Anthropogenic climate change has been presented as the archetypal global problem, identified by the slow work of assembling a global knowledge infrastructure, and demanding a concertedly global political response. But this ‘global’ knowledge has distinctive geographies, shaped by histories of exploration and colonialism, by diverse epistemic and material cultures of knowledge-making, and by the often messy processes of linking scientific knowledge to decision-making within different polities. We suggest that understanding of the knowledge politics of climate change may benefit from engagement with literature on the geographies of science. We review work from across the social sciences which resonates with geographers’ interests in the spatialities of scientific knowledge, to build a picture of what we call the epistemic geographies of climate change. Moving from the field site and the computer model to the conference room and international political negotiations, we examine the spatialities of the interactional co-production of knowledge and social order. In so doing, we aim to proffer a new approach to the intersections of space, knowledge and power which can enrich geography’s engagements with the politics of a changing climate.
Financialization is now a key area of research within Geography. Development geographers have made significant (although arguably under-recognized) contributions, notably in relation to household and ‘everyday’ financialization, as well as recent work on the financialization of nature, land, infrastructure, health and energy in the Global South. In this progress report, I argue that donors are currently seeking to accelerate and deepen financialization in the name of ‘development’. Foreign aid is being used to de-risk investment, ‘escort’ capital to ‘frontier’ markets, and carry out the mundane work of transforming objects into assets available to speculative capital flows. Financialization both permeates and goes beyond the more commonly referenced private sector-led development. Donors are pursuing these strategies and programmes with little or no reference to the threats posed by greater financialization.
Within economic geography there has been a growing body of work that straddles the disciplinary boundaries of management studies and international business (IB) scholarship. Whilst this growing cross-disciplinary proximity may be related to increasing numbers of economic geographers being located in business and management schools, this report argues that it also corresponds to a growing fruitful and productive cross-disciplinary interest from both management studies and international business. It contends that there is growing epistemological and theoretical common ground between both these disciplines and economic geography which reflects a shift towards spatial thinking being increasingly evident in the empirical and conceptual concerns of management and IB scholars. The report reviews two major elements to this intersection within the recent economic geographical literature – what might loosely be termed the ‘new management geography’ and a broad range of work that brings together the thinking of economic geographers and IB scholarship concerned within firm internationalization.
This article sets out a new conceptual framework for investigating how city regionalism is constituted as a variegated set of geopolitical processes operating within and beyond the national state. Our approach highlights: (1) the different forms of territorial politics through which city regionalism is conjoined with broader visions of the national state; (2) the material and territorial arrangements which support such a conjuncture; and (3) the political actors enabling city regionalism and the national state to come together within a geopolitical frame of reference.
Responding to calls for geographers to re-engage value theory in examining the political economy of nature, this article questions the capacity of such theory to grasp nature’s growing representation, valuation and exchange through financial instruments ranging from catastrophe bonds to carbon credits and from green bonds to index insurance. Drawing on and extending recent debates in political economy, it submits that understanding the contemporary nexus of climate change and financial innovation requires incorporating risk into value theory – it requires, that is, ‘risking’ value theory. Parsing the literature on climate finance, the article demonstrates how such risking might be achieved.
Feminist thought challenges essentialist and normative categorizations of ‘work’. Therefore, feminism provides a critical lens on ‘working space’ as a theoretical and empirical focus for digital geographies. Digital technologies extend and intensify working activity, rendering the boundaries of the workplace emergent. Such emergence heightens the ambivalence of working experience: the possibilities for affirmation and/or negation through work. A digital geography is put forward through feminist theorizations of the ambivalence of intimacy. The emergent properties of working with digital technologies create space through the intimacies of postwork places where bodies and machines feel the possibilities of being ‘at’ work.
Despite the popular impression of prisons and other carceral spaces as disconnected from broader social systems, they are traversed by various circulations that reach within and beyond their boundaries. This article opens a new analytical window onto this reality, developing the concept of ‘circuits’ to critically enquire into the carceral. Drawing inspiration from Harvey (1982; 1985), the article makes circuits do fresh work, teasing apart the emerging carceral landscape to provide a new critical epistemology for carceral geographies. In so doing, a meta-institutional agenda for critical carceral geography is derived, and possible ways to short-circuit carceral systems are revealed.
In this article we seek to encourage geographers to consider the discursive dimensions of urbanization as a locus for activist inquiry into the right to the city. Drawing from literatures on urban branding and critical toponymy, we implicate the entrepreneurial phenomenon of neighbourhood branding as a primary enabler of urban gentrification and dispossession. Placing the discursive elision of local history, identity, and aspirations into dialectical relation to material infringements upon inhabitants’ collective rights, we suggest how both branding and activist counter-branding tactics may be fruitful sites for future empirical research on the right to the city.
The entrepreneurial city is no longer (only) a growth machine: recession and austerity, new forms of financialization, and diverse experiments in urban policy have diluted local elites’ focus on growth. But entrepreneurial urban governance remains remarkably resilient despite its inability to deliver growth. Indeed, in many cities entrepreneurial tactics – e.g. municipal speculation, place branding, and inter-urban competition – are simply standard operating procedure. Recent scholarship on entrepreneurial urban governance demonstrates a need for re-theorizing the assumed interdependence between entrepreneurial practices and growth politics. This calls into question the nature of the ‘entrepreneurs’ of the entrepreneurial city, that is, the nature of municipal states. They increasingly (i) apply entrepreneurial practices to multiple governance agendas in parallel to growth, (ii) evaluate their portfolios in both speculative and more broadly experimental ways, and (iii) challenge top-down narratives about inter-urban competition through inter-urban diplomacy. Each of these characteristics shows the disruptive potential of interventionist forms of municipal statecraft.
Geographers have been at the forefront of interrogating the changes made possible by the ubiquity of computing and the phenomenon of ‘big data’ in an emerging field known as ‘critical data studies’. In this article, I argue that engagement with the proliferation of computing infrastructures that make these new developments possible in the first place allows critical data studies to gain important historical-geographical perspective, connect to new manifestations of uneven development, and better grasp the role of non-human actors within emerging socio-technical relations. This expanded empirical framing opens up new theoretical implications and opportunities for public engagement with critical infrastructure.
The relationship between value and nature has become central to critical resource geography (and other nature-society geography). While research demonstrates the problems with efforts to extend capitalist monetary value to ecosystem services or externalities, few scholars have anchored their critiques in their own theory of value. This report reviews this bourgeoning research through a theory of value anchored in Marxian political economy. Drawing from a few basic postulates, I attempt to fill some gaps and clear up some ambiguities in this research. First, I examine research on environmental valuations schemes (e.g. pricing externalities, or payments for ecosystem services). Marx’s value theory (rooted in abstract labor) can help us to explain why these projects seem so destined for failure. Second, I examine research into how resources and value flow through commodity chains or global production networks. Marx’s focus on labor and abstraction can help us to better understand the violence within these chains toward humans and nonhumans alike. Third, I examine research into the financialization of environmental goods in services. I suggest Marx’s value-theoretical approach to the ‘totality’ of capitalist social relations can better help us to theorize financial capital’s contradictory relationship to value production in the realm of production. I conclude by suggesting a unified theory of value can yield a more radical critique of the diverse failures of capitalism in dealing with our current ecological crisis.
This report is organized around a set of topics that have dominated much of the recent literature in health geography: the importance of neighbourhoods, green spaces/blue spaces, density, walkability, and vulnerable populations. These topics are discussed in terms of the need to shift to new ideas and to avoid creating new determinisms in health geography. A second critical argument to the report is that health geographers also need to focus more of their efforts on those who are truly in need and have the fewest resources to effect change to their health and their lives.
This first report on Geographies of Migration primarily centers on refugees. I first summarize some of the debates about categories scholars use to describe people who move across space. The article then discusses three prominent themes in geographic research on refugees, turning first to the securitization of migration, its spatial and territorial practices of migration management, and the reworking of borders. Next, I highlight research on the warehousing of refugees in camps and cities, and the protracted uncertainty these practices create. The third major strand of scholarship I discuss challenges ‘the refugee condition’ that deems refugees passive victims in need of intervention and focuses instead on refugees’ everyday and embodied experiences of displacement, their subjectivities and agency.
Why does critical political geography struggle to address, and research, peace? Recent efforts in geography do seek positive accounts of peace, but we argue that critical geographies remain problematically reliant on social agonism. Dominant theoretical lenses used to address critical politics reproduce dissension as the causal grammar of critical sociality and the constitutive effect of difference. We seek an alternative account of peace and sociality. The first half of the paper diagnoses how prevailing conceptual approaches to critique privilege agonism. The second half advances a positive account of peace, without losing the critical tenor of post-foundationalist or relational political insights.
Debates on the postsecular have been paralleled by a growing body of work on sacred space. Most of this work has generally focused on its ‘making’ and on the ‘unofficially sacred’. Transformations of extant official sites of worship have largely remained out of such debates despite increasing public attention and a burgeoning literature in the humanities. In bringing these processes into geographers’ agendas, this article suggests a shift in focus from postsecular narratives to ‘infrasecular’ geographies, that is, to a spatial paradigm able to capture the complexity and materialities of multi-layered coexistences. Infrasecular geographies are characterized by the contemporaneous co-habitation and competition between multiple forms of belief and non-belief, as well as by hidden layers of collective religious subconsciousness which underpin contemporary Western European societies. Taken collectively, processes of desacralization, desecration and resacralization constitute and express infrasecular geographies. They are tangible manifestations of social and cultural transformations and of transformed attitudes towards sacred space and the sacred itself.
Various identified ‘turns’ in human geography, such as relational, non-representational, material and performative, urge and enable geographers to rethink complex people-nature relationships as contingent and layered processes, and the world as projects of human and more-than-human inhabitation. This shift challenges researchers to do geography differently, or in other words, invites alterations in thinking and methods. This progress report focuses on how qualitative researchers in human geography are grappling with the challenge of more-than-human research methodologies. We chart analyses of more-than-human worlds that are reliant on conventional methodological approaches, as well as more innovative methodological approaches which extend more-than-human understandings whilst recognizing their own limits. The report finally considers a small but growing body of work that takes an additional methodological step in developing human–more-than-human collaborative research relationships that are actively engaging with power relationships by reconsidering the author-ity of their research. We conclude that although the more-than-human ‘turn’ is being thoroughly debated and engaged with in theory, the implications of this have not carried through to the same extent in terms of praxis.
This paper propounds a practised understanding of transport provision. While transport geography tends to focus on the effects of planning, mobilities studies view transport provision as framing backdrops of mobile lives. Neither has fully addressed how transport provision is a derivative of mundane practices that contingently lay transport’s structural foundations. This paper argues that delineating these practices imputes a much-needed ‘livingness’ to transport’s formal production and allows for more congruous conversations between transport provision and use. Through a three-part examination, I foreground what potentially goes on during transport’s planning and operations, and highlight the contingencies of these less-than-unitary processes.
Different intellectual strands within political ecology have analyzed changing forms of property institutions and the commons in particular. While engaging these topics from a number of different perspectives, they share common understandings of property rights as relational, contested, and shaped by broader political economies. What is less acknowledged is that political ecologists have, in different ways, studied the hybrid and mixed forms of property institutions that are often concealed or ignored in the tripartite division of private, common, and national properties that dominates institutionalist literatures. These theoretical commitments and research experiences are well-suited for understanding the proliferation of hybrid property institutions associated with neoliberal forms of governance. By briefly reviewing their synergies, this report seeks to bring these diverse strands in conversation. It concludes by highlighting useful avenues of political ecological research and practice that are raised by commoning scholarship and activism.
Geography is in the midst of a digital turn. This turn is reflected in both geographic scholarship and praxis across sub-disciplines. We advance a threefold categorization of the intensifying relationship between geography and the digital, documenting geographies produced through, produced by, and of the digital. Instead of promoting a single theoretical framework for making sense of the digital or proclaiming the advent of a separate field of ‘digital geography’, we conclude by suggesting conceptual, methodological and empirical questions and possible paths forward for the ‘digital turn’ across geography’s many sub-disciplines.
As a field of research or possible sub-discipline, sports geography has not realized its full potential. This paper summarizes some of the main subjects investigated and approaches taken to date, then using this as a launching point, describes a particular way forward for research. It is argued that a better engagement with, and showing of, the physicality, energy and feeling of sport might be achieved through employing non-representational theory, itself involving an emphasis on exposing the immediate and moving in life, including the less-than-fully conscious practices, performances and sensations involved. In particular, these arguments are framed by discussions of some of the fundamental qualities of ‘movement-space’ that might be more clearly animated in future scholarship – specifically rhythm, momentum, vitality, infectiousness, imminence and encounter – and are supported by highlighting some pathbreaking sports geographies that have already begun to convey them. It is argued that, whilst these qualities are critical to sport in their own right, importantly they interplay with social, political and economic processes in sport that geographers already have a modest record of engaging with.
The architecture of cloud computing is becoming ever more closely intertwined with geopolitics – from the sharing of intelligence data, to border controls, immigration decisions, and drone strikes. Developing an analogy with the cloud chamber of early twentieth century particle physics, this paper explores the geography of the cloud in cloud computing. It addresses the geographical character of cloud computing across two distinct paradigms. The first, ‘Cloud I’ or a geography of cloud forms, is concerned with the identification and spatial location of data centres where the cloud is thought to materialize. Here the cloud is understood within a particular history of observation, one where the apparently abstract and obscure world can be brought into vision and rendered intelligible. In the second variant, ‘Cloud II’ or the geography of a cloud analytic, the cloud is a bundle of experimental algorithmic techniques acting upon the threshold of perception itself. Like the cloud chamber of the twentieth century, contemporary cloud computing is concerned with rendering perceptible and actionable that which would otherwise be beyond the threshold of human observation. The paper proposes three elements of correlative cloud reasoning, suggesting their significance for our geopolitical present: condensing traces; discovering patterns; and archiving the future.
This paper argues for expanded listening in geography. Expanded listening addresses how bodies of all kinds, human and more-than-human, respond to sound. We show how listening can contribute to research on a wide range of topics, beyond enquiry where sound itself is the primary substantive interest. This is demonstrated through close discussion of what an amplified sonic sensibility can bring to three areas of contemporary geographical interest: geographies of landscape, of affect, and of geotechnologies.
In this paper we develop linkages between non-representational theory and emerging work by disability scholars in geography. We argue that non-representational thinking has the potential to advance our understanding of the complex and emergent geographies of dis/ability. We first outline key dimensions of non-representational thinking within geography. We then explore how this perspective has begun to, and might further inform, geographical scholarship on disability. Next, we extend our thinking to consider how NRT might provide the basis for a critical geography of the ‘able-body’. We conclude by reflecting on the conceptual, political, methodological and empirical implications of our argument.
This report focuses on the now substantial international rural geography literature on the emergence of so-called ‘resource peripheries’, linked to the economic expansion of rapidly industrializing nations such as India and China. The report outlines the major foci and key arguments of this body of work, noting its connections to, but also elaborations of, important concepts used within rural geography, including global commodity chains and their multi-scalar governance, involving, in part, political, economic and social relations between corporations and local communities. Noting the influence of numerous Marxian concepts in this body of work’s intellectual development, the report draws further potential links with the ‘dis/articulations’ scholarship that has recently emerged out of a critique of the global commodity/value chain research, including notions of dispossession, disempowerment and primitive accumulation. Relatedly, aspects of multi-scalar and multi-sector governance in natural resource extraction are highlighted.
Relationality is a persistent concern of socio-spatial theory, increasingly invoked in geographical scholarship. We bring geographical scholarship on relationality to bear on relational poverty studies, an emergent body of work that challenges mainstream approaches to conceptualizing, explaining, researching and acting upon poverty. We argue that relationality scholarship provides ontological, theoretical, and epistemological interventions that extend prior relational poverty work. We synthesize these three elements to develop an explicitly geographical relationality and show how this framework offers a politics of possibility for knowing and acting on poverty in new ways.
This report examines current developments in geohumanities and work on so-called ‘deep maps’, as well as considering work building on artistic practice and literary mapping traditions. I discuss developments in the history of cartography and consider the value of old maps in relation to the interests of human geographers and wider notions of popular geography. More engagement with these areas of mapping practice could help bridge the long-standing disconnect between much of contemporary human geography and more mainstream cartographic research.
This report considers genders and sexualities within and across spaces of activism. Geographers concerned with social belonging, equity, human rights, civic duties, and gendered and sexed identities often engage in activism through participatory research and/or direct action. This report brings together geographical scholarship on feminist and queer (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex, queer) – LGBTIQ – activism to examine the construction of transformative geographical knowledges. Feminist and queer activist geographers can be powerful forces for positive social change and challenge heteronormativity. They may also, however, reinforce normalizations and hierarchies within and beyond activist spaces. I bring together references that position geographers at the centre of activism, genders, sexualities and place.
Geographies of food banks have focused predominantly on issues of neoliberal political-economy and food insecurity. In this paper, we trace alternative understandings of food banking – as spaces of care, and as liminal spaces of encounter capable of incubating political and ethical values, practices and subjectivities that challenge neoliberal austerity. Our aim is to develop a conceptual approach to voluntary welfare capable both of holding in tension the ambivalent and contradictory dynamics of care and welfare in the meantime(s), and of underlining some of the more hopeful and progressive possibilities that can arise in and through such spaces of care.
Geographers tend to see energy systems as intricately interwoven with society and relatively resistant to change. We argue that there is a danger of exaggerating the permanence and stability of the energy–society relationship. Therefore we propose a framework that is more open to instability and transformation. Using assemblage theory, we frame the social and material landscapes of oil – carbonscapes – as having emergent capacities for change built into their relations of exteriority. We illustrate this by discussing instabilities at particular points within the global oil production network: extractive hot zones, energy distribution infrastructures, and urban spaces of consumption and practice.
This paper is a response to a growing body of geographical literature exploring the interface between ontology and politics. We develop an understanding that does not start by building ontological bedrocks, to which the question of politics is then rooted. Ontology building, we argue, operates against the essential possibility of the political invested in ontological openness, and thus remains blind to politics inconsistent with, but also practised upon, its own foundations. We propose a relation between the political and the ontological as questioning that grows from the events and situations, which ontologically position us in multiple and unexpected ways.
This report takes as its prompt John K. Wright’s 1925 ‘plea for the history of geography’ – an early call for an inclusive account of geographical thought and practice, embracing both professional and amateur ways of knowing. In reflecting on the extent to which contemporary histories of geography realize the scope of Wright’s ambition, the paper considers how external pressures, such as neoliberalism and academia’s audit culture, function to shape and constrain the writing of those histories. The paper argues for the value of ‘slow’ scholarship as an act of political resistance and as a sine qua non of nuanced and comprehensive historiography. The report concludes by examining how biographical and genealogical approaches to narrating geography’s histories have important implications for the decisions made about inclusion and exclusion, about what and who counts in geography.
The concept of difference has long been integral to geographical thought. However, it is rare for geographers to consider precisely what difference is, or how it functions, and there are several contrasting traditions through which difference is understood. We argue that geographers could helpfully extend their theorizations of difference through Deleuze’s philosophy of ‘difference-in-itself’. We examine the value of a ‘difference-in-itself’ that views difference as generative, originary, and primary, in productive tension with conceptions of difference that tend to, purposefully or otherwise, subordinate difference to presupposed identity-based, representational categories, or dialectical forms of contradiction and opposition.
The second report in this series turns to focus on the trace in relation to life-writing and biography in historical geography and beyond. Through attention to tracing journeys, located moments and listening to the presence of ghosts (Ogborn, 2005), this report seeks to highlight the range of different ways in which historical geographers have explored lives, deaths, and their transient traces through varied biographical terrains. Continuing to draw attention in historical geography to the darkest of histories, this piece will pivot on moments of discovering the dead to showcase the nuanced ways in which historical geography is opening doors into uncharted lives and unspoken histories.
In the past year scholars have extended the reach of legal geography to a number of previously neglected areas of interest. Among these are non-Western, non-common law places; the sphere of the international, particularly the law of war; and the physical, other-than-human worlds. As they ventured into these areas legal geographers have also initiated or strengthened convergences with other critical projects such as political ecology, critical strands of international legal scholarship, legal anthropology, critical physical geography and critical animal studies.
This third report examines interfaces as a key element enabling spatial skills, and development of new forms of digital spatialities for smart cities. Digital technology is becoming consubstantial to urban materiality, but map interfaces are particularly central tools for indexing (geographic) knowledge and expertise, accessing informational components of digital cities, and actively engaging digital dimensions of urban places.
Research into health disparities has long recognized the importance of residential mobility as a crucial factor in determining health outcomes. However, a lack of connectivity between the health and mobility literatures has led to a stagnation of theory and application on the health side, which lacks the detail and temporal perspectives now seen as critical to understanding residential mobility decisions. Through a critical re-think of mobility processes with respect to health outcomes and an exploitation of longitudinal analytical techniques, we argue that health geographers have the potential to better understand and identify the relationship that residential mobility has with health.
In the first of three reviews I focus on how cultural geography is exploring modes and forms of power in relation to various contemporary conditions, including research on precaritization, dispossession, the state, and anti-black violence. A common concern in this work is with how power relations and effects are lived as part of the composition of experience. I demonstrate how this emphasis on experience manifests in attention to the specificities of modes of power and their intensities (how the effects of power come to form and are present/absent) and forms (how power relations are arranged into specific shapes or patterns).
Globalizing animal geographies scholarship illuminates the complexity of human-animal relations and the variety of topical realms and contexts in which interspecies encounters take place. This report highlights the multitude of ways in which humans think about, place and interact with animals around the world, as well as the range of circumstances, experiences and lives of animals themselves. Decolonizing animal geographies raises questions regarding sub-disciplinary tendencies, practices and assumptions, and encourages alternative paths for knowledge construction. This report argues for investigating further the implications of colonial, racial and cultural dynamics for human-animal relations, and embracing subaltern perspectives – both human and nonhuman – to ensure a diverse global community of animal geographies.
Extinction has long been a central concern in biodiversity conservation. Today, de-extinction offers interesting possibilities of restoring charismatic species and ecosystem function, but also risks and costs. Most de-extinction depends on genetic engineering and synthetic biology. These technologies are also proposed for use in ‘gene tweaking’ in wild species to enhance their chance of survival. Within conservation, the resulting debates pit an optimistic world of high-tech ‘precision conservation’ against a more conventional vision of biodiversity conservation achieved primarily through protected areas. De-extinction is a fashionable idea that brings the complex debates about the ethics and wisdom of genetic engineering to a central position within conservation science
Although classical significance testing is the most commonly used inferential technique in quantitative geography, it is far from the only choice, and in some circumstances may not be the most appropriate. In the statistical literature and other disciplines, its utility has come under question in a number of contexts. This report overviews current progress in the development of quantitative inferential approaches, and considers their use and appropriateness in a number of human geographical contexts.
This forum examines a range of grounded struggles over efforts to materialize elements of a ‘postneoliberal’ agenda by social and political movements of the 2000s. Drawing from their research in Latin America and South Africa, the contributors ask when, where and why these experiments in realizing postneoliberalisms have prompted durable transformations in neoliberal political economic structures and social rationalities (or not). Theorizing from diverse postneoliberalisms, they interrogate what these material and ideological projects reveal about space, power, contestation, and possibilities of reconstituting deeply unequal worlds.
In this paper we demonstrate how writings on affect, materiality and relationality necessitate a rethinking of theories of the nation, focusing on the intermittent emergence and flickering presence of nation-ness and national identity. In moving beyond Billig’s notion of ‘banal nationalism’, we argue that the presencing/absencing, foregrounding/backgrounding, and individualizing/collectivizing of feelings results from the differential capacities for bodies to affect or be affected and the assembling of particular configurations of bodies and materials. We demonstrate this through a discussion of how national feelings and affects have gathered around two infrastructures in Wales, the A470 road and the Severn Bridge.
As ongoing parallel processes, urbanization and climate change call for overarching context-specific responses that tackle the complex challenges involved and include a comprehensive data base to identify the most pressing action needs. We argue that urban vulnerabilities must take centre stage in this regard. What comes to the fore in the context of urban vulnerability to climate-related hazards is the interaction of human systems with the environment. Understanding the impact of changes in temperature and precipitation on socio-ecological systems is therefore not enough. Insights into the complexity of urban development, social inequalities, economics and politics are needed. To address this complexity, the article focuses on the challenges associated with socio-environmental fragmentation patterns and residential vulnerability, since the interlinkages between them contribute substantially to furthering insights into the specifics of ‘urban’ vulnerabilities to climate-related hazards. An approach that combines socio-environmental fragmentation and residential vulnerability is presented. This approach explores socio-environmental urban developments as well as individual perceptions and capacities.
The notion of encounter has been used widely within work on urban diversity and socio-cultural difference, yet it remains under-theorized. This paper argues that ‘encounter’ is a conceptually charged construct that is worthy of sustained and critical attention. Drawing on a wide range of geographical interests, including animal geographies, urban diversity, postcolonialism, mobile geographies, and the more-than-human, it offers the first examination of how ‘encounter’ has been deployed across the discipline. By further tracing the historical links between geography and encounter, the paper contends that encounters are distinct genres of contact, and demonstrates why this matters for geographical thought, and how we think about bodies, borders, and difference.
In this report I argue that environmental racism is constituent of racial capitalism. While the environmental justice movement has been a success on many levels, there is compelling evidence that it has not succeeded in actually improving the environments of vulnerable communities. One reason for this is because we are not conceptualizing the problem correctly. I build my argument by first emphasizing the centrality of the production of social difference in creating value. Second, I review how the devaluation of nonwhite bodies has been incorporated into economic processes and advocate for extending such frameworks to include pollution. And lastly, I turn to the state. If, in fact, environmental racism is constituent of racial capitalism, then this suggests that activists and researchers should view the state as a site of contestation, rather than as an ally or neutral force.
The last 20 years have witnessed a deepening of the imbrication between capital and the university. This paper seeks to map one point at which this binding occurs: in critical theory. Recently scholars in strategic management have turned to processual and relational ontologies in an attempt to reimagine the logics of profit, value, and growth. These same ontologies have appealed to critical geographers as a means of reconceiving space as unfixed. Drawing on a case study of Deleuze’s appropriation in management literature, I show how such ontologies presuppose a vitalism that necessarily reproduces and obscures the structures of exploitation.
This paper responds to calls for geographers to engage critically with the claim that ‘violence sits in places’ in the analysis of domestic violence in rural areas. It argues the need to develop conceptual understandings of the spatialized and embodied experience of domestic violence in the countryside. Drawing on debates about what counts as violence and on feminist work on domestic violence as intimate terrorism, the paper explores ways in which experiences of violence (and associated fear) are shaped by particular constructions and performances of rural masculinity and by the social and cultural relations that continue to characterize rural communities.
This paper intervenes in the recent movement in religious geographies to produce more nuanced understandings of the religious subject. By introducing the concept of theography, this paper explores a religious reflexivity that directs subjects towards struggles over the content of theology, its effects on their spatial imagination, and their praxis. Theography advances conversations about praxis in the geography of religion by tying together poststructural scholarship regarding the religious subject’s potential to subvert abstract categorization, geographies concerning the subject’s reframing of theology, and philosophical contributions vis-à-vis praxes that stem from particular understandings of transcendence.
In this paper, we seek to map out the specific geographies through which spatialities of religion have been imagined. These involve such spatial metaphors as islands, networks and spheres. Less attention has been given to new forms of spirituality, and to the consequences of thinking through these for our understanding of modernity itself. We argue that modernity, religion and spirituality are entangled and spread through daily life. We conclude that adding new forms of spirituality to the mix of geographies of religion requires reconsidering more than the boundary between secularity and religion, but also rethinking the place of spirituality in modern life.
This paper contributes to recent debates on the geographies of education. I argue that research in geography over the past decade has conceptualized education principally in terms of attachment to – and boundedness within – particular (often institutional) places and spaces. Yet a productive tension has emerged in contemporary scholarship around the competing concepts of mobilities and emplacement. The paper considers what the ‘mobilities turn’ offers for understanding geographies of education and learning, with a focus on ripple effects, structures and subject positionings. Four different but related bodies of work are identified that productively engage a notion of ‘mobilities’ to challenge bounded conceptions of education through their focus on (i) community and mobility; (ii) ‘alternative’ spaces of education; (iii) student mobilities; and (iv) embedded institutional capital and internationalization. Through the lens of mobilities, the paper advances research agendas within both geography (on ‘geographies of education’) and cognate disciplines (such as sociology and education).
In this paper, we seek to map out the specific geographies through which spatialities of religion have been imagined. These involve such spatial metaphors as islands, networks and spheres. Less attention has been given to new forms of spirituality, and to the consequences of thinking through these for our understanding of modernity itself. We argue that modernity, religion and spirituality are entangled and spread through daily life. We conclude that adding new forms of spirituality to the mix of geographies of religion requires reconsidering more than the boundary between secularity and religion, but rethinking the place of spirituality in modern life.
Across geography there has been variable engagement with the use of simulation and agent-based modelling. We argue that agent-based simulation provides a complementary method to investigate geographical issues which need not be used in ways that are epistemologically different in kind from some other approaches in contemporary geography. We propose mixed qualitative-simulation methods that iterate back-and-forth between ‘thick’ (qualitative) and ‘thin’ (simulation) approaches and between the theory and data they produce. These mixed methods accept simulation modelling as process and practice; a way of using computers with concepts and data to ensure social theory remains embedded in day-to-day geographical thinking.
In this final report on mobilities, I discuss research published between late 2014 and early 2016, focusing upon three key themes. I examine how recent work on medical bodies and race advances long-standing concerns with the mobile body. I then trace emerging philosophical and political writings on the themes of speed and ‘accelerationism’, before examining the contributions of mobility historians and transport historians to academic work on mobility. I conclude with some thoughts about the multi-disciplinary nature of contemporary mobilities research and the current state of the field.
Despite the persistence of Malthusian arguments that human population will grow to outstrip the Earth’s capacity and resources, current demography actually foretells the impending end of growth in the next half century. We are approaching a global baby bust. What does this mean for global political labor economies, regional resource economics, and local struggles over gender and power? This paper concludes, through a survey of current research, that geographers already have the conceptual equipment to answer these enormously important questions. We further argue that the fundamental underpinnings of much contemporary economic and social theory, having been developed in times of rapid population growth and labor surplus, must be reconsidered as we enter a period of different material conditions. Reviewing recent developments in population geography and feminist geopolitics, global geographies of labor and aging, and emerging patterns of resource intensification and disintensification, we suggest that – if infused with an explicit political economy – attending to the baby bust can show the way forward to help revitalize our understanding of bodies and materiality in critical and human geography.
This paper explores the relationship between forced migration and the city. The paper outlines four accounts of the city centred on: displacement and the camp-city, dispersal and refugee resettlement, the ‘re-scaling’ of borders, and the city as a sanctuary. Whilst valuable, these discussions maintain a focus on sovereign authority that tends to prioritize the policing of forced migration over the possibilities for contestation that also emerge through cities. Arguing for a fuller engagement with debates in urban geography, this paper considers how discussions of urban informality and the politics of presence may better unpack the urban character of forced migration.
Racism cannot be treated as a spatially homogeneous phenomenon. This review reports on the merits of a localized approach to anti-racism, and delivers a frank assessment of the challenges faced when developing local responses to racism in a neoliberal era. Under neoliberalism, local actors are responsibilized, and for anti-racism this means action can potentially be closely aligned to local inflexions of racism. But localized responses to racism under neoliberalism are associated with deracialized and depoliticized policies on interethnic community relations. Neoliberal anti-racism promotes competition among local agencies rather than coalition building, and is associated with spatially uneven and non-strategic action.
This paper builds on work on forced labour and human trafficking to argue for the value of geographical approaches to legal scale, and for more geographical research on the process of jurisdiction. Vulnerability to forced labour and human trafficking is related to processes of social and political categorization and legal characterization. Yet territorial understandings of jurisdiction, and those which conceptualize jurisdiction as a process of sorting, often imply a relatively straightforward correspondence between legal scales and legal subjects. I propose an approach to legal scale that builds on feminist analyses in labour law and human geography.
This paper focuses on the geographical notion of chora, i.e. the earth as ethically shaped by human practices, according to my interpretation of Strabo’s Geography. I argue that this chora is bearer of a logic of the included third/middle, as it coincides with the logico-semantic third way of Plato’s notion of image. Re-interpreting today’s geographical turns in the light of a re-turn to Strabo’s chora/image, I argue that this return is moral, inasmuch as the geographical chora shows that ethics has preserved a logic of image and representation, which is the most ancient in Western thought, but also the most appropriate to contemporary issues. The geographical model of chora which I delineate here – a complex model on the basis of which ethics works in the same way as an image – is also the attempt to propose an alternative theory on the nature of image as well as an alternative interpretation of the role which ethics can play in current debate.
Knowledge creation is recognized as interaction between individuals in a social context, but geography-of-knowledge-creation research inadequately connects social context to physical place. The proximities approach reduces physical place to near-far dichotomies and territorial innovation models conflate social context and physical place. This paper introduces the concept of ‘conversations’ as social spaces of knowledge creation and develops typologies of how conversations are connected to physical places, based on the effort required to bridge distance and on the attractiveness of places for knowledge creation. Addressing the socio-spatial dynamics of knowledge creation, the paper explains how conversations may be anchored in multiple locations.
This paper discusses disaster risk reduction (DRR) in the context of emerging geographical ideas about topologies and assemblages. It focuses on the role of expert advice in DRR and the resulting political and epistemological issues. The critical geography of disasters still struggles to communicate with persistent scientific technical-rational approaches to hazard assessment. Furthermore, recent studies have shown the potential for expert advice to be (mis)used for political purposes. Assemblage theory might be useful in opening up this hybrid area of research, as it allows a nuanced view of disasters and DRR that can incorporate complex human-environmental relationships and diverse knowledges.
Geographical scholarship on transport has been boosted by the emergence of big data and advances in the analysis of complex networks in other disciplines, but these developments are a mixed blessing. They allow transport as object of analysis to exist in new ways and raise the profile of geography in interdisciplinary spaces dominated by physics and complexity science. Yet, they have also brought back concerns over the privileging of generality over particularity. This is because they have once more made acceptable and even normalized a focus on supposedly universal laws that explain the functioning of mobility systems and on space and time independent explanations of hierarchies, inequalities and vulnerabilities in transport systems and patterns. Geographical scholarship on transport should remain open to developments in big data and network science but would benefit from more critical reflexivity on the limitations and the historical and geographical situatedness of big data and on the conceptual shortcomings of network science. Big data and network analysis need to be critiqued and re-appropriated, and examples of how this can be done are starting to emerge. Openness, critique and re-appropriation are especially important in a context where transport geography decentralizes away from its Euro-American core, and the development pathways of transport and mobility in localities beyond that core deserve their own, unique explanations.
Media and communication are attracting increasing amounts of attention from geographers but the work remains disorganized and lacks a unifying paradigm. This progress report suggests a new paradigm for geographical studies of media and communication and indicates how recent research fits under this umbrella. The report presents recent studies of literature, film and television, digital media, photography, comics, stamps and banknotes. The range of theoretical concerns in this body of work includes performance, agency, materiality, immateriality, networks, politics, emotions and affect. Collectively, these concerns point to communications not merely as transmissions through infrastructure, space and time, but rather as encounters between various human and nonhuman agents. The metaphysical question is exactly what such encounters do to participants – how agents are transformed by other agents’ communications. This leads to synthesis in a new paradigm for media/communication geography: the metaphysics of encounter.
The construction of ‘fictive place’ is ever more common in capitalist production and exchange. It could be argued that the adoption of Geographical Indications (GIs) is a form of resistance to the homogenizing effects of globalization. In some ways fictive place-making can be seen as a means of adding value to land; however, we argue that fictive place has become a factor of production in its own right. We investigate this through a discussion of fictitious capital and the rise of GIs. We draw evidence from the wine sector and suggest that other networks are increasingly constituted of similar processes.
Glaciers are key icons of climate change and global environmental change. However, the relationships among gender, science, and glaciers – particularly related to epistemological questions about the production of glaciological knowledge – remain understudied. This paper thus proposes a feminist glaciology framework with four key components: 1) knowledge producers; (2) gendered science and knowledge; (3) systems of scientific domination; and (4) alternative representations of glaciers. Merging feminist postcolonial science studies and feminist political ecology, the feminist glaciology framework generates robust analysis of gender, power, and epistemologies in dynamic social-ecological systems, thereby leading to more just and equitable science and human-ice interactions.
In August 2014, a white police officer shot Michael Brown, an unarmed black teenager in Ferguson, Missouri, USA, fueling the nascent Black Lives Matter movement. The following March, the US Department of Justice produced a report showing that the police department of Ferguson had been explicitly tasked by city officials with using nuisance laws and traffic violations to raise revenue for the municipal coffers. In this second of three progress reports I consider both the empirical evidence and analytical tools urban geographers and those in cognate disciplines have produced that can assist in our analysis of the Age of Ferguson. I conclude by considering what the Age of Ferguson demands from urban geographers, and how we might produce anti-racist scholarship from a ‘white discipline’.
Environmental justice (EJ) scholarship is increasingly framing justice in terms of capabilities. This paper argues that capabilities are fundamentally about well-being and as such there is a need to more explicitly theorize well-being. We explore how capabilities have come to be influential in EJ and how well-being has been approached so far in EJ specifically and human geography more broadly. We then introduce a body of literature from social psychology which has grappled theoretically with questions about well-being, using the insights we gain from it to reflect on some possible trajectories and challenges for EJ as it engages with well-being.
This report examines how social geographers are engaging with the questions that robots and robotic technologies provoke. First, it discusses Marxist analyses of machines and troubles the role that robots play in social production and reproduction. Second, robots as actors in assemblages of sociospatial relations are interrogated for their role in state violence. Third, the dynamic change brought about by smart cities and their algorithmic subjects is discussed. The concluding section is speculative, discussing robots and the ethics of care. This report asks social geographers to reimagine their social geographies in relation to the role of robots in everyday life.
Quantitative segregation research focuses almost exclusively on the spatial sorting of demographic groups. This research largely ignores the structural characteristics of neighborhoods – such as crime, job accessibility, and school quality – that likely help determine important household outcomes. This paper summarizes the research on segregation, neighborhood effects, and concentrated disadvantage, and argues that we should pay more attention to neighborhood structural characteristics, and that the data increasingly exist to include measures of spatial segregation and neighborhood opportunity. The paper concludes with a brief empirical justification for the inclusion of data on neighborhood violence and a discussion on policy applications.
Attention to the urban and metropolitan growth of nature can no longer be denied. Nor can the intense scrutiny of racialized, postcolonial and indigenous perspectives on the press and pulse of uneven development across the planet’s urban political ecology be deferred any longer. There is sufficient research ranging across antiracist and postcolonial perspectives to constitute a need to discuss what is referred to here as ‘abolition ecology’. Abolition ecology represents an approach to studying urban natures more informed by antiracist, postcolonial and indigenous theory. The goal of abolition ecology is to elucidate and extrapolate the interconnected white supremacist and racialized processes that lead to uneven develop within urban environments.
Claims about neoliberalism and its geographies frequently involve assumptions about the affective life of neoliberalism and/or neoliberal societies. However, existing cultural approaches to neoliberalism as a discursive formation, an ideology or governmentality collapse a concern with affect into a focus on the operation of signifying-subjectfying processes that make ‘neoliberal subjects’. Political economy approaches only make implicit claims about the ‘mood’ of neoliberal societies. In this paper, I argue that collective affects are part of the conditions of formation for particular neoliberalisms and therefore understanding the affective life of neoliberalism is critical to explaining how it emerges, forms and changes. Through examples including The Mont Pelerin Society, the Chicago School of Economics and Thatcherism, I propose a vocabulary that supplements existing approaches by focusing on the affective conditions for neoliberalism, specifically the atmospheres that are part of the formation of neoliberal reason and the structures of feeling that condition how particular neoliberalisms actualize in the midst of other things. The result is a way of discerning neoliberalisms as both conditioned by affects and ‘actually existing’ affectively – as dispersed affective ‘qualities’ or ‘senses’.
This paper builds from scholarship on whiteness and white privilege to argue for an expanded focus that includes settler colonialism and white supremacy. We argue that engaging with white supremacy and settler colonialism reveals the enduring social, economic, and political impacts of white supremacy as a materially grounded set of practices. We situate white supremacy not as an artifact of history or as an extreme position, but rather as the foundation for the continuous unfolding of practices of race and racism within settler states. We illustrate this framework through a recent example of a land dispute in the American West.
This paper explores tensions that emerge from the injunction to make progress in geographical knowledge production in the globalizing landscape of higher education and research. The paper identifies gaps that emerge between disciplinary geographical knowledge production and area studies knowledge production, particularly connections to non-western areas on which many geographers work. It suggests these gaps are symptomatic and productive of the discipline’s problematically constituted community: the ‘we’ of Geography’s vanguard. The paper charts the precipitation of these tensions within Geography’s disciplinary dispositif before suggesting three alternative knowledge production tactics aimed at closing any such gaps and that in turn democratically reconstitute disciplinary Geography’s ‘we’.
Why talk of indigeneity rather than of Indigenous peoples? This report examines the critical purchase on questions of inequality, subjectivity and power offered by critical geographies of indigeneity. In comparison with accounts that treat indigeneity as relational with nature and the more-than-human, the report highlights literature that examines indigeneity as relational with deeply historical, institutionalized and power-inflected ontologies. To think about settler colonialism as an ongoing effect, not a singular event, recognizes how patterns of engagement with and oppression of indigeneity pervade the colonial present and its geographies beyond the specific locales associated with Indigenous peoples. Finally, the report examines how indigeneity figures in the geography discipline’s knowledge production, and argues that worldly Indigenous ontologies are theorizing the world precisely because they are forced to apprehend, appraise and then rethink ‘universals’.
As the world increasingly urbanizes, the imaginaries, conceptions and politics of urban density will become increasingly urgent for research, policy, practice and activism. Density is a keyword in the history of how the city has been conceived and understood, and is firmly back on the global urban agenda. However, we lack sustained studies of how the geographies of density have been defined, lived, and contested. This paper develops a topological approach to urban density, considers key ways in which density has been politicized, and examines an emerging research area that understands the life and politics of density as ‘intensive heterogeneities’.
The increasing power of the financial industry in today’s economies has spatial fundamentals and important spatial consequences. This article examines the relevance of the social studies of finance (SSF), largely inspired by actor network theory (ANT) in this respect. Two critiques are made. First, SSF works are limited to the financial sphere and scarcely consider any connection with the rest of the economy. Second, their conception of space remains embryonic, if not entirely metaphorical. However, to understand and evaluate the effects of the financial industry requires that we take account of its spatial and historical contexts from the outset.
This report reviews recent thinking and debates about physical limits to human activities, and particularly the concept of ‘planetary boundaries’. It looks at the scientific basis of the planetary boundaries concept and its claims for novelty, and the most recent update of the original proposition and analysis. I suggest that geographers can invigorate and inform the science of planetary boundaries by further developing conceptualizations of human-environment relations; by constructing a political ecology of planetary boundaries; by exploring alternative development pathways; and by dissecting the planetary and its relations across scales. These present crucial challenges, necessitating joined-up, dynamic and novel approaches.
This report surveys the growing interest in understanding local and regional development in terms of its contribution to human well-being. It highlights the limits of traditional measures of development, notably GDP and its variants, and charts the search for alternative measures of development. It examines attempts to introduce a concern with well-being in local and regional development policy and the political barriers to achieving this.
In this second report, I consider the relationship between emotion and morality from a geographical perspective. Though traditional and contemporary engagements in moral philosophy and psychology offer a diverse range of theories and approaches to emotions and morality, few of these explicitly consider or incorporate the role of space. I consider theories of embodiment and relationality as one means through which emotions become collective and institutionalized, with a focus on emotional geographies and care. I conclude by reflecting on political emotions as conflictive but insightful signals of societal shifts in our moral emotions, and suggest that incorporating emotions may also provide a different way of thinking about the problem of distant care.
In recent years geographical urban theory has been subject to renewed, vigorous debate about its stakes and its politics, and indeed about the nature of ‘the urban’ at the heart of its concerns. It is a fitting moment, therefore, for a virtual collection to trace a path through key trajectories in urban theorizing as they have been reflected in Progress in Human Geography over the last 25 years. This collection of 10 papers reflects a generation of urban geographical scholarship that demonstrates a proliferation of substantive concerns and an expansion of the repertoire of theoretical inspirations that have animated and reshaped the field into one marked by a diverse suite of questions, methodologies and political engagements. This introduction briefly narrates the key trajectories and reflects on the contributions arising from the selected papers.
In this report I examine two of the most important trends bearing down on the international development regime in 2015, a landmark year. The first is the consolidation of South–South development cooperation (acknowledging the problematic nature of this designation), materially, ontologically and ideationally. The second is the response of the (so-called) ‘traditional’ donors to the opportunities and challenges provided by the ‘rise of the South’, in the context of the uneven reverberations of the post-2007/8 global financial crisis. Together, these interpolated trends have contributed to an unprecedented rupture in the North–South axis that has dominated post-1945 international development norms and structures – an axis that has also provided the focus for radical and critical approaches to the geographies of development. The resulting development landscape is complex and turbulent, bringing stimulating challenges to theorists of aid and development.
Reproducible quantitative research is research that has been documented sufficiently rigorously that a third party can replicate any quantitative results that arise. It is argued here that such a goal is desirable for quantitative human geography, particularly as trends in this area suggest a turn towards the creation of algorithms and codes for simulation and the analysis of Big Data. A number of examples of good practice in this area are considered, spanning a time period from the late 1970s to the present day. Following this, practical aspects such as tools that enable research to be made reproducible are discussed, and some beneficial side effects of adopting the practice are identified. The paper concludes by considering some of the challenges faced by quantitative geographers aspiring to publish reproducible research.
The pervasive and important territorial dimensions of property are understudied, given the tendency to view territory through the lens of the state. Viewing both property and territory as relational and mutually recursive, I introduce the practical work of property’s territory, the historical moment in which it was produced, the powerful metaphors that work through it, and the habits and everyday practices it induces. The territory of property, I suggest, has a specificity, a presence, and a consequentiality, all of which demand our attention.
In this first of a series of three progress reports on qualitative methods we scope recent qualitative research in human geography through the prism of the interview. Across diverse subfields the interview persists as the dominant means of understanding, though increasingly supplemented or complemented by other means such as diaries and autobiography. Capturing social life as it happens is emerging in response to theoretical developments that encourage new methodological thinking, and includes cities and buildings being thought of as methodological resources as well as sites. These point to concerns with the materiality and inventiveness of method that will be explored in subsequent reports.
This paper identifies some key underlying assumptions of critical political analysis by examining two moments that have brought these assumptions to the fore: the Klaus Croissant affair in West Germany and France in the late 1970s, and Edward Snowden’s revelations in the 21st century regarding the activities of the US National Security Agency. Interesting parallels can be identified between ‘distinction-collapsing discourses’ prominent in the two contexts. The core argument of the paper is that understanding Michel Foucault’s critical stance toward the description of West Germany as ‘fascist’ in 1977 and 1978, and more broadly, toward what he called ‘state phobia’, can help us resist undifferentiated condemnation of state representations under the sign of ‘post-politics’ today. An account of the 1977 Croissant affair, the critical discourses prominent at the time, and Foucault’s critical stance toward the notion of fascism provides an historical parallel for a critical reading of Badiou’s discussion of the state in Being and Event and other works. The final section briefly surveys a number of recent forms of epistemic activism that illustrate the shortcomings of a one-sided reading of state knowledge such as that offered by Badiou and seemingly confirmed by the NSA scandal.
Within economic geography, it has been argued that political economy approaches have diminished in both prevalence and influence to the detriment of both the sub-discipline and to human geography as a whole. This report challenges such a perspective, arguing that political economic geographies remain very much vibrant and engaging in contemporary economic geography and in the way in which economic geographers engage with the nature of the contemporary global economy. It argues that the perceived retreat of political economy approaches corresponds more to a diversification of the ways in which political economic thinking is integrated into more recent economic geography, acknowledging that this does reduce the apparent coherence around a singular articulation or approach to geographical political economy. However, it also seeks to demonstrate through reviewing recent pluralist theoretical work that political economic geography has broadened its theoretical framework and thus made significant contributions to ongoing debates around the geographies of production within the sub-discipline that had not previously been the object of political economic analysis.
We invite readers to dig for ganguri (yams) at and with Bawaka, an Indigenous Homeland in northern Australia, and, in doing so, consider an Indigenous-led understanding of relational space/place. We draw on the concept of gurrutu to illustrate the limits of western ontologies, open up possibilities for other ways of thinking and theorizing, and give detail and depth to the notion of space/place as emergent co-becoming. With Bawaka as lead author, we look to Country for what it can teach us about how all views of space are situated, and for the insights it offers about co-becoming in a relational world.
This report considers gender diversity across a range of spaces and places. I note that while the notion of gender has been troubled, there exist opportunities to trouble it further. I highlight the scholarship that has sought to deconstruct genders, and the binary framing of man/woman and male/female roles and relationships. The queering of sexuality has meant that geographers are now tracing the ways in which lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex, queer (LGBTIQ) bodies experience and live their gender beyond normative binaries. Research concerned with relational gendered subjectivities within LGBTIQ communities is discussed, and I flag the trend that this research may conflate gendered experiences while privileging sexual subjectivities. Finally, I turn to the recent interest by geographers who – drawing on queer and trans* theories – argue for new and innovative understandings of gender diversity.
Knowledge of suicide is made through violent epistemologies that sever self-destruction from space, time, and place. As an inherently incomprehensible issue, efforts to make sense of suicide through abstraction have the paradoxical effect of inhibiting understanding. This paper argues that the incoherences characteristic of suicide are not an obstacle for knowing, but rather a cause to accept knowledge that is partial and indirect. Thinking with assemblage, this paper develops a relational conceptualization of distance to interrogate the knowledge that shapes pesticide suicide in India; ‘distancing-through-engagement’ brings to light the contradictions and obscured power relations through which understandings of suicide are made.
This second report is dedicated to the concept of ‘place’ revisited in the context of smart cities. Some recent studies suggest that today’s digital cities rely more on an approach to the urban context based on a network of connected places than on an approach to the city built on areal spaces. Does it mean that there are more places and fewer spaces in spatially enabled cities? Is the intelligence of a city mainly related to its ability to sound out the genesis of urban places? These issues raise questions about the design of spatial models used to build GIS, as well as place-based urban design methods and tools. This second report explores these questions from the standpoint of GISciences.
The involvement of private sector actors in low carbon urban transitions is a neglected element of geographical analysis. Drawing on Polanyian, cultural economic geographies and the non-capitalocentric ethics of JK Gibson-Graham’s diverse economies perspective, the paper engages with the wider literature on the engagement of small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in environmental action, corporate social responsibility and low carbon transitions to develop a substantivist account of the contribution of SMEs to local low carbon transitions. The paper argues that, contra formalist economic analyses of economic rationality, SME owners should not be thought of as uncritical profit maximizers but as actors in favour of positive low carbon futures. Thus the paper argues that Polanyian economic geographies and diverse economies perspectives, which rarely speak to each other, can be drawn together, and concludes with suggestions for future research.
In this second report I discuss research published in 2014 and early 2015. I examine recent debates about elemental geographies, including research on the mobilities associated with air and water, and on how aluminium, steel and carbon facilitate movement. The report then highlights the vibrant materialities and mobilities underpinning events, examining different approaches to processual and molecular mobilities, including work which is critical of the suggestion that everything is moving. In the final section I examine the centrality of mobility to academic practices and biographies, and here I discuss the life and work of the influential cultural studies scholar Stuart Hall.
This paper explores the spaces in which fashion is displayed and consumed. In order to ‘place’ fashion space within the contemporary city, the paper focuses on a set of alliances between art and fashion in the making of current consumption space. The collaboration between art and fashion opens up a means to critically explore how representational worlds are brought into being and offers new ways to understand how creative activity can be rooted in (and reflective of) broader social, economic and cultural concerns. Such collisions and collusions represent a key means of making and shaping commodity and brand value.
This paper develops a framework to explain the uneven development of housing prices in cities. Since the main price component of housing is capitalized rent, the financial base of this rent is analysed. Therefore three categories of accumulation strategies are defined: places of production, places of consumption and places of business services. The restructuring of urban economies after the crisis of Fordism is interpreted as a shift from places of production to places of consumption or business services. Subsequently, the disciplining function of places of production on housing prices eroded, resulting in uneven price developments.
Over the years, various observers of health geography have sought to ‘divide’ the sub-discipline mainly along theoretical lines or to argue for a broadening of its theoretical base. Paralleling the growing theoretical pluralism within health geography has been a growing methodological pluralism. As in other parts of human geography, health geographers have embraced historical research, quantitative and qualitative methods, and computer mapping and geographic information science (GIS). Analysing recent contributions by health geographers, the question I seek to answer is whether the growing theoretical and methodological pluralism has paradoxically led to increasing divisions in the topics of study based mainly, but not solely, on what methods are employed in the research. While there are topical overlaps (e.g. quantitative and qualitative studies of particular vulnerable groups), it is less obvious as to how research using one methodology is informing research using the other methodology.
Drawing upon the personal reflections of geographical educators in Brazil, Canada, the UK, and the US, this Forum provides a state-of-the-discipline review of teaching in the history of geography; identifies the practical and pedagogical challenges associated with that teaching; and offers suggestions and provocations as to future innovation. The Forum shows how teaching in the history of geography is valued – as a tool of identity making, as a device for cohort building and professionalization, and as a means of interrogating the disciplinary present – but also how it is challenged by neoliberal educational policies, competing priorities in curriculum design, and sub-disciplinary divisions.
This paper explores the recent resurgence of occupation-based practices across the globe, from the seizure of public space to the assembling of improvised protest camps. It re-examines the relationship between the figure of occupation and the affirmation of an alternative ‘right to the city’. The paper develops a critical understanding of occupation as a political process that prefigures and materializes the social order which it seeks to enact. The paper highlights the constituent role of occupation as an autonomous form of urban dwelling, as a radical politics of infrastructure and as a set of relations that produce common spaces for political action.
This paper introduces a set of analytical frames that explore the possibilities of conceiving, researching and writing a global geography of squatting. The paper argues that it is possible to detect, in the most tenuous of urban settings, ways of thinking about and living urban life that have the potential to reanimate the city as a key site of geographical inquiry. The paper develops a modest theory of ‘urban combats’ to account for the complexity and provisionality of squatting as an informal set of practices, as a makeshift approach to housing and as a precarious form of inhabiting the city.
This report juxtaposes recent statements on geographical knowledge by Robert Kaplan and David Harvey to review current concerns in the history and philosophy of geography. Three general trends are identified. First, there have been attempts to address the geographical contributions evident in the corpus of key thinkers, particularly Immanuel Kant. Second, a broader concern with articulating histories of disciplinary subfields, such as cultural, economic and physical geography, has been evident, often connected to personal biographies and reminiscences. Third, a body of work has attempted to put geography’s story into dialogue with that of the wider social sciences, especially for the Cold War period. The paper concludes by noting the continuing difficulties of engaging with the histories and philosophies of geography.
This paper assesses geographic and especially political geographic work on transnational bureaucratic knowledge production. The term ‘transnational’ signals policy processes that blend national and extranational dynamics in institutional settings that transcend the governmental structures of states. The focus is on the international arena rather than national policy-making. The paper foregrounds the growing attention to bureaucratic processes in geography and highlights some productive arguments about spatiality and practice in that work. I stress the need for closer interdisciplinary engagements and I point to the insights that we would gain from the work of Pierre Bourdieu in that effort.
Geographic research and our practices in the higher education environment have long been concerned with diversity. Yet diversity is difficult to define and measure, and diversity efforts increasingly go unsupported. Furthermore, geography has been bedeviled by a stubborn lack of meaningful diversity in terms of who we are and what we do. More broadly, multiculturalism and affirmative action oriented toward increasing the numbers and success of underrepresented minorities are largely viewed as failed policies. Thus it has been suggested that diversity has effectively been silenced; alternatively, that it be diversified, or simply waited out. Others seem to view diversity through a hopeful lens, as an aspirational horizon. In this scholarship, encounters across diversity, whether fleeting or more managed, kindle the possibility of curiosity, understanding, and reconciliation.
In disaster science, policy and practice, the transition of resilience from a descriptive concept to a normative agenda provides challenges and opportunities. This paper argues that both are needed to increase resilience. We briefly outline the concept and several recent international resilience-building efforts to elucidate critical questions and less-discussed issues. We highlight the need to move resilience thinking forward by emphasizing structural social-political processes, acknowledging and acting on differences between ecosystems and societies, and looking beyond the quantitative streamlining of resilience into one index. Instead of imposing a technical-reductionist framework, we suggest a starting basis of integrating different knowledge types and experiences to generate scientifically reliable, context-appropriate and socially robust resilience-building activities.
In this third report, I focus on cognitive cartography in order to examine how the historical division between empiricist and critical approaches in cartography has shifted recently. I do so by building on Kitchin and Dodge’s argument (2007) that parts of the apparent disjuncture within cartography might be resolved through a greater focus on emergent approaches to mapping as a process, which is the core idea of post-representational cartography. By looking at cognitive cartography from a post-representational perspective I emphasize two major trends. On the one hand, the processual positioning of post-representational cartography simply shifts the historical line of divide, since it inherently disqualifies any cognitive studies that artificially dissociate the map from its context of use and production. On the other hand, by enabling the combination of critical positioning with empiricist practices, post-representational cartography offers opportunities to revisit in practical terms the tensions between these two approaches. It provides an original framework to envision our mental, emotional and embodied relationships with maps and with places through maps, and has the potential to bring cartography into a new arena in which the empiricist/critical divide could be transcended.
In view of persisting and multiple ‘crises’, coming to grips with sociospatial change is one of the key tasks in geographical political economy today. However, to date, philosophical misunderstandings and the related lack of productive scholarly exchange has prevented this task from being satisfyingly addressed. In this paper I discuss the Cultural Political Economy approach and discourse theory in order to expose some key misunderstandings and to argue in favour of more philosophical awareness. By setting up a dialogue between the two approaches I aim to demonstrate the benefits of a constructive engagement between perspectives rooted in ontologically different positions.
While the previous report made a strong case for a focus on historical geographies of mobility, this report is focused on looming future issues for geographies of mobility (and mobilities studies more generally). The report uses the recent scare over the presence of horsemeat mixed in with beef products on European supermarket shelves to consider four important themes. First, it considers the notion of ‘critical mobilities’ – mobilities which interrupt the taken-for-granted world of flows and force us to question how things move and the meanings given to those movements. Second, the report examines the theme of animal mobilities, as the movements of animals, dead or alive, often provide examples of mobilities that upset established orders. Third, it scrutinizes the importance of logistics as a process and logic that moves things, people and animals around the world. Finally, the report reflects on the practices of off-shoring and outsourcing as mobility-based practices that are proving controversial in the current political and economic climate. The conclusion reflects on the centrality of security to all of these themes and to mobility studies in general.
Calls for a political ecology of health have recently emerged in geography. This article builds on these to suggest a practice of a political ecology of health by incorporating the insights of medical anthropology, STS, and history of medicine. Framed around three perspectives – partial and situated knowledges, Marxist-feminist approaches, more-than-human geographies of health – this article argues that incorporating the insights of political ecology and cognate disciplines into the problems we investigate and the methods we use will make for a stronger practice of a political ecology of health.
In a rapidly changing transnational eduscape, it is timely to consider how best to conceptualize international education. Here we argue for a conceptual relocation from international student to international study as a means to bridge the diverse literatures on international education. International study also enables recognition of the multiple contributions (and resistances) of international students as agents of knowledge formation; it facilitates consideration of the mobility of students in terms of circulations of knowledge; and it is a means to acknowledge the complex spatialities of international education, in which students and educators are emotionally and politically networked together through knowledge contributions.
Animal geographies challenge not only the place and placing of the human and the animal but, critically, the methods we use to engage with both in relation. This second review considers the various methodological implications of a more-than-human geography and explores the innovative approaches that animal geographers employ to speak with non-human animals.
One of the more familiar tropes in development-related literature is that impoverished people are neither passive recipients of development nor passive victims of process that have caused their marginalization. This progress report examines two ways in which research has elaborated on this idea, namely the collective responses to the causes of deprivation on one hand and the collective effects of uncoordinated responses on the other. The first theme has been reanimated by remarkable mobilizations across the world, including revolutions, widespread expressions of frustration, demands for more substantive inclusion into society and distributional systems, and mobilizations to enhance autonomy through self-organization. The second theme considers how those regarded as being in need of development transform society beyond the frame of social movements, through the often uncoordinated appropriation of space for living and working at a scale which invalidates, to varying degrees, efforts by elites to control and exclude. While these two themes seem at times to be placed in normative competition with each other, many researchers recognize the exchanges and overlaps between different forms of development by the poor.
This article is concerned with the environmental dimensions of rescaling. Specifically, it explores debates around centralization and decentralization, introduces a key distinction between rescaling to jurisdictional spaces and ecosystem spaces, and suggests three future research trajectories: (1) analytical clarification of the differences between rescaling to natural versus jurisdictional scales; (2) examination of rescaling in light of its attendant process of creating new objects of governance; and (3) investigation of rescaling processes through a temporal lens, with the suggestion that rescaled environmental governance may be the site of some of the first and last manifestations of neoliberal governance reforms.
The geographic study of mortality is enjoying a renaissance. This is indicated by the growing number of studies on necropolitics, thanatopolitics, ‘deathscapes’, and the inequalities of premature death. Population geographers, however, have contributed little to the broader theoretical conceptualization – and spatiality – of mortality. Previously, I encouraged population geographers to reflect on the survivability of vulnerable populations. In this second progress report, I extend this focus through a reconsideration of mortality from the standpoint of survivability. As a discipline, population geography has long engaged with the concept of ‘premature’ death; here it is indicated how this concept is intimately bound to the modernist ordering of life that dominates our contemporary understanding of bodies and populations. First, I reflect on the embodiment of mortality, and this is followed by a critical engagement with the ‘bio-logics’ of life and death. I maintain that population geography is well positioned to contribute to ongoing debates regarding who lives, who dies, and who decides.
Human geographers actively studied ports in past decades. However, the extent to which port geography constituted a specific research stream within human geography remained largely unanswered. By reviewing 399 port papers published in major geography journals, the authors critically investigated the trends and changing tides of port geography research. The findings point out the emergence of the core community shifting from mainstream geography research to increasing connection with other disciplines, notably transport studies. The paper offers a progressive view on human geographers’ abilities to form a research community on port development, while identifying opportunities in the pursuit of collaboration between different academic disciplines.
Although it has been a recognized tendency in human geography and socio-legal studies for nearly 20 years, the project of legal geography has expanded significantly in the last five years in terms of participants, topics of investigation, and theoretical elaboration. This initial report on legal geography emphasizes recent work by geographers, especially younger scholars, and is addressed to the wider community of human geographers. It seeks to convey a sense of the expanded scope of research over the last few years through a discussion of key themes of constitutivity, complexity, and contingency. It suggests that, in many cases, closer critical scrutiny of the involvement of distinctively legal phenomena in the events of particular interest to human geographers can open up productive lines of inquiry that are foreclosed by the conventional neglect of the legal in human geography.
Geographical research into migrants’ use of transnational space has contributed towards the materialization of a purely metaphorical construct. A largely separate literature on borders has sought to ‘transnationalize’ the border by identifying how control practices move away from the physical border line. This paper brings these developing approaches together. The various ways in which state institutions attempt to control transnational relations require some account of control mechanisms that surpass the state’s current territorial limits. Three techniques of control are identified from the literature review – physical, symbolic and imaginative. These are explored in two case studies.
This first report identifies key trends in mobilities research during late 2012 and 2013. Using the 150th anniversary of the London Underground as its launching point, the article explores a number of academic engagements with its history, as well as identifying the lack of research on underground or underwater mobilities. It then examines recent work which might be considered to provide creative or experimental engagements with and meditations on movement, including urban exploration, poetry, art and film. The final section examines recent work on mobility, politics, exclusion, marginalization and privilege, including work on forced, elite and family mobilities.
Working with Indigenous peoples has stretched geographers’ presumptions about appropriate modes of engagement and representation. Early feminist geography prompted methodological experimentation that exercised significant and lasting influence on the discipline. The politics of working with Indigenous peoples yields similarly significant insights about research leadership and methodological choices that are now recognized more widely. We juxtapose the prevailing ethnographic and collaborative approaches to researching Indigenous peoples against Indigenes’ preference for leading research into their lives. Ethical concerns about recent geographical research suggest a need to reconceptualize participation, action and representation.
In this report I propose to examine the concept of the ‘smart city’ from the standpoint of spatial enablement. I analyse emerging research on smart cities, particularly those addressing the potential role of GISciences in the development and implementation of the concept of smart cities. I develop the idea that the intelligence of a city should be measured by its ability to produce favourable conditions to get urban operators (citizens, organizations, private companies, etc.) actively involved into sociospatial innovation dynamics. To obtain such a commitment, I believe that operators should be able to develop and mobilize (digital) spatial skills so that they could efficiently manage their spatiality. In other words, I argue that a smart city is first of all a spatially enabled city.
In this paper we present an analysis of the German legal and political theorist Carl Schmitt as a spatial thinker whose work contains many elements relevant to the concerns of political geography. In examining his fundamental concern with how to ground modern political order without theological foundation, we identify a conceptual matrix between space, political order and conflict that underpins his thought. Charting the development of his spatial theory across his work, we focus on two key spatial moments from immediately before and after the Second World War: first, his theory of Großraum (‘greater space’) order as a reformulation of global order after the eclipse of the state and its complicated entanglements with Nazi spatial thinking and expansionism in eastern Europe; second, his notion of nomos, developed after the war to embrace both a geo-elemental spatial ontology and an account of the rise and fall of Eurocentric global order. We conclude by noting Schmitt’s failure to move beyond an understanding of order grounded on spatial division and his increasing retreat into eschatological fantasy as global spatio-political relations became increasingly more complex in the late 20th century.
For some time now, calls have been made for a more adequate theorization of the state and institutional frameworks in work on global production networks (GPNs) and global value chains (GVCs). However, despite claims in GPN research that institutional contexts matter, there remains an absence of theoretical frameworks on the state in GPNs. Consequently, understanding of the relations between state action and the changing geographies of production networks remains in its infancy. This paper explores a strategic-relational understanding of the state and the rearticulation of scales of state formation to understand the dynamics of global production networks in macro-regional spaces.
This paper synthesizes recent insights from geography, science and technology studies and related disciplines concerning organizations and organizational learning at the science-policy interface. The paper argues that organizations do not exist and evolve in isolation, but are co-produced through networked connections to other spaces, bodies and practices. Furthermore, organizations should not be studied as stable entities, but are constantly in-the-making. This co-productionist perspective on organizations and organizing has implications for how geographers theorize, study and intervene in organizations at the science-policy interface with respect to encouraging learning and change and in the roles we adopt within and around such organizations.
This essay explores the scope for greater engagement between human geographers and archaeologists, by taking a first step towards identifying convergences in theoretical development and possible topics for dialogue. Focusing on cultural geography and contemporary archaeology, I examine the changing role of matter and time within the field of archaeology. In doing so, I reflect on the opportunities for dialogue that are opened up as archaeologists rethink a series of ideas that have for many years remained fundamental to archaeological endeavour.
Urban agriculture is a broad term which describes food cultivation and animal husbandry on urban and peri-urban land. Grassroots as well as institution-led urban agricultural projects are currently mushrooming in the cities of the Global North, reshaping urban landscapes, experimenting with alternatives to the capitalist organization of urban life and sometimes establishing embryonic forms of recreating the Commons. While this renewed interest in land cultivation and food production is attracting increasing interest in a wide range of disciplines – from planning to landscape and cultural studies – it remains a very marginal and almost unexplored field of human geography. Nonetheless, beyond the rhetoric of sustainability and health, urban agriculture raises several relevant questions of interest for a critical geographer. Starting by drawing a map of concepts and theories available in an interdisciplinary literature, and highlighting fields of possible inquiry, this paper aims to define the scope of and an initial agenda for a critical geography of urban agriculture.
This paper remaps the geographies of terrorism. Everyday terrorism (domestic violence) and global terrorism are related attempts to exert political control through fear. Geographical research on violence neatly reflects the disproportionate recognition and resourcing that global terrorism receives from the state. The paper explores the parallels, shared foundations and direct points of connection between everyday and global terrorisms. It does so across four interrelated themes: multiscalar politics and securities, fear and trauma, public recognition and recovery, and the inequitable nature of counter-terrorisms. It concludes with implications for addressing terrorisms and for future research.
Recent cultural geographic research, located at a variety of settings (laboratory, clinic, battlefield, container port), has emphasized culture’s productive dimensions through studies of the linked construction of nature, culture, and technologies. In this second of three reports, I examine a range of scholarship that asks in different ways what it means to be formative in the production of nature, and I discuss the implications of recent efforts to rethink culture as a form of productivity. Some of this formative cultural work is scientific and intellectual, and geographers have sought to understand the practices of scientists, medical researchers, folklorists, and others engaged in the work of producing new objects of nature, culture, and the human body. Their work suggests that science and other modern forms of expertise perform a peculiar kind of cultural work in the production of nature, carving out and occupying positions of privileged, albeit still contested, ontological actors. I also note recent efforts to reconceptualize broad categories of space, surface, and ‘land’ around similarly generative cultures of knowledge and innovation, reflecting related ontological concerns for engaging with culture, ‘culturing’, and cultivation as productive processes. I argue that questions of technology remain inseparably tied to constructions of nature, and that technology still has much to disclose in terms of its cultural geographies.
This paper examines the relationship of actor-network theory (ANT) and economic geography, arguing that there has been a rather restrictive, sometimes ambiguous reading of ANT literature. It reviews three major lines of reception in economic geography around the themes of topological space, translation and performativity. Subsequently, the paper problematizes conflicting interpretations of ‘network’ and ‘power’ as central ANT terms. In an attempt to open up new avenues of engagement with ANT, it finally sketches an agenda around three themes that are of relevance both for economic geography and for human geography more broadly: hybridity, desire and fluidity.
The study of violence has increasing academic purchase. However, the academic treatment of violence imparts an ontological status that masks violence from critical scrutiny. We argue for the social sciences to (re)theorize violence and to develop a dialectics of violence. Our purpose is to provide a space for dialogue, to open a broader debate within the social sciences on the theoretical determination of violence. We advocate for a new approach to violence that eschews the development of essentializing typologies or generalized explanations of violence as an epiphenomenon of society.
Human geographers, and collaborators in cognate disciplines, have taken the lead in critiquing a wave of optimistic thinking about the relationship between migration and development that has emerged over the past two decades. This paper reviews and synthesizes recent human geographical and related critiques, arguing that they constitute a ‘new migration-and-development pessimism’, the main contentions of which are: (1) that the new optimism is not really new; (2) that it is partially driven by hidden political and economic agendas; and (3) that it is distorted by simplification and exaggeration.
The study investigates how the arts and humanities facilitate the recovery of places following catastrophe. It contends that personal engagements with humanistic activities enable place-making by helping to restore relations among mind, body, and environment at an individual scale while also producing forms that circulate to help reinstate place at collective scales. Evidence from research conducted in and on Haiti following its 2010 earthquake supports the argument.
The global financial and more widely economic crisis which began in 2007–2008 has been a crisis indelibly of political economy. This fact has led scholars of finance ‘back’ to political economy, where geographers’ interest in finance first materialized in the 1980s. In this light, this article reviews recent work on the geographical political economy of the crisis, highlighting such work’s main themes, contributions and lacunae. It shows that this work has been powerfully influenced by developments in geographical political economy, and by the latter’s engagement with alternative intellectual traditions, over the past three decades. But it argues also that the attempt to theorize and document the place of finance within geographical political economy remains very much an ongoing project.
A dominant discourse in contemporary rural debate relates to food. Deliberated in multiple and complex ways, the conversation vacillates between issues of food sustainability, security, type and provenance, to those of food scarcity, access and safety. Further compounding this complexity, food is equally central to discourses of energy, climate change, biofuels, production patterns, land use and a ‘21st-century land rush’. The use and management of rural resources consequently finds itself near the top of current political, social, economic and environmental agendas. However, while there have been limited contributions by rural geographers on food-related issues, there is no doubting that the oft-declared challenge of providing safe and secure food supplies, and feeding a growing world population, has witnessed increased vigour of engagement. This report explores this engagement, deliberating on the promotion of a ‘new productivism’, the endorsement of the role of GMOs (genetically modified organisms) in securing food supplies, the escalation of global land grabs, and the subsequent impacts on sustainable rural futures.
The article heeds recent calls for closer attention to the geographies of markets. Speaking primarily to a rich tradition of geographical political economy, it argues that such geographies are highly material to value and profit creation and realization. In developing this argument, the article invokes the concept of a ‘territorial fix’, whereby territory is conceptualized as a technology of market-making geared to putting in place and optimizing the conditions for capital accumulation. The article draws selectively and critically on studies of territorialized market formation and pricing in two globalized industries – pharmaceuticals and television – to formulate this argument.
Scholarly work in geography has often fallen short of establishing the politicized connections between socio-ecological pressures, spatial dynamics and the changing patterns of the state apparatus. It is still necessary to better examine the failures of the responses to ecological problems in relation to the underlying politico-ideological factors that constrain state interventions. Environmental governance has been particularly influenced by Hegelian political theories about flexibility and legitimacy. The persistence of problems largely derives from the idealism of the Hegelian constitutional plan, which has facilitated the advance of capitalism over the more-than-human spheres of socionature mediated and promoted by the contemporary state.
The long superficial engagement of literary scholars with the cartographic lexicon (under the label of literary ‘spatial turn’) has led to a need for a ‘recartographization’ of the field. This tendency, however, still remains primarily embedded within analytical (‘cartography of literature’) or critical (‘critical literary cartography’) approaches, and fails to engage the recent development of post-representational rethinking of maps. Literary criticism, with its creative use of mapping words, and, above all, literary texts, with their involvement of practising maps, should be reconsidered as relevant sources for cartographic theorization and mapping research.
In education and creative industries, ordinary workplaces and everyday life, curiosity is widely regarded as a good thing, worthy of encouragement and support. This raises practical questions about how to be more curious and encourage curiosity in others. To bring these questions into focus, it helps to think geographically, asking: how can we find and make ‘space’ for curiosity? But curiosity is not simply a practical problem. Through spaces for curiosity, it is possible to raise more fundamental questions about what curiosity is and what it can be: about who can be curious, and what curiosity is for.
Drawing on evidence from the Global North and South, this paper explores the power dynamics of domestic kitchens in different geographical contexts. Noting the gendered nature of domesticity, it contrasts those perspectives which regard women’s primary responsibility for foodwork as inherently oppressive, with others which see kitchens and associated domestic spaces as sites of potential empowerment for women. The paper explores the complex, spatially-distributed, character of power surrounding domestic foodwork, decentring Anglo-American understandings of the relationship between gender, power and domestic space by foregrounding the experiences of a range of women from across the globe. The paper also examines the increasing role of men in domestic settings, particularly in the Global North, assessing the extent to which their engagement in cooking and other domestic practices may be challenging conventional understandings of the relationship between gender, power and space. Focusing on the spatial dynamics of the domestic kitchen, this paper advances a more nuanced understanding of the co-constitutive nature of the relationship between gender and power, including the instabilities and slippages that occur in the performance of various domestic foodwork tasks. The paper advocates future research on the boundaries of home, work and leisure, focusing on their significance in the constitution and transformation of male and female subjectivities.
Resilience is an ecological term that has proven to be exceedingly malleable as it has grown in usage across a range of scholarly and policy communities. Despite its malleability, resilience does introduce particular ideas of society-nature relations into scholarly and policy discourse. In this political ecology progress report, I explore the relationship between political ecology and resilience thinking. I first explore common features of the intellectual histories of resilience thinking and political ecology. Despite parallel and common influences and reactions, the two fields diverge significantly along two dimensions: in their normative commitments and adherence to systems thinking. Given these divergences, I argue that intellectual engagement between these fields will prove to be most productive if circumscribed around land-use ecology – an area of inquiry important to both fields.
This is the golden age of philanthropy. Over the 55-year period 1998–2052, bequests to charity in the USA alone are estimated to be between $109 and $454 billion per year. This paper exhorts geographers to give critical attention to less-than-charitable consequences of the so-called ‘new philanthropy’ among the super-rich. It sets out a number of areas that appear to warrant critical geographical inquiry, including: bonds between philanthropic engagement and place; diaspora philanthropy; jurisdictional taxation arrangements favouring the wealthy and super-rich; characteristics of culturally variegated philanthropy; and philanthropy’s geographical links with spaces of exploitation and territories of guilt.
This paper examines the deployment of nonviolence within critical geopolitics. It contends that geographers’ engagements with nonviolence lack grounding, often sliding towards ethical appeals for people’s responsive commitments. Building on Judith Butler’s notion of ‘precarious lives’, I underscore the emotional impetuses through which nonviolence can be harnessed as a concrete pathway for social change. ‘Precarious geopolitics’ as I call it, represents a geopolitics that is sensitive and sympathetic to the claims of nonviolence and a subdiscipline that can seize the opportune juncture truly to reposition itself as one of the arts of peace.
A key focus for geographical and policy work on obesity has involved interrogating the concept of an ‘obesogenic environment’ – an environment with particular physical, social and economic characteristics considered to contribute towards the propensity of bodies to be or to become obese/fat. Alongside this, Critical Geographies of Obesity/Fatness challenge the classification of fat bodies as diseased and in need of intervention by drawing attention to the politics surrounding the governance of fatness and the multiple experiences of body size. In this article, we place these strands of geographical work alongside each other in order to develop Critical Geographies of Obesogenic Environments. In so doing, we not only set out the main tenets of work in geography on obesity/fatness but also raise specific questions about how bodies, environments and body-environment interactions have been conceptualized and researched. We do so in order to develop and present three research trajectories for Critical Geographies of Obesogenic Environments which will allow geographical research to engage within obesity/fatness more carefully, reflexively and critically. Specifically, this involves: redefining obesogenic environments not as environments that make bodies fat, but as environments that make fat bodies problematic; engaging sensitively with the multiplicities of fat embodied experience; and considering alternative theoretical frameworks in order to avoid the pitfalls of environmental determinism.
It has been over 15 years since the term ‘urban political ecology’ (UPE) was coined. While still often not incorporated into larger discussion of political ecology, its growing visibility in the published literature suggests that it has gone beyond an emerging theoretical lens to one that has fully emerged. This report characterizes the current literature that explicitly utilizes the language of UPE, discusses its theoretical evolution that is now seeing a second wave, as well as catalogs some of the new arenas through which the sub-field has offered novel insights into the socionatural unevenness of cities. A central contribution of this survey is to illustrate the myriad articulations of how urban environmental and social change co-determine each other and how these metabolic processes offer insights into creative pathways toward more democratic urban environmental politics.
This report considers recent developments and ongoing debates around relational economic geography, and a growing body of work that has focused on economic practices as a means better to understand production processes and economic development. In particular, it examines the critical reaction to relational thinking within the subdiscipline, and the nature of the debate about the degree to which relational work is – and needs to be – regarded as distinct from more traditional approaches to economic geography. It then considers how relational economic geography has become inflected towards an epistemological and methodological focus on practice. It argues that this engagement with economic practices provides the basis to respond to some of the limitations identified with earlier work, and opens up fruitful new potential for theorizing the nature of agency in the space economy.
Health geographers have generally been content to adopt measures of distance, access and the lack of resources as the metrics of social (in)justice without critically placing their research in a framework of social justice. The purpose of this review is twofold: first, to examine recent research in health geography under three themes – access to care, neighbourhoods, and health and environmental justice; second, to introduce a debate about idealist theory as a way of introducing a theory of social justice into health geography which might prove valuable to underpin what many health geographers are trying to do in their research on access to care, neighbourhoods, and health and environmental justice.
Resilience is everywhere in contemporary debates about global environmental change. The application of resilience concepts to social and ecological systems and dilemmas has been roundly critiqued for under-theorizing social dimensions, and human geographers particularly have been an important critical voice in highlighting the omission of social, political and cultural dynamics from different resilience literatures. Here I examine whether and how resilience theory and applications are addressing these shortcomings and incorporating these social and political dimensions. My premise is that within the emerging field of resilience there are many voices expressing multiple and often contested interpretations and meanings. The field is rapidly evolving and new ideas are being tested and introduced. Importantly, resilience is here to stay and is being widely taken up and applied in policy and practice. I review theoretical and empirical published research across fields of geography, environmental change, natural resource management, and international development, concentrating on new work since 2010. I examine three emerging topics: community resilience; transformations; and resilience as an organizing concept for radical change. I find that there is still relatively little analysis of social difference and resilience, and there are continuing tensions between normative and analytical stances on resilience. These characteristics are mirrored in policy discourses and local level actions on resilience.
This paper calls for a re-engagement by geographers with the concept of social capital as a vehicle for framing narratives about socio-economic processes in context. Social capital theory is reviewed to illustrate how the desire for simplicity and parsimony in economics results in abstract theories of the social that erase context and reduce space to a static form. Going beyond this critique, a geographical framework is proposed for a revised social capital research agenda to produce social capital narratives grounded in the everyday practices of power, played out in real-world, sociospatial contexts.
Harnessing the cartographic attributes of line, contour and legend, this paper generates a conceptual vocabulary attentive to the proliferation in everyday mapping. By developing theoretical work that questions the representational certitude of cartography, the paper argues that attention needs to be focused on the non-representational vectors of mapping. This is to establish the grounds for future empirical research into quotidian cartographies and their politics. Instead of categorizing these variegated, mapping practices as either ‘counter’ or ‘indigenous’ movements, the notion of ‘vernacular mapping’ is proposed as one way in which geographers might begin to encounter the vibrant micropolitics of contemporary cartography.
This paper reviews existing approaches to military landscapes, establishing the field’s breadth and variety. It suggests areas for future military landscape research around virtual military landscapes, and considers the landscape effects of military privatization and outsourcing, landscape issues pertaining to non-state military actors, the endurance and effects of post-military landscapes, and the role of landscapes of peace and reconciliation. The paper discusses practices of military landscape exploration, and the contributions that they bring to emergent critical approaches in military studies. The paper argues for the continued validity and specificity of terminologies associated with the category of ‘military’ in the study of such landscapes.
This progress report surveys recent work in human geography on the resource-state nexus. This choice reflects several contemporary trends in the governance of land, water and energy resources that, taken together, suggest a renewed significance of the state: examples include resource ‘scrambles’ and land and water ‘grabs’, and calls for state intervention in the face of perceived food, energy and resource shortages. The report examines research themes and conceptual frameworks emerging at the resource-state nexus within human geography, and is organized into two sections. The first highlights research that unpacks processes of resource-making and state-making through close attention to scientific and political practices. The second section considers research examining the state’s role as a significant ‘extra-economic’ actor, enabling resource mobilization and capital accumulation. The report concludes with a brief summary.
The role of institutions in the promotion (or hindrance) of regional development has attracted increasing attention from scholars and policy-makers. This paper reviews recent contributions to this debate before sketching elements of a research agenda which addresses some key conjectural, methodological and political issues.
Addressing the question ‘does using the term "Other" in relation to geographies of love flatten out difference?’ we argue that, while it may have this potential, it can also recognize collectivity (which is not necessarily the same as uniformity) among people. Politics involves working out which differences matter, when and where. Critiquing oppositional categories such as Self/Other (also love/hate, universal/particular) may do more to prompt critical understandings of love as spatial, relational and political rather than simply throwing out the term ‘Other’.
Research into the geographies of sound and music has developed over the last 20 years, yet such work largely remains reliant on conventional verbal-textual methods of data collection and dissemination. In this paper, we conduct a review of current approaches to sonic research, demonstrating that the erasure of audio media within geography silences a rich seam of empirical data. As a result, we propose that phonographic methods – including listening, audio recording and playback – need to be developed further. We consider a range of epistemological implications of phonographic methods, and possible future directions for their development in human geography.
I consider the iconic place of the urban gay neighborhood across the literature. Noting, but also qualifying, its early preponderance, I trace its relative decline as both an empirical concern and also a theoretical one. I argue that this trend reflects a queer pluralization of ‘sexuality’ as well as a growing sophistication of how geographers handle place and scale. There has been a resurgence of interest in the ‘gayborhood’, however, within and beyond geography, and so I consider this counter trend in relation to the changing structurations of sexualities and space, as well as the forces pushing to maintain such zones in the city.
Studies of ‘food deserts’, neighborhoods in which healthy food is expensive and/or difficult to find, have received much recent political attention. These studies reflect the popularity of a social ecology in public health, rising concerns over an obesity ‘epidemic’, and the increasing ease of spatial analysis using geographic information systems (GIS). This paper critically examines these areas, arguing that work on food deserts is a spatialized form of neoliberal paternalism that bounds health problems within low-income communities. Alternative analyses of the urban food landscape, based on work in political ecology and critical GIS, may suggest more equitable paths forward.
This response to Morrison et al.’s work on love focuses on the uncritical use of ‘the Other’ in geographic scholarship and in geographies of affect and emotion more centrally. While broadly sympathetic to the arguments outlined in ‘Critical geographies of love as spatial, relational, and political’, I am concerned that in trying to critique the social sciences for an uncritical account of love the authors may fall into the same essentialist trap. The accounting of a singular and amorphous ‘Other’ in geographic scholarship flattens out difference and creates exclusionary boundaries that reinforce theoretical and subjective divisions that become sutured to the workings of white supremacy both within the discipline and also in wider society.
Animal geographies has emerged over the last 15 years as a lively and provocative area of current human/non-human geographical research and scholarship. Yet, while the ‘animal turn’ has arguably impacted widely across a range of social sciences and the humanities, for ‘human’ geography it offers what is potentially a far more fundamental and profound reconfiguration of the discipline’s traditional ontological and epistemological reach, not least given the challenge that the ‘animal’ brings to the exclusivity of geography’s adjectival humanism. This article is the first of three reports on animal geographies. It sets out the development of the subdiscipline, from the mid-1990s onwards, and charts the emergence of what has become a distinctive and innovative field with increasing interdisciplinary connections.
This paper argues that human geography has neglected the issue of ‘missing people’. Following an introduction, the paper uses four thematics, ‘mapping, searching, feeling and moving’, in order to explore a range of responses to missing absence and missing experience. It argues that attention to the voices of returned adult missing people would help establish new emotional geographies of embodied absence which would complement, and in places challenge, ‘left behind’ knowledges of absence. It is also argued that ‘peopling’ missing research would enable sensitive reconstructions of missing mobilities which both (1) challenge operational categorizations and cartographies of missing people as disembodied units, and (2) contribute to conceptual reassessments of disruptive human mobilities.
In our third and final report, we again prioritize the open embrace of methodological differences, seeking to span the qualitative-quantitative chasm in different ways. Amid broad focus on methodological newness, we review the importance of enduring methods such as interviewing and mapping. Amid efforts to make data and publications openly available, we review efforts to include communities in participatory research. Amid the emergence of data-extensive studies, which some call the fourth paradigm, we highlight the continuing importance of ‘small’ data and methodological pluralism.
At a time of ongoing crisis and transformation in financial relations, structures and processes, it would be all too easy to limit our geographical explorations of finance to the narrow temporal window of the early-twenty-first-century here-and-now. Fortunately, recent years have seen the publication of a number of studies that examine geographies of finance in a much wider array of historical contexts. This article reports on the findings of such studies. Reading them in the light of Foucault’s injunction to write histories explicitly of the present, it argues that they provide an essential historical-geographical foundation for understanding the more immediate geographies of contemporary – and perhaps future – financial worlds.
This first of three progress reports on the subdiscipline of political geography reviews recent scholarship on the transformation of geographies of sovereignty. The piece offers a review of major analytical themes that have emerged in recent geographical analyses of sovereignty. These themes include the design of spatial metaphors through which to conceptualize sovereignty, US exceptionalism and the influence of Agamben’s work, productive blurring of onshore and offshore operations and productions of sovereign power, and debate about the kinds of power operating through these newly constituted global topographies of power. The text also visits five kinds of sites where contemporary struggles over sovereignty manifest: prison, island, sea, body, and border. After reviewing recent trends, themes, and locations in studies of sovereign power, recommendations for future research topics are made.
This article engages the platform of critical geopolitics through conceptual clarification of the debates around chronopolitics (the politics of time). It argues that the current literature has either reduced it to the dynamic of ‘speed’ or the ‘modern’ time consciousness in geopolitics. After re-emphasizing a narrative understanding of temporality and a non-dichotomous conception of space and time, the article highlights the heterotemporality of geopolitical discourse. It suggests that chronopolitics should be understood not as an alternative to geopolitics but as one of its crucial elements – and one that can also be found in the project of a critical geopolitics.
While ‘neoliberalization’ is increasingly used to conceptualize concrete realities of China’s economic development, it is not employed in dialectical relation with China’s prevailing developmental ideology – ‘socialism with Chinese characteristics’. This paper offers a fresh framework and research agenda from which to examine this relation. It argues that neoliberalization across China is a variegated process, formed and fractured by actually existing uneven state spatiality and the Communist Party of China’s (CPC) ostensibly contradictory historicization of a Marxian socialist end-state. How neoliberalization works simultaneously in/through multiple sites in China and consequently reproduces the CPC’s ideological legitimacy has become a theoretically significant question for research on geographical political economy.
Research on alternative economic and political spaces seeks to expose the diversity of economic forms in the landscape. However, this research has become detached from questions of territory and regionalism. Radical scholars are revisiting the relationship between anarchism, populist movements and territory, potentially opening up a discussion about alternative regionalisms. This report examines the potential for marrying the analysis of alternatives with critical-theoretical work on regionalism and territory.
This paper replies to Kong’s (2010) lament that geographers of religion have not sufficiently intervened in religious studies. It advocates ‘grounded theologies’ as a rubric by which to investigate contemporary geographies of religion in a secular age. Arguing that secularization can itself be conceived as a theological process, the paper critiques a religious/secular dichotomy and argues that individualized spiritualities presently prevalent are indicative of Taylor’s (2007) nova effect of proliferating grounded theologies. Case studies are drawn from social and cultural geographies of religious intersectionalities and from critical geopolitics.
I present a defence of parochialism against the claims of cosmopolitanism and in the context of debates about the relational accounts of place. Against normative claims that local attachments and territorial sense of belonging lead to exclusion and cultural atrophy, the paper suggests that the local, its cultures and its solidarities are a moral starting point and a locus of ecological concern in all human societies and at all moments of history. I explore this idea by reference to art and literature, especially poetry. This analysis suggests that local identities should be understood contextually; there is no necessary relation between local forms of identity and practices of exclusion. The paper shows how the virtue of parochialism is expressed in art with a universal appeal. I conclude, therefore, that we need more detailed studies of real local identities, which avoid a presumption of disdain.
The subject of ‘population’ is undergoing a renaissance in geography; this is seen, for example, in the voluminous studies addressing ‘marginalized’ populations, including but not limited to refugees, internally displaced persons, and children. In short, scholarship has focused on those lives rendered ‘wasted’, ‘precarious’, or ‘superfluous’. Population geographers have made substantial contributions; however, more can be done. In this and the next two progress reports, I suggest that population geographers reflect more deeply on the spatiality and survivability of vulnerable populations. More specifically, population geographers should consider the politics of fertility, mortality, and mobility from the standpoint of a layered demographic question: within any given place, who lives, who dies, and who decides? In this first report, I resituate the concept ‘surplus population’ within the broader domain of population geography. In subsequent reports, I consider more closely population geography’s association with related subject areas (i.e. biopolitics and necropolitics). I maintain that, by addressing vulnerability and survivability, we join others in geography and allied fields who are writing about ‘populations’ not as biological, pre-given entities, but instead as political subjects at risk of premature death.
Political geographers have significantly contributed to understandings of the spatialities of Europeanization. We review some of this work, while also highlighting research themes where further political-geographic research would be insightful. We note the importance of work that captures both the diverse expressions and meanings attributed to Europe, European integration and ‘European power’ in different places within and beyond the EU, and the variegated manifestations of ‘Europeanizing’ processes across these different spaces. We also suggest that political-geographic research can add crucial input to reconceptualizing European integration as well as Europeanization as it now unfolds in a time of ‘crisis’.
The debate on ‘sense of place’ has been widespread in geography since the mid-1970s, yet with few exceptions the analytical potential of this concept has not been fully realized as far as the study of migration movements is concerned. A major reason for this has been methodology, or specifically the difficulties in capturing and evaluating the relevance of ‘place’ for migration processes. From a multidisciplinary standpoint, the article assesses the potential of both qualitative and quantitative methodologies, and also identifies several conflicting aspects that arise when analysing senses of places and international migration, such as ‘scale’, ‘representation’, ‘sensibilities’ and ‘consciousness’.
In this paper, we develop tools for understanding political agency and political events as they unfold contextually in everyday life. We discuss alternative understandings of the subject so as to grasp the scope of the subject’s autonomy as the ground for political subjectivity. We conceive of political agency in terms of subjectivity related to subject positions offered in the flux of everyday life. To bring together political subject and action, we conceptualize the topological settings of political agency in terms of polis. To illustrate the analytical potential of our approach, we analyse a sequence in a movie by Ingmar Bergman.
Focused on religiogeographic practices in contemporary western paganism (neopaganism), this paper aims to fill a gap in the existing literature through a critical assessment of how neopagans imagine, delimitate, and interact with space, place, and territory. Employing a novel categorization of religious space along four overlapping geographies (numinous, poetic, social, and political), this essay addresses the need for geographers to produce publicly relevant studies that analyze religiously rooted ideologies and define cultural interpretations of places, terrains, and landscapes. Furthermore, I put forth a tentative research agenda for subsequent studies of how neopagans conceive of and interact with real and imagined geographies.
Rural areas are increasingly thought of in terms of opportunity, as engines of growth in a world of economic uncertainty, they are being challenged in terms of their role in providing safe and secure food supplies, and they are being lauded and criticized in terms of climate change and mitigation. The multiple scales of these discussions, and the intensity and increased volume of rural debate that has emerged, see rural geographers occupy an interesting space in terms of conceptualizations, engagement and understanding of rural livelihoods and rural sustainability. Through the lens of agriculture and related spheres, the principal issues pertaining to agriculture as a sectoral activity and an instrument of rural and regional development, this report explores rural geographers’ critique of agriculture and small-scale farming in sustainable rural futures and the changing expectations and contradictions that currently abound.
Since the mid-1990s, a number of governments in the global South have instituted programmes which provide regular cash grants to poor people. The results of cash transfer programmes have impressed those searching for ways to improve welfare: the depth of poverty has been reduced, more children are being educated and vaccinated, and the poor are more likely to get jobs and start enterprises. Advocates of social democracy are hopeful that this heralds the possibility of comprehensive social protection. Experiments in welfare in the global South do not, however, inevitably signal an epochal shift to a postneoliberal era. They form part of an increasingly heterodox approach which combines an enduring emphasis on liberalized economic growth with bolder biopolitical interventions for the poor.
Recent times have witnessed a growing belief in urban spaces as ‘assemblages’ produced through interwoven and spatially differentiated forces that converge at particular sites. There is also continuing interest in the nature of neoliberal tendencies and the rise of post-politics and democracy in urban governance. These accounts typically lack attention towards the comprehensive conceptualization of the heterogeneous logics and mechanics of relations and negotiations between actors. This paper seeks to advance these perspectives by exploring the potential contribution of French pragmatism thinking to how social life is produced through practical dialogue between actors through critique, argumentation and justification.
Required to negotiate a transcultural present in which their rights and opportunities are circumscribed by the pleadings of multicultural others, Indigenous peoples have attracted attention for their approaches to alliance-building, responsible co-existence and self-determined care. In this second report on Indigenous geographies