A material-socio-virtual concept of (library-) space

Some weeks ago I had the pleasure participating in the UXLibs II Conference in Manchester. During this conference I became aware that only a part of my theoretical framework which my library research is based on is available in English. Today I want to change this to the better and provide the most important parts of the framework as a short version here in my blog. [1]

hybrid library spaces (first published in Edinger/Reimer 2013)

hybrid library spaces (first published in Edinger/Reimer 2013)

The definition of space as relational became established both, theoretical and empirical with the spatial turn.[2]  The absolute space – the so-called container model, geometrical physical with the dimensions width, height, and depth – is distinguished from the relational space by the fact, that the last one is not objectively measurable. It is not only the “result of relations of bodies” (Fritsch et al. 2010, 13), it is individual and situative constructed. With the relational understanding of space it is explainable why there can be two spaces in one place. For instance: adults are sitting at a table, having dinner and a conversation and at the same time there are children playing under the table in a space they call “tent” or “cave”.

Humans are the condition sine qua non for constituting space, they decide who and what is belonging to a space and who and what not.  Martina Löw defines this as “synthesis”: the processes of perception, imagination and memory that summarises and combines goods and human beings to spaces. (Löw, 2001, 159). Space is produced by social practice and at the same time it structures social activities. This is called the duality of structure and social practice – space is both, a result and a condition (Giddens 1988).

For my work in the context of learning environments like libraries I understand space as a combination of three components: material, social, and virtual space. Each of these components cannot build space on its own. Space is characterised by the mutual saturation of these components. They have just been separated to generate unambiguous categories that are practically useful for empirical investigation.

The material space (the first component) can be experienced physically: visual, haptic, and sometimes also olfactory. In Trinity College in Dublin for instance you can smell the antiquarian books a long time before entering the “Long Room”.  In other places it feels like exercises going to library spaces that are placed in an upper floor or you experience subsiding in the carpet like in Taylor Institution Library in Oxford. Building materials like concrete, furniture, technical infrastructure, signs, directories and especially in libraries shelves and stack are among the architectural elements of the material space.

The second component is the social space according to Pierre Bourdieu’s concept. The social space can be investigated by “capital”, “habitus” and the position of people within milieus. The position in the social space has effects on the subjective perception of spaces (including other people around!). These effects can be crucial for the way people experiencing and appropriating spaces. Interrelated with the co-presence of others are norms of behaviour like the imperative of silence, especially in spaces such as libraries.

The virtual space is the third component. It is a metaphoric denotation for (re-) presentations in the Internet, which for instance can be Second Life, Skype conferences, learning management systems or social networks (Edinger/Reimer 2015). Mobile devices make it possible having virtual spaces with us all the time. We can sit down in John Rylands Library in Manchester and do some catalogue research in the Zentralbibliothek Zürich at the same time! Virtual space is not the opposite of material space; these two components shouldn’t be understood as added but rather interrelated to each other. In the figure above this is illustrated. The material space and the virtual space are connected by digital databases (s. figure above). Some tools can be used for designing the best user experience in our library spaces. In the case of orientation & navigation BIBMAP/mapongo and indoor navigation with beacons or UHF RFID are examples (s. figure below).

Zurich University of the Arts, http://zhdk.mapongo.de/viewer, 2016

Zurich University of the Arts, http://zhdk.mapongo.de/viewer, 2016

In the case of learning environments the above named duality of structure and social practice leads to the fact that the same didactical settings and contents have different effects when the space components are changing. For example: If W-LAN doesn’t work properly the whole environment behaviour setting (Barker 1968) changes, people perceive spaces different and act in a different way.

 


[1] This text is based on the translation of parts of the following paper: Edinger, Eva-Christina, 2016: Besucher? Nutzer? Kunde? – Mensch! Raumsoziologische Perspektiven auf Bibliotheksgestaltung im Sinne des Human Centered Design. In: Arnold, Rolf et al. (Ed.), Lernarchitekturen und (Online-) Lernräume, Baltmannsweiler: Schneider Verlag Hohengehren. Pp. 91 – 118. And some parts are from here: ders., 2014: Examining Space Perceptions. Combining Visual and Verbal Data with Reactive and Non-Reactive Methods in Studies of the Elderly and Library Users. Historical Social Research, 39 (2): Pp. 181-202.

[2] See for instance Damir-Geilsdorf, Sabine and Hendrich, Béatrice, 2005: Orientierungsleistungen räumlicher Strukturen und Erinnerung. Heuristische Potenziale einer Verknüpfung der Konzepte Raum, metal maps und Erinnerung. In: Damir-Geilsdorf, Sabine; Hartmann, Angelika und Hendrich, Béatrice (Ed.), Mental Maps – Raum – Erinnerung, Münster: Lit Verlag. Pp. 25-48; Fritsche, Caroline; Lingg, Eva and Reutlinger, Christian, 2010: Raumwissenschaftliche Basics – eine Einleitung. In: Reutlinger, Christian; Fritsche, Caroline and Lingg, Eva (Ed.), Raumwissenschaftliche Basics. Eine Einführung für die Soziale Arbeit, Wiesbaden: VS Verlag für Sozialwissenschaften. Pp. 11-24; Löw, Martina, 2001: Raumsoziologie. Frankfurt am Main: Suhrkamp; Schroer, Marcus, 2007: Räume, Orte, Grenzen: Auf dem Weg zu einer Soziologie des Raums. Frankfurt am Main: Suhrkamp.

 

References

Barker, Roger, 1968: Ecological Psychology: Concepts and Methods for Studying the Environment of Human Behavior. Stanford: Stanford University Press.

Damir-Geilsdorf, Sabine and Hendrich, Béatrice, 2005: Orientierungsleistungen räumlicher Strukturen und Erinnerung. Heuristische Potenziale einer Verknüpfung der Konzepte Raum, metal maps und Erinnerung. In: Damir-Geilsdorf, Sabine; Hartmann, Angelika und Hendrich, Béatrice (Ed.), Mental Maps – Raum – Erinnerung, Münster: Lit Verlag. Pp. 25-48.

Edinger, Eva-Christina, 2014: Examining Space Perceptions. Combining Visual and Verbal Data with Reactive and Non-Reactive Methods in Studies of the Elderly and Library Users. Historical Social Research, 39 (2): Pp. 181-202.

, 2016: Besucher? Nutzer? Kunde? – Mensch! Raumsoziologische Perspektiven auf Bibliotheksgestaltung im Sinne des Human Centered Design. In: Arnold, Rolf et al. (Ed.), Lernarchitekturen und (Online-) Lernräume, Baltmannsweiler: Schneider Verlag Hohengehren. Pp. 91 – 118.

Edinger, Eva-Christina and Reimer, Ricarda T. D., 2015: Thirdspace als hybride Lernumgebung – die Kombination materieller und virtuelle Lernräume. In: Bernhard, Christian; Kraus, Katrin; Schreiber-Barsch, Silke und Stang, Richard (Ed.), Erwachsenenbildung und Raum. Theorie und Praxis der Erwachsenenbildung, Bielefeld: Deutsches Institut für Erwachsenenbildung. Pp. 205-216.

Edinger, Eva-Christina und Reimer, Ricarda T. D., 2013: Vernetzte Räume: Vom Bücherregal zur Bibliothek 2.0. Neue Standorte und Perspektiven. 027.7 Neue Zeitschrift für Bibliothekskultur, 1: Pp. 27-36.

Fritsche, Caroline; Lingg, Eva and Reutlinger, Christian, 2010: Raumwissenschaftliche Basics – eine Einleitung. In: Reutlinger, Christian; Fritsche, Caroline und Lingg, Eva (Ed.), Raumwissenschaftliche Basics. Eine Einführung für die Soziale Arbeit, Wiesbaden: VS Verlag für Sozialwissenschaften. Pp. 11-24.

Giddens, Anthony, 1988: Die Konstitution einer Gesellschaft. Grundzüge einer Theorie. Frankfurt am Main: Campus.

Löw, Martina, 2001: Raumsoziologie. Frankfurt am Main: Suhrkamp.

Schroer, Marcus, 2007: Räume, Orte, Grenzen: Auf dem Weg zu einer Soziologie des Raums. Frankfurt am Main: Suhrkamp.

 

Creative Commons License

 

Advertisements
Dieser Beitrag wurde unter Forschung, Scientific Community abgelegt und mit , , , , , , , verschlagwortet. Setze ein Lesezeichen auf den Permalink.

Kommentar verfassen

Trage deine Daten unten ein oder klicke ein Icon um dich einzuloggen:

WordPress.com-Logo

Du kommentierst mit Deinem WordPress.com-Konto. Abmelden / Ändern )

Twitter-Bild

Du kommentierst mit Deinem Twitter-Konto. Abmelden / Ändern )

Facebook-Foto

Du kommentierst mit Deinem Facebook-Konto. Abmelden / Ändern )

Google+ Foto

Du kommentierst mit Deinem Google+-Konto. Abmelden / Ändern )

Verbinde mit %s