Rethinking the Scale —Trans- and Inter-Disciplinary Perspectives

Guest Editor
Yilver Mosquera Vallejo
Instituto de Geografía
Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile

Scale has been one of the most controversial issues in the last three decades in geographic scholarship. The notion that dictates this is a sociocultural, fluid, and highly contingent construct has become a constant. Analytic distinctions for the study of the different issues linked to the theory of scale have adopted a dualist approach: that is, ontological and epistemological. In the first, scales match a geographic structure built within the framework of social relations that turn them into real entities. In the second one, the epistemological approach, scale analysis and interpretation is read as a discursive spatial language. Thereby, scales enact conceptions anchored on imaginaries deployed by human beings to contextualize and understand reality. This would entail to understand that scales are not locations, situations, or areas by themselves, but interpretative schemes to decipher and describe realities.

Considering those distinctions, several authors in the field of human geography (Neil Smith, Andrew Herod, Sallie Marston, Paul Adams, Thomas Perreault, among others) have turned to rethinking issues (scale policies, flat ontology, global and local, scale jumps, social movements, and so on) from different theoretical approaches (feminism, Marxism, post-structuralism, actor-network theory, etc.), different ways to conceptualize scalar processes, as it acknowledges that scale takes us to the various scopes where human being’s actions are carried out, that is, whether local or global. Any decision that can be made by a subject at a given time can scale up and produce a substantial transformation in social, cultural, political, and economic structures in a territory. Nonetheless, the forms, mechanisms, actions, relations, and networks resulting from that rescaling of decisions is an issue still in the making in the field of social science. In the face of this, we encounter a debate that has begun to develop in the global North from the 1990s, while in Latin America, we need yet to realize those processes. While it is true that scale shows an important use across the global North, and that several authors have re-thought scale following what they have observed in the global South, it is timely to acknowledge this concept is influenced by historic, social, spatial, economic processes that are, in different scopes, connected and/or disconnected to the dynamics occurring in the global North, to a greater or a lesser extent.

Scale is under ongoing reconfiguration and reinvention. That is why this Tabula Rasa special issue aims at presenting a trans- and inter- disciplinary approach to scale, focused on contributions from social sciences that articulate scale to post-colonial, feminist, queer theories, decolonial options, post-structuralism, cultural studies, and Afro-Colombian studies. In tandem with this, we look forward to receiving submissions dealing with various approaches to scale, resulting from different spatial and historic experiences, so that they help to understand imaginaries and spatial practices, social movements in the global South and North, showing how those enter into dialogue, LGTBIQ movements, communication media, Black/Raizal/Afro-Colombian populations, and geopolitics of knowledge.

For further information or to submit your complete manuscript, including the abstract (in English or Spanish), please contact Yilver Mosquera Vallejo (

Submission deadline: until October 31, 2020

Manuscripts must be previously unpublished, and be prepared in compliance with the journal’s policies:

Submit manuscripts to:
Yilver Mosquera Vallejo, Guest Editor Tabula Rasa Journal
Institute of Geography
Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile /

All documentation