Birds, mice and geography: Marxisms and dialectics



Publication Details

Castree, N. (1996). Birds, mice and geography: Marxisms and dialectics. Transactions of the Institute of British Geographers, 21 (2), 342-362.


Despite being advocated for over a decade by Marxist geographers, dialectics is still little understood within geography. This paper attempts to clarify the meaning and possible value of a dialectical mode of thinking through example at a time when human sciences are said to be undergoing a 'crisis of representation'. By situating it within the wider horizons of Marxism, the work of the most vocal advocate and exponent of dialectics within contemporary human geography - David Harvey - is examined. Focusing on the specificity of Harvey's dialectical procedure, discriminating between ontological and epistemological dialectics, and approaching the latter in terms of dialectical modes of explanation, presentation and reading, Harvey's dialectics are subject to an immanent reconstruction. Some problems with this dialectical approach are then highlighted. Royal Geographical Society (with the Institute of British Geographers) 1996.

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