The International Critical Geography Group: Forbidden Optimism?

Jun 28th, 2015
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At the end of the fulcrum year of 1989 Casper W. Weinberger, Reagan's ex-secretary of Defence, rejoiced over the “enormously heartening, daily rejection of Communism” in Eastern Europe and issued an appeal (Weinberger, 1989). As publisher of the business magazine Forbes, which subtitles itself “Capitalist Tool,” Weinberger admonished his readers that the United States could “profit in every sense of the word” from these events, but that it all “starts with geography” (Weinberger, 1989).

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6The International Critical Geography Group:Forbidden Optimism?Neil Smith and Caroline Desbiens1999. Environment and Planning D: Society and Space 18, 379-382.1At the end of the fulcrum year of 1989 Casper W. Weinberger, Reagan's exsecretary of Defence, rejoiced over the enormously heartening, daily rejection ofCommunism in Eastern Europe and issued an appeal (Weinberger, 1989). Aspublisher of the business magazine Forbes, which subtitles itself Capitalist Tool,Weinberger admonished his readers that the United States could profit in every senseof the word from these events, but that it all starts with geography (Weinberger,1989). Less than a decade later, 1997 proved to be as pivotal as 1989 this timeeconomically more than politically as the neo-liberal globalization from whichWeinberger eagerly sought to profit showed the first signs of fatal weakness.Overproduction in Asia after an extraordinary 30-year industrial revolutiontransformed with lightening efficiency into a global stock market meltdown. But ingeographical circles, 1997 may turn out to be significant for other reasons: it was alsothe year in which a very different vision of global geography was launched, one whichputs a radical twist on Weinbergers assertion of the importance of geography.In August 1997 approximately 300 geographers, activists and academics from30 different countries and five continents came together in Vancouver for theInaugural Internation

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