Spaces of Capital: Towards a Critical Geography

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ISBN-13: 978-0415932400
ISBN-10: 0415932408
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Editorial Reviews

From Library Journal

Harvey (anthropology, CUNY Graduate Sch.) is one of the most influential geographers of the later 20th century, especially as concerns the relationship among politics, capitalism, and the social aspects of geographical theory. His previous and still cogent works include Explanation in Geography, Social Justice and the City, and Spaces of Hope. His new book provides the daring reader with an introduction to fields of inquiry collectively termed the new geography or critical geography. Harvey delves deeply into the collective psyche of geography as a discipline and attacks long-held assumptions of scientific neutrality within it, particularly in the chapter titled "Population, Resources, and the Ideology of Science." He also gives a chronology of his own geographic thought and his philosophical underpinnings such as Hegel, Marx, Kant, Heidegger, and the like and a unique perspective on capitalism as a driving force in shaping the physical arrangement of societies. Most geographers may take much of this book as an indictment against their chosen field, but Harvey certainly gives us much to consider. Appropriate for larger public libraries and academic libraries. John E. Dockall, Bernice P. Bishop Museum, Honolulu
Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

Review

David Harvey is one of geography's best-known social theorists and one of the most important voices on the academic left in the United States...at a time when the fashionable abstractions of hte bougrgeois left just do not seem cute anymore, Harvey's historical geographic materialist analysis offers a refreshingly real-and-imagined geography of radical hope.
TCRecord.org, Gregory Martin and Peter McLaren, both at UCLA.
Spanning nearly three decades of work, this collection shows David Harvey as steadfast in his commitments while he keeps up with changing times.---Iris Young, University of Chicago.
These wise reflections on intellectual movements and political battles of the recent past show why David Harvey has become such an impressive figure of contemporary social critique. His fierce intellectual independence and equally insistent moral decency illuminate a concern for social justice that is primarily economic but extends into every sphere. No other scholar of our day has delved so deeply into the powers of capital to remake space and time, or argued so persuasively to place these processes at the core of all social thought.---Sharon Zukin, author of The Cultures of Cities.
Harvey delves deeply into the collective psyche of geography as a discipline and attacks long-held assumptions of scientific neutrality within it.... Most geographers may take much of this book as an indictment of their chosen field, but Harvey certainly gives us much to consider. Appropriate for larger public libraries and academic libraries..
–John E. Dockall, Library Journal

David Harvey has done more than anyone else to demonstrate the centrality of geographical space in the evolution of human society under capitalism. He has done so in a constant dialogue with Marx, aware of the need to confront not just Marx's strengths but his weaknesses. Written over twenty-five years, these essays are an invaluable source of ideas on how human geography shapes and is in turn shaped by capitalist development. The book provides an excellent introduction to Harvey's work: it is essential reading for those interested in creative reinterpretations of Marx and in the historical geography of capitalism globally and locally.---Giovanni Arrighi, author of The Long Twentieth Century.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Routledge (January 18, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0415932408
  • ISBN-13: 978-0415932400
  • Product Dimensions: 1.5 x 6.2 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #6,363,297 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

David Harvey teaches at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York and is the author of many books including Social Justice and the City, The Condition of Postmodernity, The Limits to Capital, A Brief History of Neoliberalism and Spaces of Global Capitalism: Towards a Theory of Uneven Geographical Development.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

42 of 42 people found the following review helpful By Dom Casmurro on August 28, 2002
Format: Paperback
The influence of David Harvey on the academic discipline of geography cannot be overstated. With incredibly perseverance, Harvey called for greater ethical commitment right from the 1970s which saw the beginning of his career. This book charts the course of his views as they change from then till now. Before I tell you what the book is about, let me say a few words about the style: Harvey writes in incredibly moving and deceptively simple prose (though his ideas are as complicated as any of the Continental thinkers who dominate elite theory today). In a community of theorists who rival each other in being prolix and obscure, this is truly refreshing.
The first part of the book contains several essays, written between 1974 and 2000, all exploring two key themes:1) the discipline of geography and its relevance to today and 2) the nexus between certain forms of geographical knowledge and political power. Some essays are absolute gems. Specially noteworthy are the last two: City and Social Justice, and Cartographic Identities. In the first, Harvey theorizes the possibility of radical urban grassroots movements and the conditions for their 'success' (a bit problematic it must be admitted with its urbanist telos, specially for someone from the economic South like me) and in the second, he envisions a program for a synthetic study of (mostly mutually noncompatible) geographical knowledges constitued at different institutional sites (academic, the State apparatus, transnational orgs like IMF etc, multinational corporations, military, popular knowledge etc etc) as a task for geographers of the near future.
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By M. A. Krul on October 12, 2006
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
"Spaces of Capital" is the title under which David Harvey has collected a series of essays or observations written by him for a variety of geographical and economical journals. The essays span the whole period of Harvey's working life, and therefore trace the development of his view and thoughts closely. This is interesting at a sort of 'meta' level, but it has the downside that the first half of the book is still very much in the orthodox geographical mold and mostly quite vague and noncommittal. Although already in the first essays he proposes a more critical geographical science, and lashes out at the McCarthyism in the field, they still lack the coherent framework that the Marxist point of view would later give to his insights.

Of most interest, for this reason, are the last three or four essays in the book. These are in fact very good and worthwhile, dealing with his theory of rent, the theory of uneven geographical development, and the way capitalist accumulation affects and is affected by geographical structures, mostly in the form of immobile fixed capital. The essay called "The Spatial Fix" is more historical, and goes into the role of space and geography in the works of Marx, Von Thünen and Hegel; this is probably the most interesting part of the book for philosophers and historians.

If you're interested in the later Harvey's insights into Marxist political economy and geographical differences, I would recommend buying "Limits to Capital" instead. This book is mostly of use as an addition to an already well-stocked 'critical theory' shelf, for the specialist. Inhabitants of Baltimore, MD, might also want to buy this for the quite extensive study on the political economy of the city that is included in this book.
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2 of 142 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on May 28, 2004
Format: Paperback
It is unfortunate the turn that the field of Geography has made into the Marxist realm. While the academic side of geography takes comfort in the "feel good" ideas of this approach, it serves no purpose in advancing relevant work.
Do your self a favor - skip this book and go buy an old copy (prior to 1970) of almost any geography text. You will be much better served.
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