Volume 52, Issue 1 January 2020

The first issue of Antipode’s 52nd volume opens with an Editorial, which lays out how we as Editors see our work with Antipode — as stewards of a “living archive” of radical geography — and what this means in our political conjuncture marked by a creative reassertion of Left politics in the context of multiple crises. What better way to appreciate the generative nature of the radical geography archive than to delve into the 2016 Neil Smith Lecture delivered by J.K. Gibson-Graham that follows.

Gibson-Graham discusses her post-structuralist feminist project in relation to Neil Smith’s Marxist commitments. Often positioned as antithetical to one another, Gibson-Graham sees her and Neil’s respective trajectories as complementary: both have turned to Geography’s forgotten pasts to understand genealogies of power/knowledge that have shaped the present. Neil combed through the geographical archive to reveal the “‘spatial grammar’ of capitalist expansion”, on the one hand. Gibson-Graham, on the other, read the archive to uncover the “fragile knowledge commons” that thread through geographers’ studies of mid-20th century “Monsoon Asia”. By reading the archive for difference, these practices offer insights into “new ways to live with the earth” in the Anthropocene.

The remaining 14 papers of the issue offer thoughtful and at times provocative interventions into migration and labor, global South development, neoliberal regulation, and theoretical debates in Marxism and beyond. Three papers provide sobering, critical assessments of labor and migration. Kuschminder and Triandafyllidou draw on research with Eritrean migrant organizations to show the inadequacies of the common “trafficking” framework; rather, migrants’ ordeals are better comprehended and addressed as crimes against humanity. Taylor and Meissner analyze the roll-out of “big data” platforms as tools to predict and manage migration. Not only does the big data approach work poorly as a policy tool, but it also reinforces migration as risk. Vandergeest and Marschke critique the limits of anti-slavery discourses based on work on labor standards in Thai fisheries. The use of slavery to anchor labor rights campaigns reduces complexity and posits capitalist relations of production as the solution to rights abuses rather than their cause.

This issue contains six contributions to rethink global South development at different scales. For the urban, Castañeda discusses cycling activists in Bogotá, Colombia whose playful practices push against strictly utilitarian justifications for mobility and show us how mobile practices like cycling can be claimed as a “right to the city”. Garmany and Richmond provincialize urban theory through an analysis of the Brazilian concept of “hygienization”. They argue that the term places longstanding racialized, anti-poor practices of state violence at the center of analysis in critical ways that are inadequately conceived by thinking through “gentrification”. At the level of state development, Koch contributes to geographical understandings of state-corporate synergies through a study of the corporate promotion of nationalism in the Gulf States. Far from a regional exception, this paper offers insights into the centrality of corporations in the production of nationalism more broadly.

Mawdsley mobilizes queer theory to analyze how global South donors are transforming long-standing development practices and identities while reinscribing hierarchical relations of difference. Focusing on difference and coloniality, Enns and Bersaglio argue for a longue durée approach to massive infrastructure projects in East Africa to reveal colonial imaginaries that adhere to contemporary plans and reproduce peasant and indigenous exclusions. Qian and Wei offer a Gidwani-esque reading of “capital interrupted” in southern China where Chinese entrepreneurs steadily take over new tourist infrastructures while the local, ethnic Mosuo are displaced or devalued.

Three papers offer original contributions to neoliberal regulation. Heslop and Omerod and Yrigoy both engage with the continuing unfolding of discursive and regulatory responses to the housing bubble at the heart of the 2008 financial crisis, focusing on England and Spain respectively. Their papers offer sharp analyses of these regulatory responses and how their limits can offer insights into contesting finance capital’s crippling grip on housing. Holloway and Kirby unearth the underexplored dimensions of neoliberal education through a study of private tuition markets and supplementary education programs in England and Wales. They show how the “moving map” of higher education’s neoliberalization is shaped by regional inequalities and race and class differences.

Finally, two contributions sharpen our critical theory toolkit. In his paper, Blomley argues for a relational approach to property, defining the “property space” as one that constitutes graduated positions of conditional access to property. Finally, Ekers and Loftus draw on a range of Marxist, feminist and Black feminist scholarship to reboot our understanding of the “complex concrete” in order to consider labor as an active, differentiated category apt for emancipatory politics.

We thank the authors and reviewers for their work to bring these papers to the larger Antipode community and hope readers find the ideas, critiques and commitments therein generative for their scholarship and activism.

The Antipode Editorial Collective, January 2020

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