In 1970, the Swedish geographer Thorsten Hagerstrand, presented his new model called “time geography”. After many years during which geography had dealt separately with space, time and human society, he developed a new way of expressing human activities and constraints acting upon them, in a combined space-time framework. Hagerstrand’s model aroused great interest among both geographers and scholars from other disciplines. The sociologist, Anthony Giddens, for example, made much use of it to link his social theory with space and time. However, the wave of enthusiasm that the model generated as well as the specific occupation with the temporal dimension in geography that accompanied it began to die out during the 1990s. Nevertheless, some of the foremost geographical thinkers claimed that the potential of time geography is far from being exhausted. Hagerstrand’s time geography clarified for a while the complicated relationship between history and geography and between time and space, which has always been a feature of the discipline of modern geography.
The purpose of this paper is to explore the place of time geography within the context of that relationship, especially as expressed by leaders of geographical thought during the second half of the twentieth century.
The work of these leaders echoes concepts that originated in the eighteenth century, by both the Italian philosopher Giambattista Vico (Vico, 1744/1961) and the German philosopher Emmanuel Kant, as expressed in his lectures on geography (between 1756-1797). Vico considered geography to be the other eye of history, a discipline that explores the processes by which regions are evolved. According to Vico, these processes are linked to the spread, through interpretation, of human ideas, customs and beliefs from old center to new places where people settled. The essential principle in his “poetic” geography is that people employ events, distant in time and space, as materials with which to build their present and their future (Portugali, 1993, 52). Vico did not separate history from geography just as he did not separate the present from the past or the future. The point of origin of Vico’s “new science” was the private domain of experience (Descartes’ res cognita), that is bound up with imagination, fantasy and poetic wisdom. This did not become acceptable in modern science, which limited itself to the collective domain of consciousness (Deckard’s res-extentia) (ibid, 50). Vico’s new sciencewas relegated to the margins of scientific memory together with his poetic geography. His geography has been subject of renewed, explicit discussion, only in the last few years. Nevertheless, some of his ideas that of regional processes continued to be of interest in geographical research, but such research took on new forms, in keeping with modern scientific trends.
Kant’s “Physical geography” introduced an approach that reflects the spirit of modern science. In it, he demonstrated the distinction between geography and history according to the separation of time and space that is generally accepted today: geography is a description of space while history is a description of time (May, 1970, 260). This distinction derives support from Newtonian concepts of absolute space and time, which Kant accepted as the basic, a priori concepts of consciousness. Kant was aware of the difficulty in distinguishing between geography and history in this way, for “History is nothing else than a continuous geography.” (ibid.) Hence, he noted, “Generally, when we have only the name, we believe also that we have the thing itself.” (ibid.) Kant considered both geography and history to be disciplines that deal with the “things themselves” in space and time. He referred to them as “physical sciences,” whereas he used the term “logical sciences” to describe natural sciences or “the history of nature.” The latter, rely upon imagination and define phenomena according to morphological similarities while ignoring their position in space and time.
The distinction between geography and history, based on the criteria of space and time, was not immediately accepted by geographers. It only achieved explicit treatment as a central, geographical issue during the first half of the twentieth century, in a stormy dispute between Sauer and Hartshorne.
Hartshorne was relying on Kant’s distinction between geography and history using the criteria of separation of time from space.He considered space and time to be not only concepts (or “names” in Kantian terminology) but also matters of substance or “bodies of material” that should be the objects of separate investigations, geographical and historical, respectively (Hartshorne, 1939/1961, 175entity. So, we have to study the history of each thing and phenomenon in itself, but only over the period of time that will facilitate a description of its relations and functions in the present. Although a unit area does not include time and therefore is not concrete or tangible, Hartshorne considered it to have material substance. To solve the problem this presents, he proposed the allocation of a certain period of time to a unit area to be considered as present. This period should not be long enough to enable changes in the area to occur during the course of its examination, but it should not be too short, for the process of the study itself takes time. Similarly, Hartshorne suggested investigating the geography of the past as spatial cross sections of the past, in a specific geographical domain of expertise called historical geography. However, the major focus of geography in general and of regional geography as its core, should be the present. Since Hartshorne objected to the idea that the unit area was subject to growth, he maintained that neither the historical nor the genetic method is suited to its investigation. ). Hatrshorne identified the surface of the earth with the Newtonian space. From it he derived a “unit area” that was independent of time and things of substance. Hartshorne argued that things of substance and phenomena in a unit area (mountains, rivers, plants, houses, people and so on) are themselves undergoing change through time, but there is no law or principle that links them together into one developing.
Despite the complications, only a few of which are reported here, most geographers followed Hartshorne and adopted a simple, practical procedure forresearchingregions. This includes writing a short introductory, historical background followed by the body of the research, which describes the physical and human characteristics of the region, in that order. Finally, the conclusion describes the relations among these characteristics that distinguishes one region uniquely from another, generally establishing the existence of causative relations between the phenomena, whether explicit or latent.
Sauer used the term “cultural landscape” to denote region, which he compared to “an energy field” and considered to be a dynamic entity encompassing structure, shape and process. He did not separate culture from nature and regarded cultural landscapes as growing, developing entities having unique structural, morphological temporal and spatial characteristics. According to Sauer, a cultural landscape develops through processes of learning and interpretation that are bound up with the formation of culture that can not be separated from the natural landscape that changes with them. These intimate processes, according to him, are far from our comprehension. Hence, contrary to Hartshorne (who derived the unit area from a given space and time), he maintained that one had to investigate the nature of a region and discover its temporal and spatial characteristics. The temporal characteristic of a cultural landscape is not simple chronology; it does not display a regular, linear or cyclic form, but is characterized by turning points at which culture is in an appropriate state ready for innovation. Sauer advocated identifying spatial characteristics of cultural landscape by monitoring the front leading edge of cultural landscape diffusion and its contacts with another cultural landscape. To this end, he suggested that one should look to economic, regional maps for assistance, on the assumption that this would be a useful starting point for exploring the spatial characteristics of a cultural landscape. A cultural landscape does not necessarily display territorial continuity. One can find similar cultural landscapes in different terrestrial regions, such as economic regions, in which one may find internal hierarchy or structure. In this context, Sauer suggested profiting from a methodology founded on homology, the study of morphologicalstructures that had been used in biology for identifying the evolution of plants and animals.
Sauer’s ideas were too unorthodox to be accepted by the geographical community at a time when most of the sciences, including humanities and social sciences, were striving to adjust to the Newtonian concept of reality while ignoring the radical changes occurring in physics itself during the first half of the twentieth century. Sauer employed a new conceptual system, replacing the concept of separate entities with that of an energy field; instead of absolute space and time, temporal and spatial characteristics (morphological and structural) relative to such energy fields were used as a basis for defining a region. His experience in geographical historical field research, and his immediate acquaintance with other cultures like those of the Arizonan and Mexican Amerindians probably influenced his choice of conceptual system. Nevertheless, it is possible that the revolution in physics had some hidden influence on him. In any case, geographers preferred Hartshorne’s conceptualization to Sauer’s, not merely because it offered a simpler formula, but principally, because it was consistent with the Newtonian conceptual framework that dominated science.
The endeavour of geography to define itself apart from history and time reached extremes in the 1960s, when scholars tried to incorporate geography into the scientific method of logical empiricism. Harvey’s book Explanation in Geography (Harvey, 1969)examines difficulties that geographers had in complying with the strict criteria of logical empiricism. He argued that scientific laws, in a strict sense, could not be developed in any empirical context, except perhaps in physics. (ibid. 69). Nevertheless, he did suggest ways in which geography could assimilate the scientific method as its methodology and view it as a framework for a preliminary orderly arrangement, in order to raise geographical issues and ways of studying them. From that “methodological” point of view, he proposed ways to establish a spatial geographical theory and examined different types of explanations or theories concerning processes, derived from the sciences.
Harvey believed that the fundamental difficulty in applying the scientific method to geography stems from a problem of language. He argued that geography uses a space-time language to define things that are unique in space and time. For example, A, B or C is unique because its exclusive,specific location in an absolute space-time system defines it. In contrast, the scientific language (which is called “substance language”) defines other basic units, a1, a2, a3, for research. These refer to common characteristics of things or phenomena, disregarding their specific,unique location in space and time. One can aggregate, classify, and compare these basic units. Using them one can verify or refute an a posteriori theory. Hence, the initial step in establishing an a-posteriori geographical theory, involves solving the problem of geographical language.
Harvey’s solution adopted modern geometrical theories (developed, by Lobachevski, Riemann, Klein and others) which put forward an infinite number of spatial dimensions, in addition to absolute, Euclideanspace. While Euclidean space fixes a unique location for things, the new geometry neutralizes their uniqueness, because of its many possibilities for locating or defining things in different spaces. This affords the possibility of selecting empirically the most suitable type of space according to the researched phenomena, and enables geography to advance from a priori theorization that depends on absolute space to a posteriori theorization. Nevertheless, as Harvey pointed out, geography is not merely a spatial perspective; it also concerns things of substance that evolve with time. Thus, from the perspective of an internalconcept of relative space dependent on strict geometrical theory, one can see a partial solution that would enable geography to make use of the scientific method. In addition, the use of scientific language and theories derived from the sciences can assist with respect to the phenomena with which geography deals.
Harvey examined a series of derived theories or “modes of explanation” that were accepted by geographers: cognitive description, morphological analysis, cause and effect explanation, temporal explanation, functional explanation, and systems analysis. He demonstrated their weaknesses in terms of the criteria of a posteriori theory and their remoteness from empirical geography. In his discussion of temporal modes of explanation in geography, he pointed out that geographers employ time as an interpretive factor without defining it methodically by a posteriori theorization. Physics has suggested direction to time according to the second law of thermodynamics or the principal of entropy. Biology, too, defines processes with which it is possible to present a theory of time, although in a less rigid sense as compared with physics. In contrast, however, geography (like sociology, and other humanities) did not define time with a systematic theoretical basis that includes laws of process.
Thus, on one hand geographical research relied upon a spatial theory based on relative space, while on the other hand it continued to rest upon the a priori time dimension, or upon time as defined by physics. Following the separation between time and space, the issue of the relations between spatial patterns (space) and processes (time) became the predominant concern of geographers. They presented these relations in a cause and effect framework, by examining whether and to what extent processes give rise to spatial patterns and whether or not spatial patterns influence processes.
Harvey mentioned (ibid., 226-227) an early study by Hagerstrand concerning the mapping of human movement in a space-time diagram . He recognized a similarity between Hagerstrand’s space-time diagram and Minkowskian geometry that Einstein employed in his theory of relativity. Hence, he assumed that it would be useful for investigating the diffusion of innovations, which involves an exchange of information whose speed increases with the improvement of communication technologies. Harvey did not recognize the potential of the time-space diagram for bringing space and time together in relation to physical, human activity, which might have been a starting point in the search for a solution to the primary problem concerning the relations between spatial patterns and temporal processes. He sought a method to bring together spatial patterns and temporal processes throughout the scientific methodology that separates space, time and ‘things’ (entities). Harvey completed Explanation in Geography (Ibid., 481-486) with an appeal to establish a general geographical theory that would link theories of processes with spatial theory, and suggested some directions for future generations of geographers who will face this challenge. Among these, he proposed that one should define geography, not as a spatial science or according to the variety of topics that are the subject of geographical research, but according to its scale, a regional scale. This can limit the possibilities of observing processes that could be identified by using a more detail-oriented criterion, such as monitoring the movements of individuals.
Harvey’s book certainly contributed to the disenchantment with the belief that logical empiricism could provide a satisfying explanation for geographical reality in the 1970’sof science from human experience in daily life and its avoidance of ideological or sociological involvement persuaded some geographers to search for alternatives. In the wake of this, geography split in the 1970s into three main streams. Positivistic geography continued to exist but was no longer predominant. Beside it, on the one hand, a social, structural geography emerged, mostly based on the foundations that Harvey had laid down in 1973. On the other hand, humanistic geography evolved under the influence of the phenomenological criticism of science. The problems of space, time and the relations between them took on new forms in these innovative trends. Among these, the model of time geography also emerged, which both criticizes logical positivism and is embraced by it.. Logical empiricism did not provide solutions for practical concrete problems, such as: the rehabilitation of Europe following the destruction that occurred during the two world wars; social and ecological problems that accompanied the rapid industrialization; pollution; alienation; injustice or spatial, social economic inequality. The remoteness
Hagerstrand presented his time geography model as a new way of dealing with the individual person in regional research and planning. Spatial economic models ignored individuals, and regional planning split into separate spheres (like habitation, transportation, education and so on) with disregard for the individual who makes his way between them. Time geography describes the movement of individual persons and of other physical entities in a space-time diagram, and translates social constraints that act upon them into time-space language. The model holds a physical approach: individual bodies move in a fixed time-space system and their speed and other social constraints define limited space-time range or “prisms” for people’s movement. Thus, time geography became a pioneer in some aspects of geographical research. It opened geographical research to a detailed scale thatexposes a very complicated system of movements and interactions that are not without order. Time geography enables the translation of sociological systems into space-time language. It combines space and time dimensions and presents them as equal in importance in geographical research, thus permitting a review of the system of relations between space and time from the standpoint of man and society.
Time geography does not concern itself with space and time a merely passive framework in which to position things and their definitions; it also treats terrestrial space and life time of people and other entities as limited resources. From this point of view, time geography considers theenvironment to be a technological, ecological system or a niche with limited “carrying capacity”. For example, the daily movement pattern of an individual member of Western society is cyclic (home-work-home) and its limited velocity defines a limited space-time range, with a prismatic form. Consequently, one can describe a settlement system as a series of prisms around locations or stations, among which people move about in their daily routine. Similarly, one can describe a historical-geographical system as a series of ecological, technological niches with limited capacity. Population growth and technological innovation serve as basic mechanisms in such ecological-technological historical-geographical changes, which are depicted in one (physical) space-time system.
Preliminary applications of time geography were achieved in this conceptual context at three levels of research that are closely bound together. One is the path level, at which one examines environmental systems by monitoring the movement patterns that people have created or chosen. Another is the station or the prism level, at which one focuses on the question of the relations between choices (movement patterns) and systems of constraints (prisms). The third is the time-space supply and demand level that estimates the time-space resources for executing projects, which are at the disposal of a population. The first applications of the model were limited. Time geography lacks a social theory concerning the formation of the constraint systems that are associated with the question of the relations between choice (individuals) and constraints (society). It describes only the explicit results of human activity present in a physical path, ignoring motives (past) andpurposes (future). However, it aroused a wave of interest concerning the temporal dimension in environmental research and planning (Carlstein et al., 1978). One of the most important conclusions of these studies was that the study of human environment should go further than the Newtonian space-time continuum. This demand relied, among other things, on developments that had occurred during the 1970s, in both social geography and in humanistic geography.
Harvey published his book, Social Justice and the City, (Harvey, 1973a preliminary formulationof social structuralist geography, according to the Marxist method. He not only found a social theory with an ideological, social commitment in Marx, but also a methodology permitting the introduction of a theory that links social processes (in time), with spatial ecological structures. Harvey suggested that one should look upon ecological structure as one, among other structuctures of the totality of society. In his opinion, the socio-economic structure of modern industrialized society, with all its inequality and injustice, dominates urban (spatial) structure. Harvey considered relational structural order to be an alternative explanation to positivistic, absolute concepts of theory, justice, space and urbanism that he had previously employed. He identified three types of order: absolute order; relational structural order; and relative subjective order which he termed “without form” and considered as lacking explanatory power. Consequently, he proposed three types of space for geographical study: absolute space, relational structural space and relative subjective space. However, he suggested no system for bridging between them, leaving the researcher to select whichever one is applicable according to the empirical problem under study. This suggests that he continued to separate theory from empirical reality, although he did consider the Marxist method to be a kind of theory combined with practice. Harvey continued to develop his social structural theory of geography as an explanation of reality, defining geography on a regional scale, while the relative, subjective scale of individuals remained outside his theorization. Hence, his theory links historical, structural processes (in time) with spatial, ecological structures (relational space) at a structural level, ignoring the practical processes of structuring. As mentioned above, time geography enables one to monitor the activities of individuals through their paths, and to detect systems of social constraints in the space-time continuum. But, it disregards subjective aspects, such as motives or intentions, that one cannot place in the accepted physical space-time continuum, in the same way that it disregards subjective aspects of space and time themselves. Humanistic geography has expatiated upon subjective, experiential aspects of human activity, and upon the subjective aspects of space and time that are bound up with it.) as
Humanistic geography, which developed under the influence of phenomenological trends, put forward a number of basic geographical terms for reassessment. Relph (1976), for example, re-examined the concept of “place” and attempted to find its essence as compared with “placelessness.” He argued that the time or duration of a person’s experience at a location could not serve as a criterion for distinguishing between place and placelessness. Perhaps, for this reason, he did not study time in itself explicitly or its relation to different types of human spaces that he researched, although he did attach considerable importance to time as inseparable from place.
The effort to re-examine systems of concepts led geographers, among them Tuan (1974between the sciences that separate space, time and things from each other and the human social experience that links them together. Tuan examined the conceptualization of time, space and the relations between them (and between things) in cultures that differ both in their terrestrial location and in their chronological position. He demonstrated that these relations were not absolute but varied from culture to culture. From his research, he derived two principal types of time: linear time and cyclic time. Tuan proposed three ways of researching place from the point of view of time: time as motion or flow and place as a pause; attachment to place as a function of time; and place as a visual record of time.; 1978), to explicitly consider the gap
Buttimer (1976) proposed linking the concepts of physical time and space in time geography with phenomenological conceptualization, through the term “rhythm”. She viewed environment as a very a complex system of rhythms. However, humanistic geography did not provide a suitable, theoretical basis upon which to realize her ideas. First, because it lacks a social theory that links the individual with social structures, and more specifically, because it lacks a theory that links the individual’s (subjective) time-space and social (inter-subjective) time-space. Second, it lacks a theoretical basis for linking physical time-space with human-social time-space. Giddens, however, did propose an interesting solution to the first part of the problem, without solving the problem of the gap between the physical time-space of time-geography and the human, social conceptualization of time-space that forms the basis of his social theory.
Giddens links social structures with the individual’s social activity in a dual-flow model that knits the subjective, human aspect of a person togetherwith social structure. His model is not only anchoredin accepted space and time but also derived from a unique conceptualization of space-time. His dual approach deviated from dualistic philosophy, as his approach to space and time differs from the Newtonian perception. His space-time theory relies on Hagerstrand’s physical space-time diagram and on Heidegger’s subjective, human approach to space-time. Although both these scholars unite space with time from the aspect of human activity, they do so differently. According to Heidegger, a person’s origins in the world are the dwelling-place, which creates space, and the anxiety that is involved in his awareness of his mortality, which links his future with the past and with the present. A person is not only a physical body, a present existing ‘I’ as depicted in a time-space diagram of time-geography but also a being or as Giddens puts it, a “presence.” One’s being creates one’s subjective space-time in relation to the world. Giddens proposed expanding this subjective, egocentric perception into a human, social one. A person’s intentions and motives are interwoven with memory and awareness that is not only personal but is inextricably linked to society and culture. Hence, the individual is not an isolated unit but an autonomous being whose presence extends furtherinto inter-subjective, social time-space. In this way, Giddens proposes a conceptualization of social time-space, on which he relies to launch a theory about types/forms of social organization based on mechanisms of “space-time distanciation”. For example, a non-literate society has a social and structural organization that is different from a literate society, as they differ in their space-time distanciation. Innovations such as clocks, money, and modern communications enabled the evolution of a variety of social space-time forms. Giddens has suggested that dominant, social forms guide ”world time” together with other peripheral forms: ”time-space edges”. These peripheral forms, whether old or new, can become dominant depending on certain historical-geographical contingencies. This is not a deterministic theory of historical evolution, subject to physical time direction, but rather a theory of social orders that are secured firmly in social time-space that establishes world time, which is intrinsic to geographical space.
Giddens did not expand on all the basic principles of his theory. He did expand on the mechanism of reproduction, one of its central processes. The basic motivation for the processes of reproduction is people’s need for routine to enable them to confront the anxieties of life in a world of uncertainty, and to avoid continuous confrontation with change and the constant need to make conscious decisions. Giddens relies on time-geography to demonstrate how people’s daily movements not only occur through “stations” (Hagerstrand) but also create “locales.” By routinely returning to a particular place, people create order out of chance movement. Recurrent meetings and encounters create locales. In this way, the process of spatial organization is inextricably linked to social structuring, as the spatial-temporal organization becomes actively associated with the processes of social structuring. Time geography does indeed consider space and time to be actively associated with human activities (as limited resources) but this is a physical, Newtonianperception, while Giddens proposes a theory that involves choice and constraints together in one dual process. Social activity (choice) and social structure (constraints) structure and are structured, produce and are reproduced through daily routine.
Giddens expanded on power structure and its relation to the structure of legitimacy but failed to explain the structure of significance in detail, although it is of equal importance in his structuration model. He expanded on the processes of reproduction while those of change, which create world time, remain obscure. For example, he does not explain the mechanism of diffusion in time-space for innovations, including not only technological but also those in the realm of ideas, myths and the like (that are connected to the structure of signification).
His dual theory represents a significant breakthrough in removing the divisions between the social sciences, geography and history. However, he was careful to focus his teachings only on the human, social sphere, and in this way he reproduced the dualism between people and nature. Being a sociologist, he did not seek a general theory that would include the natural sphere. Although he derived the inspiration for his dual approach from biology, he emphasized the differences between the human and the natural spheres. Hence, he preferred to rely on Heidegger’s concept of time-space and the time-space in time geography, both of which specifically relate to people, despite the similarity, that he had recognized between them and the time-space perceptions in post-Newtonian physics. He considered his dual approach to be a substitute for the dualism and physicalism in humanities and social sciences, and he did not try to bridge the gap between the two worlds.
Thus, the gap remained between time geography’s physical and Giddens’ dual outlook. This gap presents the deep gulf between an atomistic, mechanistic outlook and a dual social, holistic viewpoint that preserves a dualism between the worlds of nature and man. Geographical research deals with man and nature, together. Hence, geography requires a general theory that can provide bridging rules between these different world views, thus enabling the study of the environment as a whole. Efforts made in geography to realize this end have met, until recently, with difficulties.
Pred (Pred, 1984a; 1985a short note about “dialectical, spiral” change. Later, Pred claimed that Giddens’ social theory and other grand theories did not offer satisfactory explanations or tools for investigating such a complex, dynamic and arbitrary system as place. He preferred to rely upon fragmentary maxims as alternatives to a “grand theory,” and chose a post-modernistic starting point for his geographical research.) and Gregory (Gregory, 1978; 1978a; 1982; 1984; 1985a; 1985b; 1989b; 1989c; 1990), for example, have tried to combine some aspects of Giddens’ theory to construct geographical theory. Pred suggested expanding the ecological, technological context of time geography by using “dialectical characteristics” (Pred, 1981), and under the influence of Giddens, he formulated a theory for researching place as a historically contingent process. This theory combines some aspects of Vidal de la Blanche’s human geography with processes of social reproduction and transformation of nature. However, Pred did not suggest processes that integrate nature with people and society, beyond presenting them in a simultaneous system. In his earlier studies Pred made combined use of Hagerstrand’s time geography and spatial diffusion of innovations, as complimentary models. However, in his later model he suggested focussing on simultaneous, dualic relations and ignored processes of change. He did not attempt to upgrade the spatial diffusion model and combine it with his new model, remaining satisfied with
Gregory, on the other hand, continued to seek a structuralist method for geographical-historical research. At first, he combined Hagerstrand's diffusion model and time geography with some of Giddens’ concepts, in empirical Geographical-Historical research. Later, he adopted Baskar’s theory and proposed linking time geography, the diffusion model, and Giddens’ theory, within the context of Baskar’s realistic approach, while, at the same time, expanding Sayer’s methodology (Gregory, 1985a). The context that Baskar proposed admits humanism, structuralism and other theories side by side, each with its accompanying mechanisms for interpretation of events. Following Baskar’s ideas, Sayer proposed a number of possibilities for different kinds (or levels) of research, asserting that concrete research must be linked with space and time, while abstract research is not necessarily so linked. Hence, one can consider Gidden’s theory (which includes time-space structures in abstract research) to be one of the alternatives to a structural explanation. Gregory suggested adding space and time to Sayer’s methodology, at all levels of research.
Baskar’s theory relates to epistemic realism that goes beyond the limits of naïve empiricism in that it accepts the existence of non-atomistic theories. Thus, it professes a non-atomistic ontology. Nonetheless, it perceives the relations between structures, mechanisms and events as a causal system, and the time and space system on which it relies is an absolute one. There is, indeed, an essential problem in linking Giddens’ theory, derived from relative, social space-time, with Baskar’s theory that views Giddens’ theory as merely another structuralist theory, whose set of concepts (its epistemology) requires examination by means of empirical research. Undeniably, Giddens did not perform such an epistemic analysis and one may disagree with the greater emphasis that he places on the structures of power as compared with the structures of meaning. Nevertheless, one cannot dissociate Giddens’ time-space theory from his structuralist theory, in an attempt to insert it into a context of Baskar’s realism based on an entirely different perception both of time and space and of events. For Giddens these last are dual processes and not discrete, static units. One cannot divorce an atomistic approach from absolute time and space just as one cannot define a non-atomistic approach within an absolute time and space context. That is to say, there is a basic difficulty with Baskar’s realism, since, according to his methodology, it does not admit the examination of Giddens' conceptual system. Hence, a series of problems in bridging the gap between Giddens and Baskar arises from the different perceptions of time, space and the relations between them and events.
In another paper (Gregory, 1985b), Gregory expressed second thoughts about his original suggestion and discussed problems that it raised. He criticized the naturalistic approach that typifies both the diffusion and the time geography models, even though the time geography model does include, in his opinion, potential for time-space transformation. This potential appears in the way in which it connects time with space from the human aspect and considers this as a framework not only for positioning and defining things but also as constraints and, hence, transforms time and space into active partners in social processes. In this sense, Gregory claims that Harvey’s theory also proposed a kind of space-time transformation, through structural relations, as did Foucault’s (Foucault, 1980). Hence, Gregory calls for the expansion of Hagerstand’s project within the philosophical frameworks suggested by Giddens and Baskar. Nevertheless, as shown above, a combination of Giddens’ and Baskar’s ideas is problematic. Gregory identifies the problem as linked to perceptions of time and space and suggests going beyond Baskar’s time and space, with reservations regarding Heidegger’s subjective and Giddens’ inter-subjective time-space, which are not sufficiently realistic for him. Undeniably, there is a need for a stronger bridge between naïve empiricism and a realistic, non-atomistic perception of reality than that which Baskar has proposed. Geography cannot remain satisfied with only a humanistic (humanist-social) point of view but also requires a realistic perspective that recognizes a reality beyond man and society, if only because geography deals with a reality that includes both the animate and the inanimate. Geography must be able to bridge the gap between the physical, atomistic world view with its absolute, indifferent space and time, and the holistic, human, social world that is involved in relative space-time.
This controversy between the physical sciences and the humanities mirrorsprofound differences between Eastern and Western philosophy, which applied even to Physics itself (Portugali, 1985). Following the upheaval that came in the wake of Einstein’s theory of relativity and subsequent quantum theory, new theories evolved in Physics, which held that the basic order of reality is holistic and not atomistic. These theories reveal in the matter qualities such as: holism, evolution, irreversibility and history, that until then, applied only in the spheres of the humanities and biology. In recent years, theories of this sort were modified for use in geographical research. A new framework developed by Portugali, under the name “self-organization”, offers solutions to many problems that were discussed along with this paper. His new methods for geographical-historical research are based mostly on the philosopher and physicist Bohm’s theory of wholeness and implicate order, and on self-organization theories that were developed by Prigogine, Haken and others dealing with very complex, dynamic, open systems.
Bohm proposed the concepts of “undivided wholeness” and “implicate order” to bridge the gap between the relativity and the quantum theory. Implicate order is to some extent, comparable with the order inherent in a holographic picture, where each spot represents the whole picture. However, the analogy is not precise, for according to Bohm, the implicate order is in a state of continuous motion and flux. Hence, he coined the expression “holomovement”. He considered holomovment to be a dynamic phenomenon, which is the source of all forms of the material world. Space and time appear in the forms that derive from this holistic motion. To understand the phenomena in the Newtonian world oflarge objects and parts, Bohm coined the expression “explicate order.” According to Bohm, the Newtonian material world that we apprehend through our senses, is a kind of superficial, exposed image, of the more elusive and subtleimplicate order. From this perspective, he claims, the explicit order is not the reality but rather, as we perceive it; it is an abstraction or an illusion of reality. The implicate and the explicate orders are engaged in a play of unfolding and enfolding. Properties and potentialities at the implicate order unfold to become relatively independent “things” at the explicate order, and entities from the explicate order enfold back into the implicate order. Bohm also explored the possibility of several implicate orders, in a complex hierarchy, of various degrees of subtlety, engaged in the play of unfolding and enfolding. In order to account for the process by which one order unfolds and gives rise, or generates, another order, he developed the notion of “generative order”. An example of generative order comes from fractal geometry in which an initial simple form, with simple recursive rule, generates a highly complex, self-similar and articulate form. The suggestion is that every order, whether physical, biological or human, implicate or explicate, is generative, in the sense that it generates other structures or orders, and is generated by other, more subtle orders in an ever going movement. The total reality is seen as highly complex, dynamic hierarchy of orders, in an eternal movement of unfoldment and enfoldment (Portugali, 1993, 57-58).
Portugali suggests that one should consider Bohm’s theory to be a general framework for deliberation, while self-organizational theories specify and illustrate processes that serve in the transitions and transformations among orders. Researchers such as Prigogineand Haken have found that complex, open, physical systems that are part of their environment can be maintained in far from equilibrium conditions through sufficient flow of energy and matter. Such systems do not change causally, as a result of outer forces, but from within. External forces acting on such a system can stimulate an internal process occurring within it but do not determine its outcome. Prigogine called attention to the conclusion from this about the direction of time, until then based on the second law of thermodynamics, which relates to processes inclosed systems.
According to Haken’s synergetic theory, it is operationally more useful to examine the overall morphological or global behavior of such complex systems, since this property of complexity constrains the possibility of treating such systems mechanistically and causally. Such an examination reveals that the evolution of open, complex systems follows a very distinct and routinized path: a long period of a steady state, followed by a short period of strongly fluctuations or chaos, from which the system re-emerges to a new level of steady state and structural stability, and so on. According to Haken’s theory, during the period of chaos or instability several order states compete, until one “wins,” enslaves the system and brings it to a new steady state. The amplitude of the winning state he termed “order parameter”. In the natural sciences it is common to describe this process by means of a bifurcation diagram.
Portugali suggests the expression “stratigraphic form of change” or “stratigraphic change” for this type of change: the system moves from one stable state to another, via bifurcations, and with every evolutionary move the previous and alternative steady states die and disappear. Thus the system moves, via bifurcations, from one stratum to another. In addition, he proposes two forms of change: “furcative form of change” and “hermeneutic form of change.” In furcative change, with every stage of frucation the system becomes more complex in the sense that the old or alternative states do not die, but continue to live, enslaved by the dominant order parameters. In certain cases where the dominant order has collapsed, the enslaved orders can become dominant. In the hermeneutic form of change, the system furcates as above, but not by elimination or enslaving competing order parameters, but by expanding their boundaries (through interpretation) and thus enabling and increasing their internal complexity.
Portugali suggests the three types of change as three aspects of a social, spatial process of change. For example, stratigraphic change relates to the external representation of change in the system, occurring in the public domain of consciousness and directly visible from outside. Furcative and hermeneutic forms of change relate to the “poetic” internal representation of change in the range of both individual and collective cognition and are, thus, visible from outside only indirectly and by hint. In geographical-poetical change, each new order parameter can be considered as the consequence of earlier or more remote conditions and in this respect order parameters are generating parameters. Hence, Portugali proposes replacing the term “order parameters” in Haken’s expression, with Bohm’s term of generative order, in the social domain. To this basic conceptual framework, Portuali adds a mechanism of cultural evolution, which expands Cavalli-Szforsa and Feldmann’s theory of cultural evolution.
This framework enables Portugali to expand Hagerstrand’s diffusion model. While the spatial diffusion model derives from a mechanistic, Newtonian conception of the world and neglects self-renovating change in the course of the diffusion, Portugali’s expansion proposes an evolutionary process that includes the three types of change. One is the change at the explicit or the physical level of innovation through stratigraphic change. Another is the furcative change, in which earlier states continue to exist and compete with dominant generating orders whether in substance or in thought. The third, hermeneutic change occurs in the innovation through physical and conceptual renewal, during its reception and expansion in time-space and its transformation into generative order. The whole process establishes social time-space in a wider sense than Gidden’s terminology and includes additional processes of change that are absent in his teachings.
Portugali also suggests that these concepts can be used to describe the course of an individual’s life as a complex system of self-organization. In this way, time geography does not only gain expansion in the context of reproduction processes (Giddens) but also in the context of transformation processes. Thus from a profound holistic point of view, time geography and Hagerstrand’s diffusion model mesh into one network that gathers together the individual and society in a geographical-historical process of change. This framework helps to expand both Giddens’ and Baskar’s theories, and bridge between them. It present a new way to study thought and concepts as a social-cultural process that links time-space together, as parts of the “holomovement.” One can of course use the same means to describe the changes that have taken place in geography itself, as a process of self-organized system through the course of the lives of the researchers in an environmentally open discipline.
"We are all linked by a fabric of unseen connections.
This fabric is constantly changing and evolving.
This field is directly structured and influenced by our behavior and by our understanding". - David Bohm –