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By Tim Owen (auth.)

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Sample text

In the concept of ‘time–space’ a core assumption is that material which travels in time must also travel spatially, and that spatial dissemination necessarily has a temporal dimension. Cohen (1989: 77) analyses Giddens’s structuration theory, observing: [I]f social patterns are embedded in the reality of social activity, then a concern for time and space becomes difficult to avoid. Social conduct, after all, is always situated in specific settings, and it takes time to engage even in the most fleeting practices, let alone sustained sequences and series of interaction.

Social conditions are viewed as being contingently produced and reproduced as an effect of the self-reproducing tendency of social systems and networks, and 36 Criminological Theory in part as the consequences of actors’ decisions and actions. As Clegg (1989: 17) indicates, because the social fabric is not structurally predetermined it is, at least, potentially indeterminate and variable. In the concept of ‘time–space’ a core assumption is that material which travels in time must also travel spatially, and that spatial dissemination necessarily has a temporal dimension.

If we draw upon critique of the four ‘cardinal sins’ of the Transitions in Criminological and Social Theory 41 author’s original framework, employing a flexible social ontology, we clearly see that agency is defined in terms of an explicitly anti-reificationist and minimal concept of actor; social structure is defined, in similarly ‘minimal’ fashion, as ‘social conditions’ (or the ‘conditions-ofaction’); and micro-macro refer to the units and scale of analyses concerned with the investigation of varying temporal and spatial extensions of the social.

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