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(en) France, Alternative Libertair #222 - Research and struggles: Geography, it also serves to make the Social War (fr) [machine translation]

Date Fri, 14 Dec 2012 18:30:07 +0200

A new wind blow it on geography? The question may seem surprising because reading textbooks leaves little room for critique. Provided there are critical currents in this discipline ... Geography, it also serves to make the Social War [1] ---- Symposium on "Space and social relations of domination, research sites", held on 20 and 21 September at the University of Marne-la-Vallée, a good example and allows to feed many hopes. [2] -- He first made a strong act of affirmation of radical and critical currents not only in geography, but also the social sciences. Fifty researchers reported their work in various fields. Thus the workshop "Managing the poor instead of fighting poverty" has attempted to deconstruct policy inspired more by a concern for policing a willingness to fight against inequality.

This discussion has been extended by another workshop entitled "The capitalist factory space" analyzing the mechanisms of privatization and urbanization driven by domination employers and councilors.

The dominant classes grow in the creation of global cities that concentrate powers financial, economic and political service logic of capitalist accumulation which is absurd as a social ecological perspective. This weakens the other areas (peri-urban areas, towns) while concentrating more and more wealth in the cities, not only increase by the phenomena of competitiveness between cities, which ultimately promotes the phenomena of privatization in planning, social policy and public services ... Among the targets of the participants there were also the notion of mobility is increasingly the injunction. It has been shown that most mobility (international migration, occupational mobility ...) are constrained and do not have much to do with freedom of movement and settlement that we can defend. Other interventions dealt with gender and nesting relationships of domination, or ecology and its struggles.

Thinking went far beyond thinking university curled up on itself. Throughout the conference, several interventions from the floor emphasized that undermine the social and spatial relations of domination could be limited to a review of the dominant and the dominated issue struggles es should occupy a Central this link is essential if you do not want radical critique is enclosed in a ghetto university. From this point of view the intervention of U.S. nationals geographer Don Mitchell [3] was enlightening. Recounting his journey, he explained how Marxist ideas, libertarian and radical environmentalists have become the majority in some departments of geography in the United States, but also how this current was isolated by cutting social movements in the 1980s and 1990. It seems that the message has been understood. This is what one might think, seeing the opportunities that emerge after the conference whose proceedings will be published. Organize meetings in a form other than the traditional academic conference, that is to say self in alternative spaces, with a reflection on the practices (including public speaking), the link with social movements, or write an anti-geography textbook for secondary education, an overview of the many proposals discussed. It remains only to pass the lab.

Laurent Esquerre (AL Paris North East)

To go further: An interview with two of the organizers in a number of books devoted to geography geographers critical http://www.carnetsdegeographes.org/

[1] See Yves Lacoste, Geography, it is, first to the war, 1976.

[2] The call for papers and the conference program: http://acp.univ-mlv.fr/

[3] Don Mitchell is a professor of geography at Syracuse University (New York, United States) and one of the leading figures of the American radical geography. See especially Cultural Geography: A Critical Introduction (2000) and The Right to the City: Social Justice and the Fight for Public Space (2003).
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