How can we analyze the institutional reactions to shocking events producing abrupt and substantial changes? To deal with this question, the paper assumes an interdisciplinary perspective by combining geography and sociology. After defining the foundational concepts of shocking events and institutions, the paper suggests that the outcomes of such events in respect of institutional frameworks should be analyzed at the territorial level as 'spaces of rupture and reconfiguration'. In the concluding section, the collection of the articles included in the Special Issue - to which this paper serves as lead essay - are presented.
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