<br><h3> Chapter One </h3> <b>Introduction: Troubling Geographies</b> <p> <i>Derek Gregory</i> <p> <p> There is something troubling about geographies ... Harvey 2000c <p> <b>Destinations</b> <p> David Harvey's work can be read in many ways, but whatever else it may be, it is surely both an affirmation and a critique of the power of geographical knowledges. The plural is deliberate. Although Harvey's early writings traced and extended the frontiers of a formal if necessarily fuzzy Geography, he came to realize that geographical knowledges cannot be confined to any one discipline. They are produced in multiple locations, inside and outside the academy, and they shape multiple publics, for good and ill. If 'geography is too important to be left to geographers', as Harvey has repeatedly claimed, he has also insisted that the potency of geographical knowledges does not reside in the accumulation of data in inventories or gazetteers, or even in their selective diffusion through the corridors of power and the circuits of the public sphere. It resides, rather, in the use of ideas – if you prefer (and Harvey does prefer), concepts and theories – that produce a systematic and ordered representation of the world that is sufficiently powerful to persuade others of its objectivity, accuracy and truth. When I describe Harvey's work as an affirmation of the power of geographical knowledges, I do so because he insists that geography matters, that it makes a difference to critical analysis, and because he believes that concepts of space, place and landscape unsettle and dislocate mainstream social theory to such a degree that they open up altogether different perspectives on the world. And I describe it as a critique because the development of Harvey's project has distanced him from concepts whose purchase is limited by the calculus of spatial science or whose provenance lies in Continental European philosophy, and because his purpose is to invest the emancipatory potential of other concepts in the materialization of a truly human geography. <p> This introduction is a rough guide to Harvey's project, written in the first instance for those who may be unfamiliar with the details of his work, and I will argue that his writings in their turn provide a sort of guidebook to the turbulent landscapes of modern capitalism. Not only is there a spatial systematics to his project, a series of itineraries shot through with critical recommendations and evaluations, but there is also something panoramic, selective and authoritative about his view of the world. This is not an unassailable position, however, and the perils of proceeding like this were underscored by one of Harvey's favourite novelists, Honor de Balzac, when he introduced the <i>Comédie humaine</i>. 'The author who cannot make up his mind to face the fire of criticism', he wrote from Paris in 1842, 'should no more think of writing than a traveller should start on his journey counting on a perpetually clear sky.' Fortified by that observation, I propose to map some of Harvey's routes (and roots), and provide some critical signposts to other paths and other destinations that are explored in more detail in the chapters that follow. <p> <p> <b>Co-ordinates</b> <p> While it would be a mistake to collapse Harvey's work into a single journey, two key texts frame his project and reveal a remarkably consistent template: <i>Explanation in Geography</i> and <i>The Limits to Capital</i>. These are usually read as opposing contributions, separated by the transitional essays of <i>Social Justice and the City</i> that recorded Harvey's movement from spatial science to historical materialism. This is a perfectly valid interpretation, but for all the differences between them, I think that there are also a number of revealing continuities. <p> <i>Explanation in Geography</i>, published in 1969, was written against the background of two revolutions. The first was the 'Quantitative Revolution' that convulsed geographical inquiry in the 1960s. This is a shorthand expression (a misleading one at that) for a concerted movement away from traditional regional geography towards a formal spatial science. The study of world regions as building blocks in a global inventory was criticized for its reduction of geographical inquiry to a mundane exercise in compilation and cartography, and in its place a new geography equipped with properly scientific credentials was to be devoted to the search for generalizations about spatial organization in both nominally 'human' and 'physical' domains. Harvey was no observer standing on the sidelines. He occupied a central place in the experimental reconfiguration of the field, and had made several avant-garde contributions to spatial analysis. That spatial science was self-consciously experimental bears emphasis; much of this work was highly speculative, inquisitive, pragmatic, and conducted with little or no awareness of (or even interest in) wider philosophical and methodological issues. If <i>Explanation in Geography</i> can be read as an attempt to provide a warrant for those endeavours, however, it also sought to retain the flexibility required by their frontier character. For Harvey insisted on a 'vital' distinction between philosophy and methodology. He claimed not to be concerned in any direct way with philosophical arguments about the 'nature' of geography (though he plainly had views about it) or with the ways in which philosophers of science had established criteria for what he called 'sound explanation'. His focus was on the application of these criteria to geographical inquiry, on the 'logic of explanation', which prompted him to distinguish between 'those aspects of analysis which are a matter of logic and those aspects that are contingent upon philosophical presupposition'. <p> But it was not possible to uncouple philosophy and methodology as conveniently as this implied. Indeed, Harvey's entire project was based on a central philosophical claim. He rejected the tradition of exceptionalism that could be traced back to Kant's foundational distinction between different knowledges, and which had received its canonical disciplinary statement in Hartshorne's <i>The Nature of Geography</i> in 1939, because he believed that the division had both marooned Geography and History outside the mainstream of scientific progress and also separated them from one another. Unlike the sciences that organized the world into categories on the basis of logical classifications (equivalence, similarity, affinity), and which thus allowed for replication and generalization, Geography and History were supposed to be predicated on physical classifications: that is, on observations of phenomena that occurred together, as singular and unique constellations in either space or time. Against this, Harvey focused on the delineation of a recognizably scientific method, grounded in the philosophy of science in general and positivism in particular, that could underwrite the search for an order (in spatial structure and sequence) beneath the particularities of place. The sense of 'grounding' was crucial: Harvey's project was a foundational one, anchored in bedrock, and he rejected what he called 'extreme' versions of logical positivism precisely because they claimed that knowledge 'could be developed independently of philosophical presuppositions'. The approach that he outlined in <i>Explanation</i> derived from Braithwaite, Carnap, Hempel, Nagel and other philosophers of (physical) science who had established the deductive-nomological model as what he termed 'the standard model of scientific explanation'. Again, standardization was essential: for Harvey, like most of his contemporaries, there was only one ('the') scientific method capable of sustaining the production of systematic and generalizable geographical knowledge. <p> <i>Explanation</i> was about more than the projection of these methods onto the terrain of geographical inquiry. Its conceptual fulcrum was space, which Harvey identified as 'the central concept on which Geography as a discipline relies for its coherence'. But for this coherence to be realized, he argued, a double transformation was necessary: space had to be transformed from the planar categories of Euclidean geometry, and its materializations had to be transformed by process ('the key to temporal explanation'). From the very beginning, therefore, one of Harvey's central concerns was to establish the connection between spatial structure and process. The issue had emerged out of his doctoral research on agricultural change in nineteenth-century Kent, a study in traditional historical geography, but Harvey subsequently reformulated the question in the lexicon of modern location theory. If, as now seemed likely, it was simply impossible to infer generative process from geometric form, then how could a process-based geography be developed? Although he never put it quite like this, how could History and Geography be convened within a plenary, integrated – in a word, unitary – science of terrestrial change? Harvey's principal methodological objective in <i>Explanation</i> was to identify modes of spatial analysis that would displace the conventional conception of space as a 'container' (absolute space), and build from but ultimately transcend other geometries of spatial form by setting them in motion. At the time, Harvey took this to be a matter of translation, a means to move between Euclidean (form) and non-Euclidean (process) languages, but the more important point is that processes of geographical transformation were at the very heart of Harvey's project from the outset. <p> Harvey would later describe Bhaskar's prospectus for a non-positivist social science as a work of 'intimidating difficulty and intensity', but one might say the same of <i>Explanation</i>. I was reading Geography at Cambridge when it was published, and even for someone being expertly schooled in spatial science, locational analysis and systems theory it was an unusually demanding text. But it was also unsatisfactory, not least because I was also being taught an historical geography that took Harvey's central question – geographical transformation – with the utmost seriousness, but which also required a close engagement with the empirical, in the field and the archive, that modulated its theoretical dispositions and advanced an analysis of the dynamics of space-economies and landscapes in substantive terms. 'By our theories you shall know us', Harvey had concluded, but I had become drawn to an historical geography that was less about knowing 'us' – forming the disciplinary identity that, to my surprise, still haunted Harvey at the very end of Explanation than it was about knowing the world. In fact, he later attributed the limitations of the book to its preoccupation with language, and distanced himself from the formal language systems that structured spatial analysis in favour of ordinary language systems capable of capturing the substance of social practices. You could see the problem in the closing chapters of <i>Explanation</i>, where the systems to be modelled remained spectacularly unidentified, so many empty boxes to be tied together, and where their geography had all but disappeared. It had been a long journey down the yellow brick road, and I was left with the uncomfortable feeling that there was nothing behind the wizard's curtain. <p> As Harvey was soon to remind his readers, however, Marx had warned that there was no royal road to science. <i>Explanation in Geography</i> had been written against the background of another revolution of sorts, one that animated the academy but which also filled the streets: the anti-war and civil rights movements in the United States and the events of May 1968 in France, Germany and elsewhere in Europe. Harvey confessed that he had been so preoccupied with methodological issues that he had been more or less detached from these events, and they find no echo in the austere pages of <i>Explanation</i>. But soon after its publication, and coinciding with his move from the UK to the United States, Harvey began to explore the ethical and political dimensions of geographical inquiry that had been suspended during his ascetic pilgrimage through the philosophy and methodology of science. His initial forays were recorded in the essays that compose <i>Social Justice and the City</i>. This was a much more subversive book than <i>Explanation</i> and it had much more of an impact inside and outside the discipline. Harvey gave a lecture based on one of the early essays in the book to an undergraduate conference I attended at Bristol, and the effect was electric. There is always something thrilling about Harvey's performances – I've never seen him read from a prepared text let alone a series of overheads or slides – but this was more than a matter of style: the intellectual apparatus, the political passion and the urban texture were all a long way from the abstracted logics of <i>Explanation</i>. Later essays widened the gap, until it must have been difficult for many readers to believe that the two books had been written by the same author. Harvey's denunciation of the trivial pursuits of spatial science (the 'clear disparity between the sophisticated theoretical and methodological framework we are using and our ability to say anything really meaningful about events as they unfold about us') and his exuberant endorsement of the power of historical materialism ('I can find no other way of accomplishing what I set out to do') fused to shock what was one of the very last disciplines in the English-speaking world to take Marx's writings with the seriousness they deserved. And yet, despite Harvey's desire to spark a 'revolution in geographical thought', he continued to insist on the importance of science (though he now defined it in different terms and understood it as an intrinsically social practice) and reaffirmed the need to provide systematic theorizations of space and spatial transformations (though he now insisted 'there are no philosophical answers to philosophical questions that arise over the nature of space – the answers lie in human practice'). <p> <i>Social Justice</i> was only a bridgehead; Harvey knew he needed to do much more work on Marx. I choose my words with care: the object of his studies, and of the various reading groups and courses in which he was involved, was Marx not Marxism. 'I wanted to see how far I could get', he explained, 'from within the framework laid out in Marx's <i>Capital, Theories of Surplus Value</i>, the <i>Grundrisse</i>, and some of the ancillary writings on political economy.' It took him the best part of a decade, and the result was <i>The Limits to Capital</i>, published in 1982. This emphasized two central dimensions. First, echoing his earlier insistence on systematicity, Harvey argued that Marx's visionary contribution was 'the capacity to see capitalism as an integrated whole', as a dynamic and dialectical totality. Harvey's previous attempts to exorcise the demons of fragmentation through appeals to systems theory (in <i>Explanation</i>) and structuralism (in the coda to <i>Social Justice</i>) had been as diffuse as they were formalistic, but he now grounded his arguments in a focused and forensic rereading of Marx's critique of political economy. The discipline, rigour and clarity of Harvey's exposition have been noted by many commentators, though, as I will explain later, these qualities are not universally admired! Second, reinforcing his focus on spatial transformations, Harvey argued that Marx's analysis of the dynamics of capitalism as a mode of production, in contradistinction to the pinhead formulations of neoclassical economics, was predicated on (that is, assumed and depended on) the production of a differentiated and integrated (urbanized) space-economy. This was a contribution of unsurpassed originality. The spatial problematic remained latent within Marx's own corpus, and none of the (very few) writers who had thus far registered the production of space under capitalism – including most prominently Henri Lefebvre – had integrated its turbulent landscapes within the logics of capital accumulation. 11 While Marx prioritized time (in the labour theory of value) and historical transformation (in the creative destruction of successive capitalisms) – these were the limits to <i>Capital</i> in Harvey's title – Harvey showed that the volatile production of space was at once the solution (or 'spatial fix') and dissolution of capitalism (hence the limits to capital). <p> <i>(Continues...)</i> <p> <p> <!-- copyright notice --> <br></pre> <blockquote><hr noshade size='1'><font size='-2'> Excerpted from <b>David Harvey</b> by <b>Noel Castree Derek Gregory</b> Copyright © 2006 by John Wiley & Sons, Ltd. Excerpted by permission of John Wiley & Sons. All rights reserved. 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