University of Georgia Press

Geographies of Justice and Social Transformation

Nik Heynen, Deborah Cowen, and Melissa W. Wright, Series Editors

Published by: University of Georgia Press

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Geographies of Justice and Social Transformation

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Social Justice and the City

David Harvey

Throughout his distinguished and influential career, David Harvey has defined and redefined the relationship between politics, capitalism, and the social aspects of geographical theory. Laying out Harvey’s position that geography could not remain objective in the face of urban poverty and associated ills, Social Justice and the City is perhaps the most widely cited work in the field.

Harvey analyzes core issues in city planning and policy—employment and housing location, zoning, transport costs, concentrations of poverty—asking in each case about the relationship between social justice and space. How, for example, do built-in assumptions about planning reinforce existing distributions of income? Rather than leading him to liberal, technocratic solutions, Harvey’s line of inquiry pushes him in the direction of a “revolutionary geography,” one that transcends the structural limitations of existing approaches to space. Harvey’s emphasis on rigorous thought and theoretical innovation gives the volume an enduring appeal. This is a book that raises big questions, and for that reason geographers and other social scientists regularly return to it.

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Spaces of Danger

Culture and Power in the Everyday

Edited by Heather Merrill and Lisa M. Hoffman With a foreword by Paul Rabinow

These twelve original essays by geographers and anthropologists offer a deep critical understanding of Allan Pred’s pathbreaking and eclectic cultural Marxist approach, with a focus on his concept of “situated ignorance”: the production and reproduction of power and inequality by regimes of truth through strategically deployed misinformation, diversions, and silences. As the essays expose the cultural and material circumstances in which situated ignorance persists, they also add a previously underexplored spatial dimension to Walter Benjamin’s idea of “moments of danger.”The volume invokes the aftermath of the July 2011 attacks by far-right activist Anders Breivik in Norway, who ambushed a Labor Party youth gathering and bombed a government building, killing and injuring many. Breivik had publicly and forthrightly declared war against an array of liberal attitudes he saw threatening Western civilization. However, as politicians and journalists interpreted these events for mass consumption, a narrative quickly emerged that painted Breivik as a lone madman and steered the discourse away from analysis of the resurgent right-wing racisms and nationalisms in which he was immersed.The Breivik case is merely one of the most visible recent examples, say editors Heather Merrill and Lisa Hoffman, of the unchallenged production of knowledge in the public sphere. In essays that range widely in topic and setting—for example, brownfield development in China, a Holocaust memorial in Germany, an art gallery exhibit in South Africa—this volume peels back layers of “situated practices and their associated meaning and power relations.” Spaces of Danger offers analytical and conceptual tools of a Predian approach to interrogate the taken-for-granted and make visible and legible that which is silenced.Contributors: Derek Gregory, Gillian Hart, Lisa M. Hoffman, Cindi Katz, Shiloh Krupar, Heather Merrill, Katharyne Mitchell, Gunnar Olsson, Damani J. Partridge, Nancy Postero, Paul Rabinow, Richard Walker, Michael J. Watts

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Territories of Poverty

Rethinking North and South

Edited by Ananya Roy and Emma Shaw Crane

Territories of Poverty challenges the conventional North-South geographies through which poverty scholarship is organized. Staging theoretical interventions that traverse social histories of the American welfare state and critical ethnographies of international development regimes, these essays confront how poverty is constituted as a problem. In the process, the book analyzes bureaucracies of poverty, poor people’s movements, and global networks of poverty expertise, as well as more intimate modes of poverty action such as volunteerism. From post-Katrina New Orleans to Korean church missions in Africa, this book is fundamentally concerned with how poverty is territorialized.In contrast to studies concerned with locations of poverty, Territories of Poverty engages with spatial technologies of power, be they community development and counterinsurgency during the American 1960s or the unceasing anticipation of war in Beirut. Within this territorial matrix, contributors uncover dissent, rupture, and mobilization. This book helps us understand the regulation of poverty— whether by globally circulating models of fast policy or vast webs of mobile money or philanthrocapitalist foundations—as multiple terrains of struggle for justice and social transformation.Contributors: Somaya Abdelgany, Vincanne Adams, Hiba Bou Akar, Teddy Cruz, Luis Flores, Alyosha Goldstein, Christina Gossmann, Akhil Gupta, Ju Hui Judy Han, Michael B. Katz, Erica Kohl-Arenas, Anh-Thi Le, Bill Maurer, Jamie Peck, Rebecca Peters, Ananya Roy, Stuart Schrader, Emma Shaw Crane, Nik Theodore, Stephanie Ullrich, Loïc Wacquant

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They Saved the Crops

Labor, Landscape, and the Struggle over Industrial Farming in Bracero-Era California

Don Mitchell

At the outset of World War II, California agriculture seemed to be on the cusp of change. Many Californians, reacting to the ravages of the Great Depression, called for a radical reorientation of the highly exploitative labor relations that had allowed the state to become such a productive farming frontier. But with the importation of the first braceros-guest workers from Mexico hired on an emergency basis after the United States entered the waran even more intense struggle ensued over how agriculture would be conducted in the state. Esteemed geographer Don Mitchell argues that by delineating the need for cheap, flexible farm labor as a problem and solving it via the importation of relatively disempowered migrant workers, an alliance of growers and government actors committed the United States to an agricultural system that is, in important respects, still with us.

They Saved the Crops is a theoretically rich and stylistically innovative account of grower rapaciousness, worker militancy, rampant corruption, and bureaucratic bias. Mitchell shows that growers, workers, and officials confronted a series of problems that shapedand were shaped bythe landscape itself. For growers, the problem was finding the right kind of labor at the right price at the right time. Workers struggled for survival and attempted to win power in the face of economic exploitation and unremitting violence. Bureaucrats tried to harness political power to meet the demands of, as one put it, the people whom we serve.

Drawing on a deep well of empirical materials from archives up and down the state, Mitchell's account promises to be the definitive book about California agriculture in the turbulent decades of the mid-twentieth century.

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Treme

Race and Place in a New Orleans Neighborhood

Michael E. Crutcher Jr.

Across Rampart Street from the French Quarter, the Faubourg Tremé neighborhood is arguably the most important location for African American culture in New Orleans. Closely associated with traditional jazz and “second line” parading, Tremé is now the setting for an eponymous television series created by David Simon (best known for his work on The Wire).
 
Michael Crutcher argues that Tremé’s story is essentially spatial—a story of how neighborhood boundaries are drawn and take on meaning and of how places within neighborhoods are made and unmade by people and politics. Tremé has long been sealed off from more prominent parts of the city, originally by the fortified walls that gave Rampart Street its name, and so has become a refuge for less powerful New Orleanians. This notion of Tremé as a safe haven—the flipside of its reputation as a “neglected” place—has been essential to its role as a cultural incubator, Crutcher argues, from the antebellum slave dances in Congo Square to jazz pickup sessions at Joe’s Cozy Corner.
 
Tremé takes up a wide range of issues in urban life, including highway construction, gentrification, and the role of public architecture in sustaining collective memory. Equally sensitive both to black-white relations and to differences within the African American community, it is a vivid evocation of one of America’s most distinctive places.

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