Human geography without scale

Sallie A. Marston, John Paul Jones, Keith Woodward

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1215 Scopus citations


The concept of scale in human geography has been profoundly transformed over the past 20 years. And yet, despite the insights that both empirical and theoretical research on scale have generated, there is today no consensus on what is meant by the term or how it should be operationalized. In this paper we critique the dominant - hierarchical - conception of scale, arguing it presents a number of problems that cannot be overcome simply by adding on to or integrating with network theorizing. We thereby propose to eliminate scale as a concept in human geography. In its place we offer a different ontology, one that so flattens scale as to render the concept unnecessary. We conclude by addressing some of the political implications of a human geography without scale.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)416-432
Number of pages17
JournalTransactions of the Institute of British Geographers
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 2005


  • Flat ontology
  • Global-local
  • Hierarchy
  • Network
  • Scale
  • Social site

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Earth-Surface Processes


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