For a New Geography

2021
Author:

Milton Santos
Translated by Archie Davies

For the first time in English, a key work of critical geography

Originally published in 1978, For a New Geography marked the emergence of Milton Santos as a major interpreter of geographical thought, a prominent Afro-Brazilian public intellectual, and a foremost global theorist of space. Arriving in English at a time of renewed interest in alternative geographical traditions and the history of radical geography, it has become a canonical work of critical geography.

Originally published in 1978 in Portuguese, For a New Geography is a milestone in the history of critical geography and it marked the emergence of its author, Milton Santos (1926–2001), as a major interpreter of geographical thought, a prominent Afro-Brazilian public intellectual, and one of the foremost global theorists of space.

Published in the midst of a crisis in geographical thought, For a New Geography functioned as a bridge between geography’s past and its future. In advancing his vision of a geography of action and liberation, Santos begins by turning to the roots of modern geography and its colonial legacies. Moving from a critique of the shortcomings of geography from the field’s foundations as a modern science to the outline of a new field of critical geography, he sets forth both an ontology of space and a methodology for geography. In so doing, he introduces novel theoretical categories to the analysis of space. It is, in short, both a critique of the Northern, Anglo-centric discipline from within and a systematic critique of its flaws and assumptions from outside.

Critical geography has developed in the past four decades into a heterogeneous and creative field of inquiry. Though accruing a set of theoretical touchstones in the process, it has become detached from a longer and broader history of geographical thought. For a New Geography reconciles these divergent histories. Arriving in English at a time of renewed interest in alternative geographical traditions and the history of radical geography, it takes its place in the canonical works of critical geography.

Milton Santos (1926–2001) was one of twentieth-century geography’s most creative conceptual thinkers. He played a determining role in the history of critical geography and social science in Brazil. Santos’s theoretical work provided the framework for a generation of radical Latin American approaches to space, urbanity, nature, and globalization. In 1994 he won the Vautrin Lud Prize, often called the Nobel of geography.



Archie Davies is a Leverhulme Early Career Fellow in the Department of Geography at the University of Sheffield.


Contents


Translator’s Introduction: The Newness of Geography


Archie Davies


Introduction: From a Critique of Geography to a Critical Geography


Part I. The Critique of Geography


1. The Founders: Scientific Pretensions


2. Philosophical Inheritance


3. Postwar Renovation: “A New Geography”


4. Quantitative Geography


5. Models and Systems: The Ecosystems


6. The Geography of Perception and Behavior


7. The Triumph of Formalism and Ideology


8. The Balance of the Crisis: Geography, Widow of Space


Part II. Geography, Society, Space


9. A New Interdisciplinarity


10. An Attempt to Define Space


11. Space: Reflection of Society or Social Fact?


12. Space: A Factor?


13. Space as Social Order


Part III. For a Critical Geography


14. In Search of a Paradigm


15. Total Space in Our Time


16. State and Space: The Nation-State as a Geographical Unit of Study


17. The Ideas of Totality and Social Formation and the Renovation of Geography


18. The Idea of Time in Geographical Studies


Conclusion: Geography and the Future of Man


Acknowledgments


Notes


Bibliography


Index