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Geography and the present conjuncture


Anthropogenic global heating is accelerating, with dramatic implications for the long-term prospects of humans and many other species, underwritten by the logics of Euro-centric capitalism compounded by the colonialism, racism, patriarchy, and commodification of nature that has accompanied it. Nationalism is re-emerging, as are socio-cultural divisions within national societal assemblages. Global capitalism faces a series of crises stemming from the consequences of these relations. Critics are quick to argue that non-capitalist alternatives can advance socio-ecological justice, but how? Geography is ideally suited to making sense of this conjuncture, critiquing the processes facilitating its emergence, and realizing alternatives. Yet we are far from achieving our potential, caught up in our own philosophical, ideological, and substantive silos. I argue that five priorities must be taken up if geographical thinking is to be suited for the present moment. We must be more historical in our thinking (integrating the temporal with the spatial). We must pay more attention to the macro-scale: to how local events are complexly bound-up in spatially differentiated planetary processes? We must be socio-ecological: incentivizing productive collaboration across earth science, social science, and humanities sub-fields. We must deconstruct our disabling quantitative–qualitative methodological divide, incentivizing training in multi-methods. We must work harder to diversify the perspectives and socio-spatial positionalities incorporated into geographical thinking to decenter White male, Anglophone, and settler geographies. Excitingly, the potential for all this exists within Geography today.

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