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The Anarchist Roots of Geography

Toward Spatial Emancipation

2016
Author:

Simon Springer

The Anarchist Roots of Geography

A passionate plea for radical geographers to abandon Karl Marx and embrace anarchism

In The Anarchist Roots of Geography, Simon Springer sets the stage for a radical politics of possibility and freedom through a discussion of the insurrectionary geographies that suffuse our daily experiences. By embracing anarchist geographies as kaleidoscopic spatialities that allow for non-hierarchical connections between autonomous entities, Springer configures a new political imagination.

Highly persuasive, robust, and original, The Anarchist Roots of Geography is impossible to ignore. It will provoke and agitate those who need provoking and agitating because it fundamentally changes the underlying assumptions about what it is to be truly radical in a time of crisis.

Dr. Richard J. White, Sheffield Hallam University

The Anarchist Roots of Geography sets the stage for a radical politics of possibility and freedom through a discussion of the insurrectionary geographies that suffuse our daily experiences. By embracing anarchist geographies as kaleidoscopic spatialities that allow for nonhierarchical connections between autonomous entities, Simon Springer configures a new political imagination.

Experimentation in and through space is the story of humanity’s place on the planet, and the stasis and control that now supersede ongoing organizing experiments are an affront to our survival. Singular ontological modes that favor one particular way of doing things disavow geography by failing to understand the spatial as a mutable assemblage intimately bound to temporality. Even worse, such stagnant ideas often align to the parochial interests of an elite minority and thereby threaten to be our collective undoing. What is needed is the development of new relationships with our world and, crucially, with each other.

By infusing our geographies with anarchism we unleash a spirit of rebellion that foregoes a politics of waiting for change to come at the behest of elected leaders and instead engages new possibilities of mutual aid through direct action now. We can no longer accept the decaying, archaic geographies of hierarchy that chain us to statism, capitalism, gender domination, racial oppression, and imperialism. We must reorient geographical thinking towards anarchist horizons of possibility. Geography must become beautiful, wherein the entirety of its embrace is aligned to emancipation.

The Anarchist Roots of Geography

Simon Springer is associate professor of geography at the University of Victoria, Canada. He is the author of Violent Neoliberalism: Development, Discourse and Dispossession in Cambodia, Cambodia’s Neoliberal Order: Violence, Authoritarianism, and the Contestation of Public Space, and The Discourse of Neoliberalism: An Anatomy of A Powerful Idea.

The Anarchist Roots of Geography

Highly persuasive, robust, and original, The Anarchist Roots of Geography is impossible to ignore. It will provoke and agitate those who need provoking and agitating because it fundamentally changes the underlying assumptions about what it is to be truly radical in a time of crisis.

Dr. Richard J. White, Sheffield Hallam University

Simon Springer’s guide to what an anarchist geography might mean is spirited, lucid, original, and historically deep. It is also, to his great credit, insistent on the creative role of strife and conflict.

James C. Scott, Yale University

Simon Springer’s brilliant vision of an emancipatory spatiality invites us to reflect upon the largely ignored tradition of anarchism in human geography and on the ways in which it can assist us not only to do a better job of being geographers but also to do a better job of changing the world. This is a thoughtful retort to the orthodoxies of radical geography, a welcome challenge to the territorial imperatives of the Neoliberal state, and a thrilling invitation to consider how another world may be possible.

Audrey Kobayashi, PhD, Queen’s University

The Anarchist Roots of Geography

Contents
Introduction. Becoming Beautiful: To Make the Colossus Tremble
1. A Brief Genealogy of Anarchist Geographies
2. What Geography Still Ought to Be
3. Returning to Geography’s Radical Roots
4. Emancipatory Space
5. Integral Anarchism
6. The Anarchist Horizon
Acknowledgments
Notes
Bibliography
Index