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Justice, Nature and the Geography of Difference

Justice, Nature and the Geography of Difference

David Harvey

ISBN: 978-1-557-86681-3 December 1996 Wiley-Blackwell 480 Pages


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AUD $73.95

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This book engages with the politics of social and environmental justice, and seeks new ways to think about the future of urbanization in the twenty-first century. It establishes foundational concepts for understanding how space, time, place and nature - the material frames of daily life - are constituted and represented through social practices, not as separate elements but in relation to each other. It describes how geographical differences are produced, and shows how they then become fundamental to the exploration of political, economic and ecological alternatives to contemporary life.

The book is divided into four parts. Part I describes the problematic nature of action and analysis at different scales of time and space, and introduces the reader to the modes of dialectical thinking and discourse which are used throughout the remainder of the work. Part II examines how "nature" and "environment" have been understood and valued in relation to processes of social change and seeks, from this basis, to make sense of contemporary environmental issues.

Part III, is a wide-ranging discussion of history, geography and culture, explores the meaning of the social "production" of space and time, and clarifies problems related to "otherness" and "difference". The final part of the book deploys the foundational arguments the author has established to consider contemporary problems of social justice that have resulted from recent changes in geographical divisions of labor, in the environment, and in the pace and quality of urbanization.

Justice, Nature and the Geography of Difference speaks to a wide readership of students of social, cultural and spatial theory and of the dynamics of contemporary life. It is a convincing demonstration that it is both possible and necessary to value difference and to seek a just social order.

Thoughts for a Prologue.


Part I: Orientations.

1. Militant Particularism and Global Ambition.

2. Dialectics.

3. A Cautionary Tale on Internal Relations.

4. The Dialectics of Discourse.

5. Historical Agency and the Loci of Social Change.

Part II: The Nature of Environment.


6. The Domination of Nature and its Discontents.

7. Valuing Nature.

8. The Dialectics of Social and Environmental Change.

Part III: Space, Time and Place.


9. The Social Construction of Space and Time.

10. The Currency of Space-Time.

11. From Space to Place and Back Again.

Part IV: Justice, Difference and Politics.


12. Class Relations, Social Justice and the Political Geography of Difference.

13. The Environment of Justice.

14. Possible Urban Worlds.

Thoughts for an Epilogue.




  • The world's leading geographer establishes new foundations for the understanding of social life at different times and different places.

  • Reintroduces concepts of value into postmodern social theory.

  • Investigates the unjust access of peoples of different countries and of different classes within the same country to environmental, economic and social justice.

  • Draws on insights from numerous disciplines, including geography, philosophy, literary criticism, and sociology.

  • Theoretically innovative, accessibly written, and illustrated with numerous real-world examples.