Building a personal research and teaching library…

Progressive Geographies

Building a personal research and teaching library – a few thoughts inspired by Dave Beer, The case of bookcases. Thank you to Dave both for this post and encouraging me to say something about my books.

At home, I’m fortunate to have a large room as a study. This is the main writing collection, with all the books by Foucault, Heidegger, Lefebvre and other thinkers whose work I want to have easily accessible. I have most in original language and translation. I also have a lot of secondary literature on each of them, and, especially with Foucault, a lot of related texts – documents, bibliographies, pamphlets, etc. I also have nearly all my history of political thought and philosophy books, pre-20th century, at home – loads of books by Plato, Aristotle, Descartes, Leibniz, Kant, Hegel, Marx, Nietzsche and many others. I also have books by Kostas Axelos, the complete…

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Understanding Public Perceptions of a New Pit Lake in As Pontes, Spain

The introduction of coal mining in the 1940’s transformed the landscape and economy of As Pontes, Spain. Industrialisation created successive waves of economic and population booms, but when the mining slowed in the 1990s, the region experienced economic depression. Real and perceived social divisions and environmental abuses on the part of the mining company remained entrenched in people’s memories. This paper provides an overview of the factors that likely affected community acceptance of the new pit lake in As Pontes, Spain. Pit lakes are often attractive closure options for companies, and community opinion of pit lakes can influence pit end use. Community perceptions of the pit lake before, during, and after filling were assessed using case studies, interviews, and focus groups, and by tracking news events and analysing internet forums. The results broadly indicated high community acceptance of the pit lake by people residing in the town. However, interviews revealed that acceptance of the pit lake was influenced by previous experiences with the mining company; company employees and local politicians were more likely to be positive about the benefits of the lake, whereas those not directly affiliated with the lake (long-term residents, remote villagers, school teachers) were more likely to have a negative view of it. Thus, technical success is not the only factor that influences community acceptance of pit lakes and company closure plans. Unresolved social issues can also influence the way certain people perceive the new landscape, regardless of ecological and aesthetic impacts.

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Is This a Dress Rehearsal?

In the Moment

Bruno Latour

The unforeseen coincidence between a general confinement and the period of Lent is still quite welcome for those who have been asked, out of solidarity, to do nothing and to remain at a distance from the battle front. This obligatory fast, this secular and republican Ramadan can be a good opportunity for them to reflect on what is important and what is derisory. . . . It is as though the intervention of the virus could serve as a dress rehearsal for the next crisis, the one in which the reorientation of living conditions is going to be posed as a challenge to all of us, as will all the details of daily existence that we will have to learn to sort out carefully. I am advancing the hypothesis, as have many others, that the health crisis prepares, induces, incites us to prepare for climate change. This hypothesis…

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Landscape value

Landscape value corresponds to an attachment or emotional bond that people develop with places. There are strong cultural ties to landscapes and feelings for the visual beauty of mountains, lakes, coasts, forests, etc., which are a common bond among people or social groups of a given region. Arguments related to landscape values are commonly heard in Europe from opponents to the construction of wind farms for example. Landscape values may also be important for the tourism industry and landscapes can therefore be managed as a key component of tourism infrastructure.

Landscape value often has an association with environmental and natural resource values. The values that people appreciate in a landscape may often also be important ecologically. Landscape values can be divided into use and non-value, the former of which provides tangible benefits (such as economic value through, for instance, tourism, or recreation value) and the latter of which provides spiritual, identity or ecological value.

For further reading

Penning-Rowsell, E. C. (1981) Fluctuating fortunes in gauging landscape value. Progress in human geography, 5(1), 25-41.

Zografos, C., & Mart, J. (2009). The politics of landscape value: a case study of wind farm conflict in rural Catalonia. Environment and Planning A, 41(7), 1726-1744.

This glossary entry is based on contributions by Julien Francois Gerber

EJOLT glossary editors: Hali Healy, Sylvia Lorek and Beatriz Rodríguez-Labajos

Debate participacion (Habermas) vs technocracy (Niklas Luhmann)

O problema de partida: apatia política nas democracias contemporâneas Nos últimos anos formou-se um consenso surpreendente entre muitos autores sobre a crise do sistema democrático. A surpresa deriva do fato de que, depois da Queda do Muro de Berlim, a democracia ocidental parecia triunfar definitiva e incontrastavelmente. De fato, havia tempo que alguns teóricos já tinham alertado para problemas irresolvidos e dilemas que caracterizam nossas sociedades democráticas. Já na década de 1970, Jürgen Habermas e Claus Offe tinham chamado atenção para os desafios que o Estado democrático de bem-estar social tinha que enfrentar na Europa (Habermas, [1973] 1980; Offe, [1972] 1984). Com o desenvolvimento da economia capitalista e o multiplicar-se das crises econômicas e financeiras, provocadas – na leitura marxista desses autores – pela própria lógica do sistema capitalista, o Estado se viu na obrigação de encontrar remédios para os efeitos negativos de tais crises e para obviar às correspondentes crises de legitimação que ameaçavam o sistema econômico e político. Um dos instrumentos utilizados para esse fim foi a adoção de políticas de segurança social, que foram aprofundando-se e transformando-se em políticas de bem-estar social. Ora, apesar de considerar esse processo em geral de maneira positiva, Habermas em várias obras alerta para um efeito negativo: o cidadão tende a transformar-se em cliente, renunciando à participação ativa e assumindo a atitude passiva de quem se limita a aguardar serviços do Estado (Habermas, 1973, pp. 9 e ss., 2012, pp. 626 e ss.).

Mais ou menos na mesma época, Niklas Luhmann, ao discutir a noção de “democratização da política”, afirmava que as sociedades contemporâneas são tão complexas que as “teorias clássicas da democracia” parecem ultrapassadas e incapazes de entender adequadamente a realidade política (Luhmann, [1965] 1983, p. 153). A ideia de uma vontade popular é inspirada por uma analogia com
os indivíduos, mas não se deixa aplicar a sistemas altamente complexos. Essa complexidade faz com que “o nível de informação do público” seja “extremamente baixo”. Até em casos que dizem respeito ao interesse pessoal dos cidadãos, como no “do direito tributário, ou daqueles relativos aos seguros e às pensões”, é improvável que o indivíduo conheça as leis em questão. Longe de considerar isso lamentável, Luhmann pensa que “ignorância e apatia são
as condições mais importantes para uma mudança das leis, que segue passando despercebida, e para a variabilidade do direito e, portanto, são funcionais para o sistema” (Luhmann, [1965] 1983, p. 191).

Source: http://www.scielo.br/pdf/ln/n89/06.pdf

“Large-scale mining developments’ 7 capital sins” Documentary (in Spanish)

Federico Guzman documentary on megamining in Zacatecas, Mexico. See also his thesis book.

http://rimd.reduaz.mx/7Pecados2019.mp4?fbclid=IwAR1r9nAn3t9TCFzipu7IVPRXgpPnGFkoXZcAsQU0RniHCf-NSOqb4peQECY

American English vs. European English

This video by Michael McIntyre on American Language reminds me Alexis de Tocquevile text when he describes the simplicity of English language in America. He suggests that the fact America was made of unkonwn people coming from many parts of the words made people to use language in a more intuitive way for better communication. For instance, sidewalk instead of pavement. Sidewalk provide a more detail explanation of the action a person is suppose to perform in that specific place.