Situating cultural twists and turns



Publication Details

Castree, N. (1999). Situating cultural twists and turns. Environment and Planning D: Society and Space, 17 (3), 257-260.


Clive Barnett's (1998a) recent editorial in this journal is a welcome and thought-provoking critique of human geography's 'cultural turn'. It is not the first of course - one thinks of Sayer's (1994) rather blunt reminder that the 'economy matters' or Neil Smith's (1996) cutting parody "Rethinking sleep" - but it is arguably the most subtle and sophisticated to grace the recent pages of Society and Space. Negotiating what he elsewhere (Barnett, 1998b, page 382) calls "the small space that separates that all-too-easy dismissal of new intellectual trends from the equally easy uncritical embrace of them", Barnett presents the considered view of someone who has been socialised into and contributed to the intellectual developments he is scrutinising. Accordingly, his piece highlights the tensions and ambivalences of these developments in order to suggest a fruitful way forward for the many geographers who have embraced the cultural turn.

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