Identifications of Individual. Territorial Communities and Social Space: an Attempt of Conceptualisation

Mihaylov V.T.

Cand. Sci. (Geograph.), Assist. Prof. University of Silesia in Katowice, Poland.

Runge J.

Dr. Sci. (Geograph.), Prof. University of Silesia in Katowice, Poland

DOI: 10.31857/S013216250003747-4
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For citation:

Mihaylov V.T., Runge J. Identifications of Individual. Territorial Communities and Social Space: an Attempt of Conceptualisation. Sotsiologicheskie issledovaniya [Sociological Studies]. 2019. No 1. P. 52-62


Each individual or human collective determines their place in the world taking into account geospatial units of different nature (administrative-territorial, ethno-territorial, geopolitical, civilisational, etc.) and on the various geographical scales (local, regional, national, subnational, and global). In the scientific research on the relations between individuals and social groups with geographical space, attention is paid to comprehension of the connections between human consciousness, perception and identification. The authors attempt to conceptualize this issue, emphasizing differences in the interpretation of identity in a spatial context. Significant nuances, at the individual and socio-territorial level, in discrepancies between consciousness, identification, identity and power are underlined. At the supranational level, three possible variants of relations are discussed. The first refers to the construction of a regional association based on the geographical proximity of participating subjects. It has pluralistic nature. In such cases, as European Union, preservation of national identity and cultural traditions are highlighted. In the second case, ethno-territorial groups realize their common identity (as Balkan people and countries), but they do not aspire to deepen cooperation and regional integration. It is possible to distinguish the third type – a supra-national community, projected and proclaimed by one force with post-imperial ambitions. This is the case of Turkish Neo-Ottomanism. In addition to theoretical conceptualization of the above mentioned issues, relevant examples from the post-socialist states of Central, Eastern and South-Eastern Europe are discussed. The practical significance of territorial identity in its spatial aspect, including relations of ethnic and national identity with the territory, is also stressed.

territorial identity; territorial consciousness; territorial identification; spatial scale of identification


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