On 15 October 2015, Tiit Remm will defend his doctoral thesis „Sociocultural Space: Spatial Modelling and the Sociocultural World“ in the Council of the Institute of Philosophy and Semiotics
Supervisor: Anti Randviir, University of Tartu
Opponents: Risto Kalevi Heiskala (University of Tampere) and Hannes Palang (Tallinn University)
Social and cultural theories involve organising the knowledge and its representation as a basic task in their strive for explaining the sociocultural world. It is a domain of models and metalanguages where spatial models and metalanguage have a substantial role.
Social space, cultural space, field, social distance and mobility, boundary – these and other spatial expressions are tools for organising social and cultural theoretical knowledge. Selected notions form coherent clusters which together still remain characterised by multitude of ideas of spatiality and respective kinds of structures.
Contextualising notions in the framework of spatial modelling as a cognitive process enables further clarification of this variety. It is essential that spatiality is first of all an organisation of knowledge. It is not directly derived from physical, material or geographical space but from the ability to recognise the co-existence of objects of cognition or their potentialities as the spatial relation. From this kind of simple recognised relations various spatial complexes or spaces are formed – as abstract ideas or tangible articulations. Rather different spatial descriptive means are thus related to the same basis and are interlinked at the multi-layered field of spatial cognition.
Through the particular perspective of semiotics it is possible to uncover the relations between metaleval abstract spatial models and object-level spatiality from the aspect of both the symbolic space of the cultural world-view and the spatiality of practices. In my analysis I focus on spatial terminology in works by three authors, Pierre Bourdieu, Juri Lotman and Pitirim Sorokin. I show that due to the variety implied in spatial terminology different applications of spatial metalanguage to a common object domain enable modelling the variety of sociocultural world and its functioning. It is also outlined how at first sight unbiased spatial notions can turn the understanding of the object to be spatial. The exact organisation and level of this spatiality can again be different. Relations between metaleval abstract spatial models and object-level spatiality from the aspect of both the symbolic space of the cultural world-view and the spatiality of practices.