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Avdikos, Vasilis
46th Congress of the European Regional Science Association: "Enlargement, Southern Europe and the Mediterranean", August 30th - September 3rd, 2006, Volos, Greece
The attempt to theorise certain concepts like "the region" or "spatial development" should begin with the conceptualisation of the very basic element of them that is space. In the fields of contemporary economic geography and geographical economy there are two broad perspectives of "space", which both have formed the basis of a long standing debate in multiple dimensions (eg. deduction- induction, quantitative- qualitative etc). The first perspective sees space as a container of action. Action is clearly demarcated from space, which has become "neutral" and no dynamic relation exists between them. Regions then can be compared and the measurable elements of action can be analysed and modelled through positivism. Scholars from the second perspective partially reject that way of thinking and tend to emphasise on the role of past and that of embeddedness of action in time-space. These see space as a medium for action. Every region (or locality) here is an existent alterity (historically produced) with its own politics, institutions and culture that cannot be compared with other regions in a positivistic sense, nor best practices can be easily transferred. What matters is the inter-relational action that produces space and at the same time it is influenced by space. Action and space form a duality in time. Instead of the statistical comparative methodology and modelling of the first perspective, what is of importance here, not only in terms of methodology but also in terms of policy making, is the deep relational experience of the researcher/ policy-maker with the space. The paper argues that what is needed is not a demarcation line between those two streams of literature but an interdisciplinary approach that gives an emphasis not on the sum of them but in the synthesis of logics and methodologies in an approach that promotes holisticity.
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