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Objectivity, Subjectivity, and Intersubjectivity in Economic Geography: Evidence from the Internet and Blogosphere

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Prevailing attempts to reconcile paradigmatic differences in human and economic geography have tended to occur at the methodological level. Methodological concerns, however, do not adequately address the chasm that divides constructivist and positivist geographers in their understanding of the first-person subject and third-person object. Separability of the first- and third-person positions perpetuates a Cartesian world of subjects and objects. A relational economic geography coordinates subjective and objective relations intersubjectively through the second-person position. This intersubjective approach highlights knowledge construction as an interrelated phenomenon arising from the social interactions and communication of economic agents. Subjects and objects change positions while interacting, so that objective facts and judgment become subjectivized, and subjective experiences also become objectivized. We illustrate the role of interpersonal and reciprocal knowledge construction using the case example of computer vendor Dell, which recently launched a business Weblog to interact directly with its customers. Weblog discourses reveal communicative behavior directed both at seeking objective information and at locating subjective experiences, transforming objects and subjects in the context of socially situated intersubjective relationships.
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Keywords: Dell; Weblog; intersubjectivity; objectivity; subjectivity

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Department of Geography, University at Buffalo, The State University of New York, Buffalo 2: Hugh Downs School of Human Communication, Arizona State University,

Publication date: 2009-07-01

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