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How Institutions Get Materialized in Space: “Spatialized Logics” Along Jerusalem’s Western Wall

How Institutions Matter!

ISBN: 978-1-78635-430-3, eISBN: 978-1-78635-429-7

Publication date: 15 December 2016


With this paper we aimed to explore the matter of space as a physical expression of institutional logics. Following recent discussions on the role of materiality in organizational discourse, this study focused on spatial dimensions of institutional logics, namely, spatialized logics. Utilizing Lefebvre’s (1991) analytic distinction among three layers of space – conceived, lived, and perceived – we described the spatial expressions of distinct logics and the spatial relations among these logics. Drawing on a qualitative case study analysis of the world-renowned site of Jerusalem’s Western Wall, we argued that logics take form in space, logics get embodied in different layers of space, and matters of discursive commensurability and leakages also have spatial expressions. To exemplify these claims we undertook a qualitative case study analysis of Jerusalem’s Western Wall. The Wall is a 500-meter-long and two-millennia-old construction. We showed that, while in material and technical terms the Wall is a singular entity, three distinct logics occupy distinct sections along the Wall, and each of these logics reinterprets the materials and technicalities in distinct ways: religious, professional, and nationalistic. These three distinct spatialized logics get embodied in the conceived space (planning and policy of the site), perceived space (comments and opinions about the site), and lived space (behavior and social interaction at the site). Overall, by interjecting notions of materiality and space into the conversation about institutional logics, we demonstrated that in the physical layout of a space, logic cohesion, and interlogic commensurability literally become a “turf war.”




We thank Varda Wasserman, Michael Lounsbury, Vern Glaser, and Joel Gehman for their most helpful comments on earlier versions of this work.


Preminger, B. and Drori, G.S. (2016), "How Institutions Get Materialized in Space: “Spatialized Logics” Along Jerusalem’s Western Wall", How Institutions Matter! (Research in the Sociology of Organizations, Vol. 48A), Emerald Group Publishing Limited, Leeds, pp. 101-136.



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