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Cultural Geography: A Critical Introduction Paperback – June 8, 2000

3 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-1557868923 ISBN-10: 1557868921 Edition: 1st

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Editorial Reviews


"Mitchell has written a significant and provocative book that deserves and rewards serious scrutiny." ANNALS of the Association of American Geographers <!--end-->

" It is an important and timely book, emerging as cultural geography is being reassessed more than a decade after Peter Jackson's agenda [for the topic]...Overall this is a textbook providing a highyl readable introduction to a social/cultural geography for Undergraduates, very well illustrated with case study material. Mitchell's provocative style is refreshing ensuring students are forced to engage with his arguments and discuss them"

From the Back Cover

This book provides a critical evaluation of the transformation of cultural geography which has occurred over the past two decades. Cultural Geography explains cultural change in different geographical settings, from the politics of everyday life to the production and consumption of landscapes, to the politics of sexuality, gender, race, and nationality. Using a range of contemporary "culture wars" as examples - ranging from a struggle over public art in Denver to the politics of Jean-Marie le Pen in France - the author illustrates how cultural geographic analysis can be an important tool for understanding, and progressively intervening in contemporary cultural change.

The book is divided into three parts. Part I considers the historical development of cultural geography and the critical examination of cultural theory, both within geography and other fields from which geographers draw.
The second part of the book explores the most traditional of cultural geography's research foci - the landscape. It examines what a landscape is, what it means, and how we should understand its production and use.
The final part of the book comprises five chapters that explore different aspects of cultural politics. Moving between the practices of control and resistance in each chapter, Mitchell shows how cultural meaning, and the spaces in which we live, are continually struggled over.

Writing with the needs of advanced undergraduates and post-graduates in mind, Mitchell unravels complex ideas, yet at the same time, challenges the reader to think critically about cultural geography and about the cultural geographies that structure our lives.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Blackwell Publishing Limited; 1 edition (June 8, 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1557868921
  • ISBN-13: 978-1557868923
  • Product Dimensions: 6.8 x 0.8 x 9.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 2.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #456,165 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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19 of 26 people found the following review helpful By Faruk Ekmekci on April 20, 2007
Format: Paperback
Don Mitchell sets out writing his book "Cultural Geography: A Critical Introduction" with an idealistic intention to argue and demonstrate that culture is nothing but what the powerful makes of it. His primary goal is to challenge the `superorganic' view of culture, which regards culture as an instrument that is above the people, and put forward a more socio-economic theory of culture by denaturalizing what is commonly viewed as natural. For Mitchell, culture is "human, all too human"!

Mitchell believes strongly in the ontological nonexistence of culture whatsoever. His motto "there is no such thing as culture -or race, or gender, or nation-" salutes the reader in every page of the book. Culture is not a `thing' per se, but only a realm over which take place continuing battles of political and economic interests, or "culture wars". Therefore, Mitchell asserts that "no decent cultural analysis can draw on culture itself as a source of explanation; rather culture is always something to be explained as it is socially produced through myriad struggles over and in spaces, scales, and landscapes," (p. xvi). Though he opposes to the ontological existence of culture, Mitchell believes in the `idealistic' existence of it: "there is no culture in the world... there is only a powerful idea of culture," (p. 74-5). Therefore, following a Gramscian view, Mitchell maintains that culture is an `ideology' that exists only in the mind of people and that facilitates the pursuit of certain interests. And like all other ideologies, cultural discourse works through "euphemizing" the social relations it is meant to explain by making the socially-constructed phenomena seem natural (p. 52-3). For Mitchell, "culture is politics by another name," (p. 294).
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0 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Spencer Anderson on February 14, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The book reads ok, but the subject matter is very one sided and blah. There are many good points in the logic of the material, but once again one sided.
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7 of 21 people found the following review helpful By James Safranek on October 5, 2006
Format: Paperback
To their credit, some critical cultural geographers HAVE included a sense of the fragility of the planet in their advanced introductory studies of cultural geography. The Sex Pistols, sexual politics, miserable urban architecture, resistance, labor history, environmental determinism, cultural studies, Sauer's place in geography: all fine subjects for geographers to cover. But this book illustrates that great divide cultural geographes and physical geographers love to maintain: the separation between the physical/natural world and the culture that modern neurotic humans have created, and which geographers can't seem to co-join in their work. This is a book nearly devoid of discussing our dependency on nature (remember PHYSICAL GEOGRAPHY?), as though human induced climate change, environmental destruction (and movements against it), and the real threat of human extinction --not to mention current suffering from ecological destruction-- were all far less important than defunct punk bands and museums of labor history. (If you're going to get 'critical', start with our new proto-fascist American empire).

Geographers need to set priorities for a world in shambles when publishing, not push their students to the brink with esoteric cultural subjects for their advanced geography degrees.

We simply don't have the time.
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