Appreciating the situation 
Dewey’s pragmatism and its implications for the spatialisation of social science 
in The power of pragmatism
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Pragmatism as a philosophy has emphasised the significance of process, temporality and historicity in human organisms’ transactions with their environment. This chapter explores the significance of spatiality for human–environment transactions. This is closely associated with John Dewey’s idea of ‘situation’ as capturing both immediate experience and more enduring and extensive spatial/temporal resources. Through a pragmatist idea of spatiality, as well as temporality, we might start to bring together the more vitalist pragmatism concerned with an active environment of humans, non-human organisms and objects in assemblages, and the more rationalist pragmatism that emphasises the distinctiveness of human practices (especially in language use). The chapter concludes with some illustrations from Chicago ethnography and Hull House social activism to suggest the significance of this idea of time, space and situation in problem solving, including problem solving in social science.

The power of pragmatism

Knowledge production and social inquiry

Editors: Jane Wills and Robert W. Lake


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