Placing Lefebvre

Joseph Pierce, Deborah G. Martin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

58 Citations (Scopus)


Geographers have extensively used Lefebvre's concept of space as a social product as a framework guiding urban and political critique. Lefebvre articulates social space through a primarily ontological engagement: he describes a complex and multi-faceted object that exists in three simultaneous but distinct, co-producing registers. The famous "triad" has become canonical within Anglophone geography, but the implications of this ontology for knowing or researching the object of "(social) space" often remain implicit. This paper suggests that recent scholarship on place-making helps to address the latent epistemological challenges of operationalizing Lefebvre's triad. We trace linkages and gaps between Lefebvrian space and contemporary theorizations of relational place. Re-examining social space through the lens of relational place highlights the potential for links between epistemologically diverse recent research and twenty years of Lefebvre-inspired critique.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1279-1299
Number of pages21
Issue number5
Early online date21 May 2015
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2015


  • Lefebvre
  • Ontology
  • Relational place
  • Social space
  • Urban geography


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