Lefebvre and Space

Readings Lefebvre


Lefebvre and his theory of production of space

Transcript of Lefebvre and Space

Page 1: Lefebvre and Space


Page 2: Lefebvre and Space

04/11/2023 11:38 PM


The socio-spatial dialectic

Disagreement on the role of spatial structural forces in modern capitalist society.

Harvey and Castells recognized his contribution in dealing with organization of space as material product.

But does it occupy a very central position? Certain boundaries beyond which it does not have

any relevance. Marxists failed to appreciate the essential dialectical

relation between social and spatial relationships. Spatial analogy to traditionally defined class relations

and conditions of class conflict and structural transformation.

Social and Spatial relations arise from same mode of production and are also dialectically inseparable.

Vertical and Horizontal dimensions of mode of production are suggested in the writings of Marx and Engels.

Long lack of recognition leads to skepticism about role of spatial forces.

Page 3: Lefebvre and Space

04/11/2023 11:38 PM

3The socio-spatial dialectic

Difference between space as a physical object and created space of social organization.

Physical space is organized and interpreted as a product of social translation, transformation and experience.

This space is a construct comparable to other social constructs, arising from application of human labor.

Then, the relationship between created organized space and other structures within a given mode of production becomes important.

This led to three arguments. Not a superstructure but social and spatial relations are

dialectically inter-reactive, interdependent, social relations of production are both space forming and space dependent.

Rural v/s Urban, disparities between nations and regions and the revolutionary potential within ‘horizontal’ structure.

Resistance to this thought formed another school.

Page 4: Lefebvre and Space

04/11/2023 11:38 PM

4The socio-spatial dialectic

Centrality of traditional class analysis and neo-Marxist urban and regional analysis is analytically muddled.

Third approach lay between the two groups. Accepted the centrality of class relations, but weakly agreed

to the dialectic of socio-spatial relations. Castells presented space as a material product emerging

dialectically from interaction of culture and nature. He gave aspatial social roles of production a determinant role.

This was exactly what Lefebvre was trying to mend. Marxists argued that spatial structures are present in classic

works of Marx and Engels, but have been neglected. Little attention was paid as to why this happened.

Page 5: Lefebvre and Space

04/11/2023 11:38 PM

5The socio-spatial dialectic

• Late publication of Grundrisse which contained significant spatial analysis. Spatial limitation of capitalism was neglected since it was assumed that social revolution will come before the spatial limit is hit, and only the imperialist theories were recognized.

• The process of geographically uneven development was recognized and given due importance by neo-Marxist figures like Samir Amin, Emmanuel Wallerstein and others.

• Anti spatial traditions in western Marxism which developed to negate the Hegelian idea of history being directed by territorial entities. Space was merely seen as a product of economic process generated by human labor, which can be controlled.

• Increased role of space creation as compared to labor exploitation of Marx’s time.

Page 6: Lefebvre and Space

04/11/2023 11:38 PM

6The socio-spatial dialectic

• Gramsci was the first to realize the spatial dialectic in his writings. He wrote about the role of space in exploitation of working class in their residence and their workplace.

• Identifying that a diverse set of movements are indeed fighting for a similar purpose and unifying them.

• Lefebvre was much more explicit than Gramsci in his writings.

• How capitalism has survived the competitive industrial form of marx's time to advanced state managed oligopolistic industrial capitalism.

• Relates this to reproduction of social relations, as system extends its existence by maintaining its defining structures.

Page 7: Lefebvre and Space

04/11/2023 11:38 PM

7The socio-spatial dialectic

• Three levels of reproduction: bio-physiological reproduction, reproduction of labor power and means of production and social relations of production.

• Organization of space is related with reproduction of dominant system of social relations, which maintains survival of capitalism.

• Final crisis will come only when this reproduction ceases. • Therefore the class struggle should incorporate

production of space.

Page 8: Lefebvre and Space

04/11/2023 11:38 PM


Portions from ‘Production of Space’

• Spatial Practice of a society is revealed by how it utilizes that space.

• Representations of space: Conceptualized space as defined by technocrats.

• Representations of Space a space which is directly lived through its associated symbols and images.

• Writes against the product life cycle. • Production Complex : A spatial cluster of specialized,

interrelated economic activities bound together by the creation and exploitation of external economies.

Page 9: Lefebvre and Space

04/11/2023 11:38 PM


Portions from ‘Production of Space

• Production of Nature: Nature is socially produced and is an artifact of capitalism in the contemporary world.

• Production of Space: Perceived, Conceived and Lived. • The third is Space of Representation.

Page 10: Lefebvre and Space

04/11/2023 11:38 PM

10Portions from ‘Production of Space

Page 11: Lefebvre and Space

04/11/2023 11:38 PM

11Portions from ‘Production of Space

Page 12: Lefebvre and Space

04/11/2023 11:38 PM


• Thank you!