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Gender, Identity and Place: Understanding Feminist Geographies

Gender, Identity and Place: Understanding Feminist Geographies

Linda McDowell

ISBN: 978-0-745-61507-3 December 1998 Polity 296 Pages


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Feminist approaches within the social sciences have expanded enormously since the 1960s. In addition, in recent years, geographic perspectives have become increasingly significant as feminist recognition of the differences between women, their diverse experiences in different parts of the world and the importance of location in the social construction of knowledge has placed varied geographies at the centre of contemporary feminist and postmodern debates.

Gender, Identity and Place is an accessible and clearly written introduction to the wide field of issues that have been addressed by geographers and feminist scholars. It combines the careful definition and discussion of key concepts and theoretical approaches with a wealth of empirical detail from a wide-ranging selection of case studies and other empirical research. It is organized on the basis of spatial scale, examining the relationships between gender and place from the body to the nation, although the links between different spatial scales are also emphasized. The conceptual division and spatial separation between the public and private spheres and their association with men and women respectively has been a crucial part of the social construction of gendered differences and its establishment, maintenance and reshaping from industrial urbanization to the end of the millennium is a central linking theme in the eight substantive chapters. The book concludes with an assessment of the possibilities of doing feminist research.

It will be essential reading for students in geography, feminist theory, women's studies, anthropology and sociology.

List of Plates.

List of Figures and Tables.

1. Introduction: Place and Gender.

2. In and Out of Place: Bodies and Embodiment.

3. Home, Place and Identity.

4. Community, City and Locality.

5. Work/Workplaces.

6. In Public: the Street and Spaces of Pleasure.

7. Gendering the Nation-State.

8. Displacements.

9. Postscript: Reflections on the Dilemmas of Feminist Research.



"McDowell provides a sensitive and sophisticated reading of the feminist literature through a geographer's lens. Accessible, comprehensive, and contemporary, Gender, Identity and Place never loses sight of the feminist political project. A landmark book in feminist geography!" Susan Hanson, Head of Graduate School of Geography, Clark University

"a text that usefully and thematically summarises an extant body of knowledge. Any tertiary student, new researcher or reluctant colleague wanting to understand the contribution of feminist geography to the discipline will find easy access to that story in the highly readable narrative that Linda McDowell has composed. Gender, Identity and Place has a strength that is often lacking in multiply authored or thematically focused texts. The cohesion of the argument is not simply evident in the introduction and conclusion but is threaded through each of the substantive sections theoretically, empirically and stylistically." Robyn Peace, University of Waikato, Journal of Interdisciplinary Gender Studies

* Very accessible and wide-ranging introduction to feminist perspectives on geography.
* Clearly written with careful attention paid to defining key concepts and theories in the field.
* Using plenty of case-study material and empirical research, the book covers a broad range of themes including: place and gender, home, place and identity, work and workplaces, the street and spaces of pleasure, and gendering the nation state.