Presentation Title

Capitalist City Without Class: Marxism In Urban Geography

Format of Presentation

15-minute lecture to be presented the Saturday of the conference

Location

IB 1020

Start Date

24-3-2018 10:30 AM

End Date

24-3-2018 10:45 AM

Abstract

The so-called “Quantitative Revolution” which swept through human geography in the middle of the 20th century hearkened an era of scientific exploration into how humanity interacted with space. Hypotheses were tested, models were proposed, and each new study wove complexity and inanity into the wider body of research. By the 1970’s, the wide spread push toward human geography as a science had failed to present solutions which incorporated more than just spatial patterns. In response to this, some geographers turned to critical theory, incorporating Marxist critique into geographic academia. At the forefront of this movement was David Harvey, a geographer trained in the quantification of space, who realized that contemporary methods were not capturing the complex interactions of societal structures with entrenched class inequalities. His work paved the way for geographers to examine the structure of urban systems with an eye toward the influence of capital as well as control of the means of production and how they serve to institutionalize class disparity. Marxism, or more accurately neo-Marxism, within urban geography seeks to question and erode the power of capitalism as a factor in the creation or re-creation of the urban landscape. With the Marxist critique in mind, one might wonder what would constitute the ideal Marxist utopia. Given the history which engendered the emergence of Marxism as well as the ideals which it is based upon, this presentation will seek to illustrate what form that ideal city may take.

Department

Geography and Environmental Studies

Faculty Advisor

Gilles Viaud

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Mar 24th, 10:30 AM Mar 24th, 10:45 AM

Capitalist City Without Class: Marxism In Urban Geography

IB 1020

The so-called “Quantitative Revolution” which swept through human geography in the middle of the 20th century hearkened an era of scientific exploration into how humanity interacted with space. Hypotheses were tested, models were proposed, and each new study wove complexity and inanity into the wider body of research. By the 1970’s, the wide spread push toward human geography as a science had failed to present solutions which incorporated more than just spatial patterns. In response to this, some geographers turned to critical theory, incorporating Marxist critique into geographic academia. At the forefront of this movement was David Harvey, a geographer trained in the quantification of space, who realized that contemporary methods were not capturing the complex interactions of societal structures with entrenched class inequalities. His work paved the way for geographers to examine the structure of urban systems with an eye toward the influence of capital as well as control of the means of production and how they serve to institutionalize class disparity. Marxism, or more accurately neo-Marxism, within urban geography seeks to question and erode the power of capitalism as a factor in the creation or re-creation of the urban landscape. With the Marxist critique in mind, one might wonder what would constitute the ideal Marxist utopia. Given the history which engendered the emergence of Marxism as well as the ideals which it is based upon, this presentation will seek to illustrate what form that ideal city may take.