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Identifying time‐space constraints: a neglected element of the development discourse

Margaret Grieco (Visiting Professor at the Institute for African Development, Cornell University, Ithaca, New York, USA and Professor of Transport and Society at Edinburgh Napier University, Edinburgh, Scotland)
David Crowther (Professor of Corporate Social Responsibility at De Montfort University, Leicester, UK)

Social Responsibility Journal

ISSN: 1747-1117

Article publication date: 4 October 2011




The purpose of this article is to provide conceptual provocation in the context of collective expertise on the identification of time‐space constraints – a conceptual provocation that pushes understandings of routines and practices and the tensions that exist around schedulability and social efficiency when the collective dimension of all social action is ignored by social policy, be it in the developing or developed context.


The article examines time‐space constraints in three distinctive environments – low‐income children in urban Ghana, women's space in the North West Frontier province of Pakistan and low‐income elderly sick within the National Health system of the UK. A case study approach is taken.


The analysis draws attention to the impact of mobility constraints on dignity and social functioning in policy environments that maximise rather than address and redress such constraints.

Research implications

A time‐space constraint approach leads towards more fundamental practices of process investigation rather than a parading of apparent patterns of outcomes, and this in turn leads towards a practice of process correction. There are significant policy implications from this research.


Identifying time‐space constraints represents a woefully neglected element of the development discourse, and it is time for the correction of this neglect with detailed analysis of time‐space constraints across the range of social action. This paper addresses this.



Grieco, M. and Crowther, D. (2011), "Identifying time‐space constraints: a neglected element of the development discourse", Social Responsibility Journal, Vol. 7 No. 4, pp. 638-648.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2011, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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