Radical Democracy

My previously advertised co-authored paper with Gary Bridge, Geographies of Radical Democracy, is now published for ‘real’, in print, in the latest issue of the Annals of the Association of American Geographers. We have been sent a whole load of off-prints of the article – a long time since I have received any of those, it’s quite quaint really. Let me know if you want one!

Here is the abstract, again:

“There is significant interest in democracy in contemporary human geography. Theoretically, this interest has been most strongly influenced by poststructuralist theories of radical democracy and associated ontologies of relational spatiality. These emphasize a priori understandings of the spaces of democratic politics, ones that focus on marginal spaces and the destabilization of established patterns. This article develops an alternative account of the spaces of democratic politics that seeks to move beyond the stylized contrast of poststructuralist agonism and liberal consensualism. This alternative draws into focus the spatial dimensions of philosophical pragmatism and the relevance of this tradition for thinking about the geographies of democracy. In particular, the geographical relevance of pragmatism lies in the distinctive inflection of the all-affected principle and of the rationalities of problem solving. Drawing on John Dewey’s work, a conceptualization of transactional space is developed to reconfigure understandings of the agonistics of participation as well as the experimental institutionalization of democratic will. The difference that a pragmatist approach makes to understandings of the geographies of democracy is explored in relation to transnational and urban politics.”

Geographies of radical democracy

For anyone interested in this sort of thing, I have a new paper, co-written with Gary Bridge, just published on-line in the Annals of the Association of American Geographers, which addresses how best to theorise about the relationship between democracy and geography. It develops the idea of agonistic pragmatism, and the notion of transactional space, and explores how the idea of ‘all affected interests’ may, or may not, provide the grounds for rethinking this relationship. It’s an attempt to expand a little the range of reference points, in geography and related fields, for discussions of ‘radical democracy’. You can access a pre-publication draft of the paper here, and the abstract is below:

“There is significant interest in democracy in contemporary human geography. Theoretically, this interest has been most strongly influenced by poststructuralist theories of radical democracy and associated ontologies of relational spatiality. These emphasize a priori understandings of the spaces of democratic politics, ones that focus on marginal spaces and the destabilization of established patterns. This article develops an alternative account of the spaces of democratic politics that seeks to move beyond the stylized contrast of poststructuralist agonism and liberal consensualism. This alternative draws into focus the spatial dimensions of philosophical pragmatism and the relevance of this tradition for thinking about the geographies of democracy. In particular, the geographical relevance of pragmatism lies in the distinctive inflection of the all-affected principle and of the rationalities of problem solving. Drawing on John Dewey’s work, a conceptualization of transactional space is developed to reconfigure understandings of the agonistics of participation as well as the experimental institutionalization of democratic will. The difference that a pragmatist approach makes to understandings of the geographies of democracy is explored in relation to transnational and urban politics.”

Locating transnational advocacy networks: new paper on HIV and AIDS governance

I have a new paper published, online at least, which is always nice –Locating the global governance of HIV and AIDS: exploring the geographies of transnational advocacy networks. It’s in Health and Place, as part of a forthcoming set of papers on global-local relationships in responses to HIV and AIDS. The paper is co-authored with Colin Marx and Abbey Halcli, and is the result of a long process of research (a bit of qualitative, and some numbers), grant writing (shortlisted once, unfunded alpha second-time round), paper drafting, chatting, re-writing, and so on. So, as well as being fun and challenging to work with Abbey and Colin, it also feels like we’ve now got some reward for our efforts.

When we started on this project, I didn’t have children.

The argument of the paper is that cities are important locations for types of politics that aren’t necessarily best thought of as ‘urban politics’, which may or may not be an interesting thing to say. That might depend on who you are saying it to. Here is the abstract:

Over the last two decades, HIV and AIDS have been framed as a “global problem”. In the process, transnational advocacy networks have emerged as important actors, and particular places are recognised as key nodes in global HIV and AIDS governance. Using the example of London, UK, this paper examines how these networks are involved in local articulations of global governance and reveals that ‘global’ processes are inflected by the locations through which networks are routed. The example suggests the need for further analysis of the geographies through which HIV and AIDS is reconfiguring power relations at a variety of spatial scales.