Henri Lefebvre and the Theory of the Production of Space

Henri Lefebvre and the Theory of the Production of Space

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Henri Lefebvre was the major theorist of space and of the urban. This is the definitive book on Lefebvre.

Shortlisted for the Deutscher Memorial Prize 2023

This book presents an encompassing, detailed and thorough overview and reconstruction of Lefebvre’s theory of space and of the urban.

Henri Lefebvre belongs to the generation of the great French intellectuals and philosophers, together with his contemporaries Michel Foucault and Jean-Paul Sartre. His theory has experienced a remarkable revival over the last two decades, and is discussed and applied today in many disciplines in humanities and social sciences, particularly in urban studies, geography, urban sociology, urban anthropology, architecture and planning. Lefebvre, together with David Harvey, is one of the leading and most read theoreticians in these fields.

This book explains in an accessible way the theoretical and epistemological context of this work in French philosophy and in the German dialectic (Hegel, Marx, and Nietzsche), and reconstructs in detail the historical development of its different elements. It also gives an overview on the receptions of Lefebvre and discusses a wide range of applications of this theory in many research fields, such as urban and regional development, urbanization, urbanity, social space, and everyday life.


  • Christian Schmid's reception and interpretation of Lefebvre's oeuvre refers strictly to the French originals and represents the first comprehensive epistemological reconstruction of the theory of the production of space. On that basis many of the previous confusions in the development of a critical spatial theory are clarified. This is where I see the highest significance of this path-breaking publication.

    Prof. Dr. Benno Werlen, Friedrich Schiller University Jena, Germany
  • Schmid's publication is a superb theoretical treatise on Lefebvre, clarifying many common misunderstandings. It is particularly timely for those urban China researchers who are keen to avoid past mistakes of randomly indigenising and appropriating Western concepts and develop locally relevant theories in fruitful conversation with critical urban research.

    Prof. Dr. Wing-Shing Tang, Hong Kong Baptist University
  • Christian Schmid provides us with a wonderfully lucid guide through the complexity and richness of Henri Lefebvre's oeuvre. Among the many contributions of the book is the powerful new light it sheds on Lefebvre's spatio-historical and dialectical theory of society. Without question, it opens up vital new possibilities for a renewal of social theory, empirical research and political practice.

    Gillian Hart