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Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read. Want to Read saving…. Want to Read Currently Reading Read. Other editions. Enlarge cover. Error rating book. Refresh and try again. Open Preview See a Problem? Details if other :. Thanks for telling us about the problem. Return to Book Page. Preview — Postmodern Geographies by Edward W. Building on the work of Foucault, Giddens, Jameson and Lefebvre, one of America's geographers argues for a rethinking of the dialectics of space, time and social being.
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Sort order. Jul 28, Malcolm rated it really liked it Shelves: urban-studies. As important and useful as this book as a powerful assertion of the need for a spatial awareness in social theory it is very much of its time the late s although still worth visiting.
Soja is throughly correct to note the absence and assert the importance of a spatial dimension to social theory that has for too long privileged the temporal I say that as a historian.
Lefebvre's The Production of Space is I think more useful although both are hard to grapple with, and it was not available in English when this book came out so for many of us it was our first introdcution to Lefebvre. Apr 10, Andrew added it Shelves: geography , los-angeles-school-geography. Edward Soja is the absolute shit, but this is NOT a good starting point for his works. Postmetropolis is far more accessible.
That said, this is really good. Probably not for the general reader, or even the general academic reader at least in its entirety , though. It's quite dense, and heavily reliant on an at least passing familia Edward Soja is the absolute shit, but this is NOT a good starting point for his works. However, I strongly recommend the chapter "Reassertions: Towards a Spatialized Ontology" for anyone interested in critical theory.
It's in this chapter that Soja's spatial vision is most lucid, and it's damn interesting. Dec 18, Kat rated it really liked it. I found this book fascinating although it should be noted my tolerance for academic Marxism is very high and I can't imagine someone getting much out of it unless they fit a very specific criteria!
But from the perspective of a sociologist with a philosophy background lured into geography by the appeal of Henri Lefebvre this was the most excited I have been reading nonfiction in years. View all 3 comments. Verso books has made available one of Edward W.
Soja's first published works as part of its radical thinkers series. Postmodern Geographies is an early meditation on the question of space in capitalism and geography in modern critical theory. One might wonder about the relevancy of this to radical politics while wading through passages on spatialized ontology, but in fact the refocus on this work comes at a perfect time to help rethink political upheavals that have occurred in just the last few weeks Verso books has made available one of Edward W.
One might wonder about the relevancy of this to radical politics while wading through passages on spatialized ontology, but in fact the refocus on this work comes at a perfect time to help rethink political upheavals that have occurred in just the last few weeks. In the recent uprising in Egypt which ousted the octagenarian thug Hosni Mubarak, Tahrir Square became the symbolic and literal center of the aspirations of a wide-range of Egyptians hoping to awake from the oppressive doldrums of 30 years of emergency laws and neo-liberal social decay.
World-wide television viewers were treated to daily images of endless crowds of protestors, dramatic street battles, and eventually the jubilation that filled the square when Mubarak begrudgingly stepped down. Reporters were on hand to record the slogans, the acts of social solidarity, and the faces of Egyptians themselves; many of whom were experiencing the freedom to assemble freely for the first time in their lives. For an uprising that is credited as having been originally started online using social media, it is remarkable to see how important a physical geographical place became in deciding the fate of the movement in Egypt.
Despite any praise on the part of the media that served to fetishize technology and the role of these new online forms of communication in reshaping social movements, in the end it was people on the ground, occupying central squares and factories across Egypt, which brought about tangible change.
Further revolts have brought to our attention similar locations in other World capitals. And in America, the capital building in Madion, Wisconsin has become a focal point by being occupied by public employer unions and supporters staging a protest against anti-labor legislation meekly disguised as budgetary policy measures.
It seems as though taking control of public space in order to create a central point of resistance has done more in a few weeks in these situations than merely blogging and tweeting could have ever done.
There is something refreshingly old fashioned about seeing this kind of street politics reemerging. Of course we cannot be grateful for the outrageous injustices that have brought people out to the streets. But seeing the classic images of marching columns of protestors, barricades, and grassroots rallies is something never seen before by a young leftist raised almost entirely after the collapse of the USSR. There was an aspect of immediacy, something so human, about seeing people stare down the institutions of state oppression face to face.
And in reading Soja's insights into the ways in which oppression is now veiled more by geography than history, we can begin to understand the novelty of seeing direct political confrontation in public space. Postmodern Geographies is a collection of 9 essays which each deal with aspects of space in critical social theory.
Starting with a history of the resistance to the conceptualization of space in critical theory, Soja explains how geography was often neglected for being considered to be stilted, empirical, and thoroughly undialectical as opposed to the preferred focus on time and history.
Showing the extent of this resistance, He is able to exhibit the originality of Henri Lefebvre's thought in approaching space as well as tracing the awakening of Michel Foucault to the usefulness that geography would have in his own investigation of social institutions.
We are also shown how other big names in critical theory have incorporated spatiality into their works. In a motif that continues through the book, in this historical explanation we begin to see for ourselves how thinking about space offer new perspectives on understanding how the survival of capitalism depends on the creation of space.
The essay offers a wealth of academic sources for anyone interested in how an individual exists within a space constructed to induce consumption and quiescence.
Anyone raised in the suburbs can find a fair deal that resonates with this approach to thinking about space. In following essays, Soja goes on to narrate the various debates that come with incorporating the concept of spatiality into critical theory.
How do we understand a struggle over public space, or rent, using the Marxist form of analysis which is more immediately concerned with the struggle going on in the workplace?
Soja provides some fascinating viewpoints and directs our attention towards an understanding of why controlling public space is still important in our contemporary age.
Political power is not only interested in controlling what goes on at the point of production or in the realm of ideology, but indeed aims to create a built environment conducive to the survival of capitalism.
Soja's strengths definitely lie in bringing together theories of space that have as their subject the urban environment. At other levels he doesn't seem as convincing. He also takes a step in the opposite direction by becoming less theoretical and applying his and other critical theorists' ideas on spatiality to a geographical portrait of Los Angeles.
Soja offers some spectacular figures on the immense economic output of Los Angeles, and shows empirically just how fractured and unequal the built environment is. However, after such an excellent explanation of the dialectic of space in capitalism and a strong critique of the resistance to the role of space in critical theory, it seems ironic that his move to exhibiting the real-life example of the capital of postmodern geography seems much more like dry empiricism than dynamic analysis. As political struggle goes forward, Edward Soja's book will be useful by giving us another approach to envisioning resistance to the logic of capitalism.
Using his excellent examination of how capital produces and controls space, it is up to us to work out the implications. Especially given the preliminary and open-ended nature of Postmodern Geographies, the ways in which we can reassert space into our political strategies is ample. When thinking about a fight over use of a public square, or the fate of a marginalized urban group, foreign wars, or even our own individual place in everyday life, it will be fruitful to remember a new injunction: always territorialize!
Jun 07, Steve rated it it was ok Shelves: spatial-theory-urbanism-america. Don't read this. Okay, that is harsh, but the book is basically a history of spatial theory with a heavy bent toward Marxist theorists.
And lots of capitalism and economics going on. Just wasn't my cup of tea. Very academic, by the way. Very, very academic. This person said that, and that person said this. But they weren't, really.
Chapter eight went throu Geesh. Chapter eight went through economic numbers from to the present--circa Chapter nine tried then to give you a feel for the city, but I found Soja's analysis of Los Angeles lacking. Jan 10, Ivan rated it it was amazing. The treatment of both space and time in social theory is a dialectic masterpiece. I read this book back in the 90s just after reading Harvey's 'The Condition of Postmodernity'.
Both deeply insightful books, but Soja dares to reach a new level of informed abstraction that is still cable of underpinning the empirical pillars within his arguments.
Forgot your login information? In: Key Texts in Human Geography. Chapter Postmodern Geographies : Edward Soja. Subject: Human Geography general. Minca, C. Postmodern geographies : edward soja. Valentine Eds.
He had a Ph. His early research focused on planning in Kenya , but Soja came to be known as the world's leading spatial theorist with a distinguished career writing on spatial formations and social justice. In he was awarded the Vautrin Lud Prize , the highest honor for a geographer and often called the Nobel Prize in the field of geography. In addition to his readings of American feminist cultural theorist bell hooks b. Soja updated Lefebvre's concept of the spatial triad with his own concept of spatial trialectics which includes thirdspace, or spaces that are both real and imagined. Soja focuses his critical postmodern analysis of space and society, or what he calls spatiality, on the people and places of Los Angeles. In the University of Minnesota Press released his work on spatial justice ,  which was followed in with his My Los Angeles published by the University of California Press.
Postmodern Geographies: The Reassertion of Space in Critical Social Theory