Politics and Practice in Economic Geography

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Adam Tickell, Eric Sheppard, Jamie Peck, Trevor J Barnes
SAGE, Jul 17, 2007 - Science - 336 pages
"The biggest strength of the book is its pedagogic design, which will appeal to new entrants in the field but also leaves space for methodological debates... It is well suited for use on general courses but it also involves far more than an introduction and is full of theoretical insights for a more theoretically advanced audience."
- Economic Geography Research Group

In the last fifteen years economic geography has experienced a number of fundamental theoretical and methodological shifts. Politics and Practice in Economic Geography explains and interrogates these fundamental issues of research practice in the discipline.

Concerned with examining the methodological challenges associated with that 'cultural turn', the text explains and discusses:

  • qualitative and ethnographic methodologies
  • the role and significance of quantitative and numerical methods
  • the methodological implications of both post-structural and feminist theories
  • the use of case-study approaches
  • the methodological relation between the economic geography and neoclassical economics, economic sociology, and economic anthropology.

Leading contributors examine substantive methodological issues in economic geography and make a distinctive contribution to economic-geographical debate and practice.


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Section 1
Chapter 1
Chapter 2
Chapter 3
Chapter 4
Chapter 5
Section 3
Chapter 13
Chapter 14
Chapter 15
Chapter 16
Chapter 17
Section 4
Chapter 18

Chapter 6
Section 2
Chapter 7
Chapter 8
Chapter 9
Chapter 10
Chapter 11
Chapter 12
Chapter 19
Chapter 20
Chapter 21
Chapter 22
Chapter 23

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Page 5 - Study of individual agents in their causal contexts, interactive interviews, ethnography. Qualitative analysis Actual concrete patterns and contingent relations are unlikely to be 'representative', 'average' or generalizable. Necessary relations discovered will exist wherever their relata are present, eg causal powers of objects are generalizable to other contexts as they are necessary features of these objects Corroboration What are the regularities, common patterns, distinguishing features of a...
Page 11 - A commodity appears, at first sight, a very trivial thing, and easily understood. Its analysis shows that it is, in reality, a very queer thing, abounding in metaphysical subtleties and theological niceties.
Page 5 - Necessary relations discovered will exist wherever their relata are present, eg causal powers of objects are generalizable to other contexts as they are necessary features of these objects Although representative of a whole population, they are unlikely to be generalizable to other populations at different times and places. Problem of ecological fallacy in making inferences about individuals. Limited explanatory power Appropriate tests Corroboration Replication we decrease the number of individuals...

About the author (2007)

Professor Adam Tickell is Vice Principal (Research, Enterprise and Communications) and an economic geographer. His research interests span political and economic geography, and he is particularly interested in questions of political devolution, regulation, markets and money.

I seek to develop general explanations for the spatial organization and dynamics of economic activities in capitalist societies, and to determine how a geographical perspective illuminates such explanations. Economists recently have rediscovered economic geography as a place to apply economic theory, but my research shows that a proper incorporation of the spatial dimension of society challenges much of what economic theory tells us. A geographical approach can capture the complex evolution of economic landscapes and the various non-economic processes affecting economic change. Geography has basic theoretical contributions to make to knowledge, not just empirical elaborations. I am interested in how geographers think about the world, and the changing philosophical and methodological disputes in geography. Good scholarship in geography must be grounded in an understanding of these issues, requiring familiarity with contemporary debates in philosophy and methodology outside geography. I examine the geography of development at scales ranging from the global to the local. Development possibilities don't just depend on local (site) conditions; the interdependencies between places are just as important. The ability of local actors and institutions to effectuate change must be evaluated in this context, to avoid erroneously blaming local conditions and actions for local underdevelopment. I am concerned with human welfare and inequality; with how socio-spatial positionality shapes the conditions of possibility of livelihood practices. Underlying much of my research is a concern for the persistent and too often expanding social and geographic inequalities in society, for the processes creating these, and for what can be done to create more equitable societies and a greater respect for the non-human world. I have spent considerable effort promoting radical geography, where this theme is of central importance. I have always been interested in the economic interdependencies between places (trade, investment, technology diffusion, information and migration flows). While a graduate student, I took up radical political economy as an approach to economic geography, co-authoring The Capitalist Space Economy with my first doctoral student, Trevor Barnes. I remain fascinated by the geographical dynamics of economic change at different scales, and how these are shaped by the rapidly globalizing capitalist world economy we live in. Currently, I am examining the role of trade, and free trade discourses in shaping global change, since Britain adopted free trade in 1846. I have also long been interested in the evolution of geography as a discipline, its contested modes of inquiry, and its position as an academic discipline. For example, I co-authored a National Research Council study titled Rediscovering Geography, and co-edited a book of essays on scale across the discipline: Scale and Geographic Inquiry. I have closely explored and tracked the evolution of economic geography, and its contentious relationship with mainstream and heterodox Economics, co-editing A Companion to Economic Geography, Reading Economic Geography, and Politics and Practice in Economic Geography. I study the two-way relationship between the development of geographic information technologies and social change. I have put much effort into promoting scholarship that transcends pre-existing divides between the geographic information systems and critical geography communities, catalyzing a new generation of scholars finding innovative ways to put these approaches into conversation with one another. Finally, I have long been interested in the evolution of urban life, particularly the intersections between economic processes and urban politics. Cities must be understood not only as distinctive kinds of places, but as places that are penetrated by co-evolving with nature, larger scale processes and one another. Current research examines the emergence, in and beyond cities, of contestations that call into question the generality and influence of neoliberalism, recently co-editing Contesting Neoliberalism: Urban Frontiers.

Jamie Peck is Canada Research Chair in Urban & Regional Political Economy, Distinguished University Scholar, and Professor of Geography at the University of British Columbia, Canada. Previously, he was a professor of geography at the University of Wisconsin–Madison and the University of Manchester. With research interests in urban restructuring, geographical political economy, labor studies, the politics of policy formation and mobility, and economic geography, he is currently working on theories of capitalist restructuring and the political economy of neoliberalization. His recent books include Offshore: Exploring the Worlds of Global Outsourcing (2017, Oxford), Fast Policy: Experimental statecraft at the Thresholds of Neoliberalism (2015, Minnesota, with Nik Theodore), The Wiley-Blackwell Companion to Economic Geography (2012, Wiley-Blackwell, coedited with Trevor Barnes & Eric Sheppard), and Constructions of Neoliberal Reason (2010, Oxford). Jamie Peck is the managing editor of EPA: Economy and Space and the editor in chief of the Environment and Planning journals.

Trevor Barnes is a professor and University Distinguished Scholar in the Department of Geography at the University of British Columbia where he has been since 1983. He is the author or editor of 13 books, the most recent with Brett Christophers, Economic Geography: A Critical Introduction (2018). His research interests are in economic geography and in the history and methodology of geography. He is a fellow of both the Royal Society of Canada and the British Academy.

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