Terminology, that helps to organise research issues, is a significant component of each scientific discipline. In socio-economic geography, such expressions include concepts of a region, a city, or a social space. They are not disjunctive ideas – for example, we find a concept of an urban region where a social space can refer to a city, or a region, and at the same time regional, urban and social research can investigate these same areas. Concepts may also illustrate a specific model of an explanation in science, a particular stage of methodological development of the discipline, or a vision of the world. Bearing in mind the complexity of methodological issues, which is only briefly mentioned here, as well as a multiplicity of definitions of terminological concepts (region, city, social space), the author’s intention was to compare the premises of occurrence of the concepts and their consequences for the development of socio-economic geography. The increases in complexity of socio-economic changes as an effect of the overlapping processes of social modernization, restructuring of economic space, and suburbanization were itemised. The main research tool in this case is the deductive reasoning procedure leading to the generalization of the output of regional and urban research, as well as existing analyses of social space. The rationale for investigating the problem arose from the significance of the above-mentioned research, both the ones carried out during the previous stages of development of socio-economic geography as well as contemporary research trends. The crucial aspect here is the increase in complexity of these processes, and the spatial and functional structures leading to the transition from simple post-modernity to a risk society. Therefore, application of regional, urban and social research is also important, especially in the context of the process of depopulation, and “shrinkage” of cities and regions. It affects the possibilities of creating urban or regional policy. The rationale for investigating the problem also results from periodic necessity to synthesize the research on basic terminological issues, especially in the periods when changes of socio-economic and spatial conditions occur, and affect transformation of the existing set of the basic concepts.
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