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  An approach to human geography that treats time and space as resources that enter directly into the constitution of social life. The basic ideas were developed by the Swedish geographer Torsten Hägerstrand and his associates at the University of Lund (\'the Lund School\') in the 1960s, 1970s and early 1980s. Time-geography is at once a development of a longstanding view of geography as human ecology (Hägerstrand described time-geography as a \'situational ecology\') and an attempt to advance human geography and the other social sciences in the direction of contextual theory. Accordingly, Hägerstrand\'s ideas emphasize the continuity and connectedness of sequences of events that take place in situations bounded in time and space and whose outcomes are thereby mutually modified by their common localization (Hägerstrand, 1976, 1984).

Although the first formal discussions of timegeography appeared in the 1960s, it had its origins in an earlier investigation of what Hägerstrand called the \'population archaeology\' of Åsby in central southern Sweden. It was then that he thought of depicting individual biographies as paths in time and space; but he was unable to devise a notation capable of describing the intricacies of a \'forest\' of time-space paths and so turned instead to the exploration of generalized social networks. It was this investigation which culminated in his models of spatial diffusion and, in particular, in the concept of the mean information field (Gregory, 1985). But Hägerstrand returned to his original problem and eventually developed an elementary time-space notation from standard Lexis-Becker diagrams used in demography.

His basic framework can be represented as a web model (see figure) spun across four basal propositions:

(1) Space and time are resources on which individuals have to draw in order to realize projects.

(2) The realization of any project is subject to three constraints:

Capability constraints, which limit the activities of individuals through their own physical capabilities and/or the facilities which they can command. These constraints define individual prisms, which contains sets of feasible time-space paths flowing through a constellation of accessible stations, e.g. farms, factories, schools, shops.

Coupling constraints, which define where, when and for how long an individual has to join with other individuals, tools and materials in order to produce, transact or consume. Coupling constraints define time-space bundles.

Authority or \'steering\' constraints, which impose conditions of access to and modes of conduct within particular time-space domains.

(3) These constraints are interactive rather than additive, and together they delineate a series of possibility boundaries which mark out the paths available for individuals or groups to fulfill particular projects. These boundaries correspond to an underlying and evolving \'logic\' or \'structure\' whose disclosure requires a way of \'dealing with power in space-time terms of considerable conceptual precision\' (Hägerstrand, 1973).

(4) Within these structural templates, competition between projects for \'free paths\' and \'open space-times\' is usually the \'central problem for analysis\' and is mediated by specific institutions which seek to maintain an essential time-space coherence (Hägerstrand, 1973, 1975).

{img src=show_image.php?name=bkhumgeofig73.gif }

time-geography Hägerstrand\'s web model

These claims have been read in different ways. A number of writers, including Hägerstrand himself, have attributed a profound naturalism to time-geography. Certainly, Hägerstrand\'s (1973) belief that the human being can be considered \'a central elementary particle\' and that human geography can, in consequence, be reconstructed around the systematic time-space recording of events in a landscape something like \'the bubble-chamber of the physicist\' reveals a deliberate physicalism; and his debt to the biological sciences is disclosed in his desire \'to incorporate certain essential biotic and ecological predicates\' within human geography and the social sciences more generally. Other writers have represented time-geography as another structuralism: the distinction between a repertoire of possible time-space paths and a concrete configuration of trajectories realized within these structural templates was supposed to be formally equivalent to Saussure\'s distinction between langue (language) and parole (speech) (Carlstein, 1982). Both naturalism and structuralism displace human subjects from their formulations, and in fact one of the most consistent criticisms of Hägerstrand\'s model has been its relegation of human agency in the broadest of senses. Hägerstrand describes the realization of projects with compelling originality but he says little about their constitution or accomplishment by knowledgeable and skilled actors (Buttimer, 1976). The relegation of the human subject in this way reduces social life to a form of what Sartre called seriality, in which subjects regard themselves and others as objects, and critics have claimed that this limits Hägerstrand\'s spatial ontology to objective rather than a fully \'social\' space (Schatzki, 1991). More particularly, Rose (1993, p. 28) criticized time-geography\'s erasure of \'the emotional, the passionate, the disruptive, and the feelings of relations with others\'.

Some geographers have sought to develop more socialized versions of time-geography. In the 1980s many writers drew attention to the immanent convergence between timegeography and structuration theory, and claimed that Hägerstrand\'s graphical representations made visible the \'material logic\' of structuration: the \'cement\' binding individuals and institutions into a coherent matrix (Pred, 1981; Thrift, 1983). Perhaps the two most ambitious empirical attempts to work with these ideas were Pred\'s studies of agrarian change and urban change in Sweden (Pred, 1986, 1990), which made effective use of time-geographic diagrams to illustrate a series of propositions about the restructuring of economic and social life. Pred was interested in more than mapping paths and projects, however, and in both cases he sought to show how these changing routines fed into and out of the production, negotiation and contestation of social meaning. Similar concerns animated Dyck\'s (1990) important time-geographic study of mothering, which demonstrated how conceptions of Identity, self-esteem and mothering were constructed through regular relationships with other women in a diversity of locales. \'Woman\' and \'motherhood\' thus emerged from her study as categories whose meanings are situationally defined, and the social construction of space was shown to involve much more than the logistical exercise conveyed in time-geography\'s vocabulary of time-space budgets, time-space packing and the like: Dyck was able to show how the production and reproduction of routines in time and space entered directly into the construction of social meaning.

Much of this work sought to harness the methodological power of time-geography; but the 1990s have seen the development of two streams of criticism that have taken the conceptual bases of time-geography in altogether more novel directions.

On the one side, critics charged conventional time-geography with a masculinism. The claim that Hägerstrand\'s diagrams finally uncovered and revealed in all their complexity the \'inner workings\' of social life is an extraordinarily ambitious, even imperial assertion: \'There are no hidden corners into which timegeography cannot penetrate\' (Rose, 1993, p. 38). The supposed power of time-geography rests on its \'mastery\' of social life by a visual strategy that renders space transparent, unproblematic and fully knowable (see vision and visuality). From this perspective it is thus entirely appropriate that Hannah (1997) should use Hägerstrand\'s graphical system to illustrate the surveillance of life-paths within a system of panopticism. But Rose\'s objections go much farther than this, for at the heart of time-geography is what she identified as the \'imaginary body\': a body whose social and cultural markings by \'race\', gender and sexuality are wilfully erased by mapping it as \'an elementary\' — and, by implication, a \'universal\' — \'particle\'. Critiques of this kind have fed into a developing stream of work on the body. Many of these recent studies owe little or nothing to time-geography, but some of them have drawn on Hägerstrand\'s ideas to \'map the logic of corporeality\' and illuminate the ways in which human subjects are constituted through situated social practices (Pile and Thrift, 1995).

On the other side are those geographers who have been unimpressed by Hägerstrand\'s diagrams for quite other reasons. Far from seeing such graphical representations as methodologically powerful, these critics have noted that most of the empirical work that has been carried out under the aegis of time-geography has been confined to the small-scale, short-term and essentially individual level; that it typically focuses on the time-space intersections of individual paths and institutional projects, with little regard for the changing structural templates and station configurations that make them possible. Identifying a substantial gap between theoretical ambition and empirical achievement, Hoppe and Langton (1988, 1994) have thus sought to develop the conceptual base of time-geography in such a way that it can help \'to produce a coherent account of how individuals, society and milieu combine into processes operating over longer time spans and at larger geographical scales\'. Their rich empirical analysis of the transition to capitalism in western Ostergötland in Sweden centred on the concept of a \'livelihood position\'. They defined a livelihood position as \'the set of resources, divisible or indivisible, owned or otherwise acquired, which sustains the livelihood of an individual or household\'. These sets could never be satisfied at a single location in space, Hoppe and Langton argued, but they elected to focus less on the webs between different stations at a point in time (what Pred (1977) called \'the choreography of existence\') and more on the ways in which people moved through a sequence of livelihood positions over the course of their lifetimes. A study of this kind clearly makes considerable demands of archival sources and requires sophisticated methods of nominal linkage, but it is much more than a longitudinal social history. Its purpose is to recover the movement of people through livelihood positions as an intrinsically geographical process. Thus Hoppe and Langton do not treat \'stations\' as points on a plane — the classical logic of location theory — but instead conceptualize them as \'structured bundles of partial livelihood positions\'. They then use the livelihood positions maintained by a project at a station to define its \'production structure\', which enables them to show — empirically — how the change from a peasant society to capitalism in western Ostergötland was expressed \'in the production structures which represent the projects through which the economic system is sustained and organised\'. They also show how the suite of stations on which livelihood positions depended both increased and changed into new, more complex configurations as capitalist modernization proceeded. (DG)

References Buttimer, A. 1976: Grasping the dynamism of the lifeworld. Annals of the Association of American Geographers 66: 277-9 2. Carlstein, T. 1982: Time resources, society and ecology. London: Allen and Unwin. Dyck, I. 1990: Space, time and renegotiating motherhood: an exploration of the domestic workplace. Environment and Planning D: Society and Space 8: 459-83. Gregory, D. 1985: Suspended animation: the stasis of diffusion theory. In D. Gregory and J. Urry, eds, Social relations and spatial structures. London: Macmillan, 296-3 36. Hägerstrand, T. 1973: The domain of human geography. In R.J. Chorley, ed., Directions in geography. London: Methuen, 67-87. Hägerstrand, T. 1975: Space, time and human conditions. In A. Karlqvist, L. Lunqvist and F. Snickars, eds, Dynamic allocation of urban space. Farnborough: Saxon House, 3-14. Hägerstrand, T. 1976: Geography and the study of interaction between society and nature. Geoforum 7: 329-34. Hägerstrand, T. 1978: Survival and arena: on the life-history of individuals in relation to their geographical environment. In T. Carlstein, D. Parkkes and N. Thrift, eds, Timing space and spacing time. Vol. 2: Human activity and time-geography. London: Edward Arnold, 122-45. Hägerstrand, T. 1982: Diorama, path and project. Tijdschrift voor Economische en Sociale Geograpie 73: 323-5 6. Hägerstrand, T. 1983: In search for the sources of concepts. In A. Buttimer, ed., The practice of geography. Harlow: Longman, 238-56. Hägerstrand, T. 1984: Presence and absence: a look at conceptual choices and bodily necessities. Regional Studies 18: 373-8 0. Hannah, M. 1997: Imperfect panopticism: envisioning the construction of normal lives. In G. Benko and U. Strohmayer, eds, Space and social theory: interpreting modernity and postmodernity. Cambridge, MA and Oxford: Blackwell, 344-59. Hoppe, G. and Langton, J. 1988: Time-geography and economic development: the changing structure of livelihood positions on farms in nineteenth-century Sweden. Geografiska Annaler 68B: 115-3 7. Hoppe, J. and Langton, G. 1994: Peasantry to capitalism: western Ostergötland in the nineteenth century. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Pile, S. and Thrift, N.J., eds, 1995: Mapping the subject: geographies of cultural transformation. London: Routledge. Pred, A. 1977: The choreography of existence: some comments on Hägerstrand\'s time-geography and its effectiveness. Economic Geography 53: 207-21. Pred, A. 1981: Social reproduction and the time-geography of everyday life. Geografiska Annaler 63B: 5-22. Pred, A. 1986: Place, practice and structure: space and society in Southern Sweden 1750-1850. Cambridge: Polity Press. Pred, A. 1990: Lost words and lost worlds: modernity and the language of everyday life in late nineteenth-century Stockholm. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Rose, G. 1993: Feminism and geography: the limits of geographical knowledge. Cambridge: Polity. Schatzki, T. 1991: Spatial ontology and explanation. Annals of the Association of American Geographers 81: 650-70. Thrift, N. 1983: On the determination of social action in space and time. Environment and Planning D: Society and Space 1: 23-57 [reprinted in Thrift (1996)]. Thrift, N.J. 1996: Spatial formations. London: Sage.

Suggested Reading Dyck (1990). Hägerstrand (1973). Hoppe and Langton (1994), 41-6, 334-8.



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