Most social geography undergraduate textbooks are structured around different social categories, splintering the discussion of gender, class, race and increasingly now sexuality and disability, into separate chapters. This has the effect, firstly, of making social relations rather than space (the raison d'etre of human geography) the focus of undergraduate books; secondly of ignoring the way that social relations are negotiated and contested in different space. Rather than reproducing this conventional social geography format the aim of this proposed text is to make space the focus of analysis. In doing so the intention is to make complex theoretical debates about space more accessible to students and encourage them to look at their own environments in new ways.
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This book focuses on eight spatial scales (body, home, community, institutions, the street, the city, rual and nation). Each of these spaces represents the intersection of a range of connections, interrelations and movements of different people who have very different ways of participating in, understanding or belonging to them. Each chapter therefore explores how social identities (gender, race, class, sexuality) and relations are constructed in, and through these spaces, and how the meanings and uses of these spaces are contested by their different occupants. Questions of homogeneity and difference, control and disorder, and social and exclusion run throughout the text.
Topics covered include: body modification, homelessness, neighbourhood and cyber communities, the workplace, fear of crime, policing, gentrification, whiteness, leisure activities, citizenship and nationalism. Guides to further reading, and essay questions are provided at the end of each chapter. A glossary defining key words and a guide to how to do a project in social geography are both included at the end of the book.
Gill Valentine is a Professor of Geography at the University of Sheffield.
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