Spaces of the Geosocial: Exploring Transnational Topologies

Mitchell, K. and Kallio, K. 2017. Spaces of the Geosocial: Exploring Transnational Topologies. Geopolitics 22, 1: 10.1080/14650045.2016.1226809.

Our goal for this special issue is to highlight the theoretical value of the geosocial as

a way of conceptualising the contemporary constitution of subjects and spaces

within transnational relations. While there has already been a good amount of

individual research that could be characterised as geosocial, we think there remains

a need in geography for a larger statement on the explanatory power and theoretical

value of foregrounding these types of relationships. Socially reorganising

transnational relations take many forms and are established by various individual

and collective actors. The key characteristic informing our conceptualisation here

is the power of these social relations to constitute new transnational geographies

through situated, relational practices.

Our conceptualisation of the geosocial draws from older concepts vis-à-vis the

reciprocal constitution of society and space, as well as from more recent ideas

about topological spatial formations.1 The traditional usage of the term topology

comes from geometry: the study of the properties of space and spatial relations in

the context of stretching and bending and other deformations. Social topologies,

instead, describe the spatial properties of society that have no fixed form, but rather

are outlined by lived worlds organised through ongoing social relations, discourses,

and networks.2 In investigating transnational topologies, we use the

geosocial as a focus for examining the dynamic relations by which, on one hand,

the borders and territories of the world order are maintained, challenged, and (re)

defined; and on the other hand, people constitute themselves as subjects and

communities capable of transformative agency across and within such borderladen

realities. In short, we set out to ask how geosocial subjects are constitutive of

transnational topological space and vice versa.

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