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Investigaciones geográficas

versión On-line ISSN 2448-7279versión impresa ISSN 0188-4611


SEPULVEDA SEPULVEDA, Ulises Mario. Recovering the spatiality of subject: qualitative spatial analysis methodologies, a model of topes, landscapes and technologies. Invest. Geog [online]. 2018, n.96. ISSN 2448-7279.

Qualitative geographic designs and their analytical models have been the subject of debate due to the lack of clarity when exposing the different methodological approaches used by researchers, and when detailing the analytical modalities to yield qualitative results. Thus, within the context of qualitative methodologies in geography, there is the need to develop approaches that provide guidance and orientation to students and researchers working in this field for the application of methods that will enable to develop study subjects from the relationship between subjectivity and space.

The present work describes a qualitative/spatial methodological tool for the study of the spatial experience by students of the Metropolitan Region (Chile), as well as the information analysis model that was implemented. In order to clarify the relationship between experience and space, this article presents and explains a methodological model that allows understanding a way to carry out this approach inspired by Grounded Theory. All the elements related to the methodological model are explained, including sample selection, data production and information analysis, all of which can be used to visualize the links between all the elements analyzed to achieve results.

The research described here was originally developed as part of a doctoral thesis that intended to understand the technologies of the self (Foucault, 1990) that students develop through the college and non-college spaces. The study premise is that students are more than marks and exams, as there are experiences available that enable the construction of technologies of the self. These experiences lie within the specific relationship that students establish with the spaces transited.

For sample selection, the study opted to seek the greatest diversity of environments, considering a variety of types of educational facilities in the Metropolitan Region of Santiago de Chile, based on criteria not only economic but also related to the formative orientation of educational projects. In a second phase, the directors of the participating facilities were asked to select two students in the last years of their college degree, one who was representative of college ideals and the other its antithesis. This selection approach of sampling extreme cases (Patton, 2002) would produce two cases with detailed information.

The selected cases were used to make a topological work approximation to data production (topological interview), as well as a codification process based on places, thus ensuring an approximation to the experiences of subjects from a spatial perspective. Specifically, the topological interview emphasizes the relationship that students, based on their descriptions built with the spaces transited, in either concrete or symbolic terms. This spatial imperative was enriched with inquiries, types of creations made, timings, utopias or future scenarios, stories, and relevant players, among others. Then, once students were interviewed, two analytical approaches were used to produce results, the first based on an open coding, and the second in an axial coding, both based on Ground Theory (Strauss & Corbin, 2002).

This article reports the results obtained through the approach described above, with the respective examples. The first type of results is linked to the reconstruction of internalization landscapes, which is initially built from topes and polytopes based on spatial experiences, which correspond to symbolic spaces and materials that are the foundations for the development of the subsequent landscapes linked to emotions, subjects, roles and statements. These initial results lead to a type of findings that set the basis for an analytical model of subjectivity that includes subjects and experiences from the relationship between topes, polytopes and landscapes.

This emerging model summarizes the second type of results, which corresponds to technologies of the self as developed by the students. These technologies are explained with the model developed through a specific example of mutilation technologies and standardized results, which enables to show, for example, how students who are representative of their college facilities gradually eliminate spatial experiences, such as those developed with friends. This approach could explain the production of themselves by students, which should be analyzed in order to assess whether the educational opportunities offered by college spaces match those demanded by societies for the formation of citizens.

Palabras llave : spatial experience; polytopes; internalization landscapes; qualitative design; technologies of the self.

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