Understanding Cultural Geography: Places and Traces

Understanding Cultural Geography: Places and Traces

Jon Anderson

Language: English

Pages: 240

ISBN: 0415430550

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub


This new and comprehensive book offers a holistic introduction to cultural geography. It integrates the broad range of theories and practices of the discipline by arguing that the essential focus of cultural geography is place. The book builds an accessible and engaging configuration of this important concept through arguing that place should be understood as an ongoing composition of traces.

The book presents specific chapters outlining the history of cultural geography, before and beyond representation, as well as the methods and techniques of doing cultural geography. It investigates the places and traces of corporate capitalism, nationalism, ethnicity, youth culture and the place of the body. Throughout these chapters case study examples will be used to illustrate how these places are taken and made by particular cultures, examples include the Freedom Tower in New York City, the Berlin Wall, the Gaza Strip, Banksy graffiti, and anti-capitalist protest movements. The book discusses the role of power in cultural place-making, as well as the ethical dimensions of doing cultural geography.

Understanding Cultural Geography: Places and Traces offers a broad-based overview of cultural geography, ideal for students being introduced to the discipline through either undergraduate or postgraduate degree courses. The book outlines how the theoretical ideas, empirical foci and methodological techniques of cultural geography illuminate and make sense of the places we inhabit and contribute to. This is a timely synthesis that aims to incorporate a vast knowledge foundation and by doing so it will also prove invaluable for lecturers and academics alike.

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and Culture, 3, 327–40. Binnie, J. (1997) Coming out of geography: towards a queer epistemology? Environment and Planning D, Society and Space, 15, 223–37. Nash, C. J. (2006) Toronto’s gay village (1969–1982): plotting the politics of gay identity. Canadian Geographer, 50(1), 1–16. 165 12 S W I M M I N G I N C O N T E X T: D O I N G C U LT U R A L G E O G R A P H Y IN PRACTICE INTRODUCTION This book has begun from the premise that we are part of the cultural world. All our ideas and actions

bayonet western powers exercised their control over the new world (see Driver, 2000). Geographers therefore did not simply study and theorise cultures but had a hand in spreading their own – as Godlewska and Smith argue, at this time geographers and the project of empire were tied by an ‘umbilical connection’ (1994: 2). Such empire building, underwritten by theories of environmental determinism, thus instigated major economic, social and political differences to the cultural fabric of the world.

are employed, the products of research can never be the experiences or practices themselves. Our written reports, papers and books, even our multimedia and film interventions (especially at conferences or lectures) remain re-presentations. Even though scholars want to ‘get at’ the worlds beyond words, they are confined within the world of representation to communicate it. STANDING UP FOR . . . RE(-)PRESENTATION: THE IMPORTANCE OF THE ‘SO WHAT?’ QUESTION We have seen therefore that engaging with

the Old Bridge. Old Bridge that was sacred to all Mostarians hurt us to the core. (all cited in BBC, 2001) The bridge was so fundamental to Mostarian identity that it was rebuilt, reopening in July, 2004 (see Figure 4.1). The redevelopment was seen as symbolic of the healing of divisions between the Muslims and the Croats, intentionally seeking to re-establish the connections between people and place. As Sulejam Tihic, Bosnian Presidency Head stated, ‘The reconstruction of the Old Bridge is a

that means subsistence. Nike workers get about 4% of the retail price of the shoes they make – not enough to buy the laces. . . . At a factory I saw, making the famous brands, the young women work, battery-style, in temperatures that climb to 40 degrees centigrade. Most have no choice about the hours they must work, including a notorious ‘long shift’: 36 hours without going home. . . . these are capitalism’s unpeople. They live with open, overflowing sewers and unsafe water for many, up to half

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