Social Construal Maps to Study Territories within Home Space
Although space is ubiquitous in social life, for more than a century scholars are trying to establish a sociology of space field. In social sciences, the research of space focused on physical maps borrowed from geography, mental or cognitive maps from psychology, and, recently, deep maps from anthropology. From a socio-spatial perspective, geographical maps are representations of space (re)producing dominant politico-economic ideologies, while mental maps are representational spaces (re)producing cultural hegemony, both being disconnected from daily life spatial practices. The interconnection among the three dimensions of space might be reflected through deep maps, but they are too broadly defined and difficult to apply. Human ecologists from Chicago School theorized the patterns of urban residential zoning as a result of human territoriality. Later on, sociologists and anthropologists have been trying to persuade that space is not only a container of social interactions but also an active agent, influencing and being influenced by them. Also, the new ecologists theorized human territories as a social construct, with fluid borders, produced, contested, and negotiated in interactions. A decade ago, emotion maps were developed to study family affective territories within home, but they lacked the social construction of reality dimension. This discussion paper aims to nuance the knowledge of deep maps by arguing for introducing the concept of `social construal maps` as a research instrument derived from construal level theory from social psychology. It builds on my doctoral project, in which I used social construal maps to study the social construction of territories of couple intimacy within home space.
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