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Durham University

Research & business

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Hudson, R. (2015). Uneven development, socio-spatial polarisation and political responses. In Understanding Geographies of Polarisation and Peripheralisation: Perspectives from Central and Eastern Europe and Beyond. Lang, T., Henn, S., Sgibnev, W. & Ehrlich, K. London: Palgrave Macmillan. 25-39.

Author(s) from Durham


Although the causal mechanisms and processes are specific to different forms of societal organization, uneven development is a characteristic common to more advanced forms of societal development. Uneven development is therefore integral to the crisis-prone development of capitalist economies. From the outset, such economies were and continue to be characterized by socio-spatial uneven development and consequent polarization at various scales. The combined and uneven character of capitalist development results in both the social production of space and growing qualitative as well as quantitative differentiation between places within those socio-spatial structures. Growing economic polarization affects social conditions, while, in turn, the evolution of the economic development process is influenced by these socially produced spatial differences. As a result, national states (and now the EU) see it as necessary to seek to limit socio-spatial polarization and keep inequality within ‘acceptable’ limits.