Replacing old spatial empires of the mind: rethinking space and place through network spatiality

Jason Beech, Marianne A. Larsen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review


In this article we argue for the spatialization of research on educational transfer in the field of comparative education within a theoretical framework that focuses on networks, connections, and flows. We present what we call a "spatial empire of the mind," which is comprised of a set of taken-for-granted "truths" about space and place that have legitimized much research in the social sciences. We critique this spatial empire of the mind and present some of the core ideas associated with the spatial turn. The next part of the article reviews three possible ways that new spatial theorizing has been taken up in educational research. Here we make reference to existing educational studies that engage with new ways of rethinking space and place. The argument that we put forward is that the most promising approach, for research on educational transfer within the field of comparative education, is network spatiality. We argue that there is great value in rethinking space and place not simply as objects of study, but within a theoretical framework that focuses on networks, interconnections, and movements within and between them, as well as their productive capacity to produce and shape knowledge, identities, and human subjectivities.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)75-94
Number of pages20
JournalEuropean Education
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2014
Externally publishedYes

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