Blake Egli

Matt, your representation of space and place was spot on. Your post helped me truly grasp the concept of space as kind of an abstract term. And when you said "place refers to the emotional, experiential, and effective traces that tie humans into particular environments" that was an awesome way of laying that out. Thank you for that insight, homie.

Mack Little

Sam is absolutely correct. Even thought there are McDonalds everywhere you go anywhere you go, there isn't much else much else that shows American traces. I think that in America though on the other hand, is more diverse than most of the other countries around the world. Though we may not have authentic foods from other countries, we try to simulate the best we can to help immigrants and travelers feel more at home and welcome.

John Stone

America has traces from almost everywhere in the world. There are restaurants that serve food from a certain country or culture, there are shops that import foreign goods, and there are people who used to live outside the country. Diversity has made America what it is today, and you could even say it's made the world that we live in. Every place is influenced by people, and if people from other cultures all come together to a single location, that place is going to become very diverse.

Maria Regalado

I think it would be really interesting to travel and lived in different places for a little and experience the culture of the place. i think it would change everyones way of thinking, understanding more the culture, and of course this will make everyone more open minded.

Casey Nakamura

After reading Tim Cresswell's introduction, I thought it was very interesting to see his views on what place meant. When looking at place, he really liked the idea of this geographic information systems or GIS. A GIS is essentially the system used to make a digital map, and Cresswell defined place as a geographic location on a map. Also, after reading my classmates comments, I also agree with what they were saying about traces and how america has left traces of its culture around the world. I was also thinking about different types of traces, or different ways america has influenced the world. I though it was interesting how American music is relatively popular around the world, and there are heavy american influences in modern music around the world.

Ming Ng

From chapter 4 Reading a Global Sense of Place, it talked about "globalization". Where worldwide franchises like banks to fast food restaurants are expanding all over the world. Places that you wouldn't think that would have other countries of cuisines and products are made and sold in other countries. It first sounded like places are being taken over by other countries' culture, but I think its a great way for people to learn about other countries. America is a great example of countries or people coming together from all over the world sharing their culture.

Ana Bautista

The concluding chapter of 'In Place/Out of Place' by Tim had to do with space. Space is to be filled and it can be used for or against things. America has influenced the world tremendously. For example african Americans were forced to sit in the back of the bus.

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