Christian Schmid: Stadt, Raum und Gesellschaft. Henri Lefebvre und die Theorie der Produktion des Raumes. Stuttgart 2005 (Sozialgeographische Bibliothek 1). 344 S.

Based on many years of studying Henri Lefebvre's work, CHRISTIAN SCHMID submits a book that reproduces Lefebvre's complex and abstract ideas in a concise and comprehensible way. His main target is to present these as a coherent and applicable theory that continuously refers to central thoughts concerning spatiotemporal transformations of society.

Therein, SCHMID identifies the main concepts of "space" and "city" to describe the predominant societal processes of urbanisation and globalisation. He seeks to reconstruct, analyse and criticise Lefebvre's approaches in order to provide a framework for advanced spatial and societal analyses. This framework consists of the complex conception of socially produced space, analytically divided into the dimensions of the perceived, conceived and lived. Following Lefebvre, this sociospatial trialectic has to be drawn upon historical exploration at the beginning of any analysis of space and society.
Due to SCHMID's purpose to contextualise Lefebvre's ideas epistemologically and historically he begins his overall sound and well structured work with an explanation of central terms, continues with a historical embedding, consequently describes the theory of the production of space and finally depicts space, time and society as the analytical approach. With the procedure to reconstruct Lefebvre's work SCHMID succeeds in clarifying and arranging central ideas, but he has to accept many redundancies when explaining them. Even then the core of some concepts and particularly linkages between them remain vague. SCHMID repeatedly heralds to explain specific circumstances and their meaning, but often doesn't get there. For example, it remains unclear what the historical approach should include - if it contains the analysis of the triad from agrarian to industrial to urban space or from absolute to abstract to differential space - or both? Particularly the many mutually influencing triads stay in parallel. An elaborated diagram of the main concepts would be desirable, especially if the reconstruction should provide an analytical framework. Unfortunately, the latter remains absent and figures are rare and very simple.
Consequently, SCHMID doesn't keep the promise to outline a blueprint for analytical projects. This results basically from tracking down Lefebvre's theoretical approaches, while a feasible scheme would require further interpretations and own linkages. Moreover, he focuses on theory and neglects existing attempts to work with Lefebvre's perspective empirically and practically. Nonetheless, the book is an important step forward for the German speaking social and spatial sciences. It is a useful synopsis of Lefebvre's sophisticated thoughts. All in all, it gives a detailed, contextualised and comprehensive introduction to Lefebvre's ideas that may initialise valuable advancements on comprehensive theoretical and practical analyses of city, space and society.
Autor: Anne Vogelpohl

Quelle: Erdkunde, 61. Jahrgang, 2007, Heft 3, S. 302-303