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Time-Space Compression

  • By: Barney Warf
  • In: Encyclopedia of Geography
  • Edited by: Barney Warf
  • Subject:General Geography, Earth & Environmental Science

If geography is largely concerned with how human beings are differentially located over the Earth's surface, a vital part of that process is how we know and feel about space and time. Although space and time appear as “natural” and outside of society, they are in fact social constructions; every society develops different ways of dealing with and perceiving them. Time and space are thus socially created, plastic, mutable institutions that profoundly shape individual perceptions and social relations. The sociologist Anthony Giddens uses the term distanciation to describe how societies are stretched over time and space and how this process itself varies temporally and geographically. Because the economy cannot be detached from other realms of social life, time-space compression is more than simply an economic ...

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