Chapter 8: Geographical proximity questioned
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In the field of proximity studies, an approach has prevailed that narrowly defines geographical proximity, clearly separating the geographical aspects from the relational dimensions. This choice hinders a dialogue with human geography that in the last decades has been deeply committed to studying the relational dynamics unfolding in space. This chapter examines the different conceptions of space and distance that have evolved from geographical thought. The measurement and representation of different types of distance are varied and distinct. Following this theoretical line, it is possible to identify three spatial proximities (absolute, relative and relational) that can be useful while analysing concrete territorial results. The varying conditions, which draw on different situations that geographers can observe and study on the ground, are driven by the presence or absence of the three categories of spatial proximity. In particular, the spatial proximities play a significant role in the construction and identification of places in a globalised world. By implementing this approach to the geographical aspects of proximity relations, a new alliance is formed between human geography and proximity studies, reintegrating the issue of proximity back to areas such as social geography, political geography, and historical geography.

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