A Radical Geography Community
eight nine new book reviews to the site this month. Starting with the newest…
Greig Charnock (University of Manchester) on Werner Bonefeld’s Critical Theory and the Critique of Political Economy: On Subversion and Negative Reason – Antipode-author Charnock here makes the case for why geographers should look beyond their home discipline and embrace the challenge of Bonefeld’s “Open Marxism”; there’s much for historical-geographical materialists in this book on dialectics, primitive accumulation, class, time and value, the state and globalisation, and anti-capitalist movements.
Diarmaid Kelliher (University of Glasgow) on Evan Smith and Matthew Worley’s Against the Grain: The British Far Left From 1956 – an edited collection on more “traditional” left-wing groups in the UK and their relations with other movements, including women’s liberation, anti-racist, and lesbian and gay rights. Animated by oral histories, this lively volume will speak to the work of geographers on radical activism.
Helen Jarvis (Newcastle University) on Paul Chatterton’s Low Impact Living: A Field Guide to Ecological, Affordable Community Building – penned by an ex-editor, though subject to critical analysis here!, this book looks at a low impact, affordable housing community in Leeds, taking in everything from legal and financial matters, through participatory learning and design, to the minutiae of living together sustainably. There are lessons here for all of us.
Matt Huber (Syracuse University) on Naomi Klein’s This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs. the Climate – Huber offers a sympathetic critique of Klein’s latest intervention, questioning its language of “growth” (whither capital accumulation?), idealism (as if dealing with climate change were a matter of thinking differently…), and lack of global ambition (“militant particularisms” are necessary, but not by any stretch sufficient).
Bradley Garrett (University of Southampton) on Keller Easterling’s Extrastatecraft: The Power of Infrastructure Space – well known for his urban explorations, Garrett here considers a different kind of hacking, not of places but of what Easterling calls “infrastructure space”: the myriad extrastate networks that constrain and enable everyday life in all sorts of – too often unnoticed – ways.
David Hollanders (Tilburg University) on Fred Block and Margaret Somers’ The Power of Market Fundamentalism: Karl Polanyi’s Critique – though perhaps not a “key thinker on space and place”, Karl Polanyi’s presence in contemporary geography can’t go unnoticed. In this book his work is put to work to explain the persistence of “market fundamentalism” in our time of severe crisis, persistent unemployment, and widening inequality.
Geoffrey DeVerteuil (Cardiff University) on Danny Dorling’s Inequality and the 1% – speaking of inequality, the latest book from one of geography’s leading (or should that be “few”?!) public intellectuals offers some much-needed “empirical ammunition” to those contesting it, according to our reviewer. The author’s thoughts on moves “towards a fairer society” are found wanting, though: just what is to be done?
Raewyn Connell (University of Sydney) on Brenda Cooper and Robert Morrell’s Africa-Centred Knowledges: Crossing Fields and Worlds – tackling “struggles over meaing-making” and the “application” of new knowledges in policy and practice, this edited volume considers issues of collaboration, embodiment, gatekeeping, and global power in its accounts of emergent knowledges in/of the continent; accounts which cover time, music, nature, and much more besides.
Michael Punch (University College Dublin) on Gerry Kearns, David Meredith and John Morrissey’s Spatial Justice and the Irish Crisis – an anatomisation of Ireland’s neoliberal experiments, this is another edited volume that assembles an impressive cast of authors to understand a formidably complex landscape; one including everything from housing and environmental justice, through uneven development and health, to immigration and the future.