The spatio-temporal structures of society : modernity and ecological modernization as restructurations of time and space
Approaches in the social sciences have experienced a shift toward the themes of time and space, at least over the past three decades. This shift was clearly announced in the invitation made by Anthony Giddens in the early 1980s to retreat from the considerations of time and space as simple containers of social action. Furthermore, several other authors have pointed out at least three shortfalls of the status quo before 1980s: i) the lack of the temporal dimension in the sociological explanation of modernity, ii) the dismissal of the spatial particularity in the accounts of social change, and iii) the need to temporalize the geographical inquiries. How are social sciences accounts and social actions affected by transformation to the spatio-temporal structures of society? That is the general inquiry that inspired this thesis. The notion of spatio-temporal restructuration is introduced to capture the processes of restructuration that are taking place in the social sciences and in social life. Consequently, the study of the spatio-temporal structures of society includes epistemological and phenomenological research. A reorganization of social science spatio-temporal explanatory frameworks is proposed through epistemological research. A phenomenological investigation refers to the dialogical relationship between spatio-temporal arrangements and regimes, which together define the spatio-temporal structures of society. These two conditions of the research in spatio-temporal restructuration –epistemological and phenomenological- explain the twofold structure of the thesis.