The space-times of decision making

D. McCormack, T. Schwanen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


By way of an extended introduction to a theme issue on the space – times of decision making, this paper pursues two objectives. We first review some of the ways in which geographers—and especially economic geographers—have examined decision making over the past decades, showing that previous engagements with the decision are informed primarily by thinking from economics, psychology, and certain strands of sociology. Drawing on a wider range of intellectual resources, we then outline eight propositions that might guide future research by geographers and others into the space – times of decision making. These propositions help us to move beyond the idea that the decision is a singular moment abstracted from the context within which it takes place and undertaken by a discrete actor or set of actors. Instead the decision is understood as a differentiated, affectively registered, transformative, and ongoing actualisation of potential against a horizon of undecidability in which past, present, and future fold together in complex ways. A number of research questions follow from the outlined propositions: these pertain to the sites and techniques of decision making, its relationships to the governing of life, and our own decision-making practices as academics
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2801-2818
Number of pages18
JournalEnvironment and Planning A
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - 2011


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