Research, action and 'critical' geographies
Kitchin, R. M. and Hubbard, P. J. (1999) Research, action and 'critical' geographies. Area, 31 (3). pp. 195-198. ISSN 0004-0894
In the 199Os, the notion of ‘doing’ critical geographies has become one of the central themes infusing human geographic study. Eschewing the strictures of radical Marxist approaches (which principally focused on the forms of oppression and inequality wrought by capitalist process), critical geography has consequently sought to examine the diverse sociospatial processes that regulate and reproduce social exclusion. The lens of critical geographers has thus widened from a narrow focus on capital-labour relations to encompass broader processes of social disadvantage and marginalization as they affect women, ethnic minorities, sexual dissidents, disabled people and so on. Simultaneously, this ’critical agenda’ has been accompanied by a heightened concern that the geographer’s research on social oppression and exclusion should be sensitive to the life experiences of marginalized groups. For example, in recent years there have been several papers (eg Keith 7992; Robinson 1994; Rose 1997) and collections (Canadian Geographer 1993; Professional Geographer 1994; Antipode 1995) that have examined issues such as reflexivity, empowerment, emancipation, critical praxis, positionality and power relations. Such writing has generally concentrated on the complex social relations the exist between researcher and researched, with ideas from feminist scholarship (in particular) invoked to dismiss assumptions that research is an objective and ‘value-free’ endeavour.
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