Well, first off who knew defining ‘place’ would be so complex and intricate! In Staeheli’s article she defines place in five different ways- ranging from a physical, ‘material’ location to a theoretical ongoing process. The two definitions that I thought were the most interesting were the Place as a Social Process and Place as Socially Constructed Through Time. Staeheli describes Place as a Social Process as always “becoming”. Place is always changing. I agree with this idea because just as people are always changing, their environment is always changing. The environment and the individuals living there are co existent and sometimes change each other. She goes on to say how this definition is not fully agreed on because it is ungrounded; however, she states that it is accepted by political analysts and geographers for its usefulness in understanding how political boundaries are shifted and created. The second definition , Place as socially Constructed Through Time is kind of similar to the previous definition in my opinion. She states this definition as place is always dynamic and changing. It also combines the definitions of place as context, place as a cultural and/or social location, and place as a physical location or site. this definition entwined the concepts of the interaction of geographic physical characteristics of place, how place is in webs of large relations, and the way individuals are located in the place itself. In this definition she uses the idea of layering a lot. Which is true about places, there are economic, physical, and cultural layers that define a place. She goes on to state that stability and flexibility are vital strategies for a place to be successful! This definition of place is by far my favorite. I think the layer metaphor was a perfect way to describe a constantly changing and dynamic place.
the second half of the article talks about place and political studies. Here she talks about how the difference of definitions for the word place has caused many struggles in the world! She demonstrates this in four ways- politics about place, politics in place, politics in the construction of place, and politics that deploy place. I felt like this section was a little more interesting that the first half of the article but still very dry. Her theory on organizations and their extent of their reach over boundaries was right on the money in my opinion! Where and how do you know what controls whom? An example that I thought of -super basic- was about the news back home! I live in the boundaries of Indiana but Chicago news and issues are more relevant to is than Indiana news! In her conclusion she reminds us how messy the concept of place really is and how it was caused politics, nations, and geographers many problems but has also aided them. For me, this article just confused me even more About place. I still just want to think of it as a physical location that I have a connection with. All the excess, fancy definitions just give me a headache!