SCIENTIA GEOGRAPHICA SINICA ›› 2010, Vol. 30 ›› Issue (1): 1-7.doi: 10.13249/j.cnki.sgs.2010.01.1

• 论文 •     Next Articles

Formation and Evolution of Radical Geography: A Case Study as James Blaut's "The Dissenting Tradition"

YE Chao, CAI Yun-long   

  1. College of Urban and Environmental Sciences, Peking University, Beijing 100871
  • Received:2009-07-16 Revised:2009-09-23 Online:2010-01-20 Published:2010-01-20

Abstract: Little work has been done about radical geography and Marxist geography until now in China. Particularly thinking of China as a country which regards Marxism as guidelines and asserts it is the main or almost only correct ideology, we should not ignore and forget to know and understand the theories and practices of radical geography and Marxist geography. For this reason, this paper tries to introduce a representative figure, James Blaut and review his opinions and methods in the area of radical geography for Chinese geographers. In terms of method, case study is an important method for methodological research. According to choosing "The Dissenting Tradition", a classical paper in the history of radical geography written by James Blaut as the case, we analyzed and extended its meanings. Firstly, James Blaut is "the most exemplary" Marxist geographer as David Harvey ever appraised. As a Marxist, he is so full of the critical spirit that he really conforms to one of the most important criterion and principle that Marx put forward, which is "for a ruthless criticism of everything existing". Secondly, in the light of the paper by Blaut, we restated the theories and practice of radical geography, and summarized its main points and the meanings on the geographical methodology. Finally, at the same time of studying his opinions and contents, we should see and admire his courage and spirit to hold on a ruthless criticism of everything including himself all the time. Based on understanding exactly what Blaut and his paper wants to express, we can conclude that: ① radical geography is the product of the interaction between the capitalist crisis and the defective positivism geography; ② geography is not ever a "pure and objective" discipline holding neutrality of value, and geographers are under the jurisdiction of their race-class identity; ③ radical geography is founded mainly by starting publications, establishing the groups and a campaign to spread the radical thought, and most radical geographers finally become Marxists.Maybe it is the most inspirational for us that the theoretical reconstruction based on criticism and self-criticism is the main means of innovating geographical methodology. China should actively carry out theoretical research and practical activities of the radical and Marxist geography.

CLC Number: 

  • K90