30 March 2022

Henri Lefebvre's conception of nature-society in the revolutionary project of autogestion

When related to his conception of nature and society, Henri Lefebvre's concept of autogestion indicates the possibilities for a radical response to the social-ecological crises of capital in the twenty first century. Reuniting his radical critique of the capitalist production of space with his theorization of autogestion as a radical praxis aimed at total transformation offers a corrective to common, speculative appropriations of the former, while offering valuable insight into Lefebvre's observations regarding the centrality of the reappropriation of space to any genuinely radical project. Moreover, relating these concepts to his conception of nature-society and his engagement with what is now known as Marx's theory of metabolic rift indicates how a radical reappropriation of space, time, and the body also entails a transformation of humanity's relationship and metabolic interchange with the rest of nature.

24 December 2021

Territorialising Space in Latin America

A book on territory and territoriality in Latin America, based on a pair of sessions at the 2018 Conference of Latin Americanist Geographers that I organized together with Mike McCall, has just been published by Springer. Here are the highlights:

  • Investigates, from a grounded and contemporary perspective, how the notion of territory is being used in Latin America
  • Covers significant theoretical and methodological approaches regarding territory and territoriality
  • Highlights current trends of geographical research on Latin America from a wide diversity of researchers

16 November 2021

Antinomies of space and nature or an open totality? Neil Smith and Henri Lefebvre on nature and society

Prior to recent, systematic engagement with the whole of his corpus, geographical appropriation of the thought of Henri Lefebvre has tended to be been fragmentary and eclectic. This is aptly illustrated in Neil Smith's paradoxical claim that his production of nature thesis was inspired by Lefebvre's work on the production of space even as Smith rejected or misunderstood most of what Lefebvre actually said while reworking the production of space into an epiphenomenon of the production of nature. This paper is one of several that ramified out of our call to re-evaluate Lefebvre's conception of the nature-society dialectic in geography, and compare it and contrast it to other understandings and theorizations of the problematic. In this paper, we focus primarily on interrogating Smith's influential portrayal of Lefebvre's thought on the dialectics of nature and society, reconsider Lefebvre's discussion of the domination of nature---a category on which much of Smith's thesis pivots---, and how Lefebvre's grasp of what is now referred to as Marx's theory of metabolic rift offers an alternative route to a spatial-ecological critique of capital than various attempts to "ecologize" David Harvey's theory of spatial fix.

10 December 2020

Sustainability and Metabolic Revolution in the Works of Henri Lefebvre

A paper that we wrote, based on a study of the translated portion of Henri Lefebvre's corpus, on the potential insights that his conception of the oppositional unity of nature-society offers into questions of sustainability, was just published in World. The paper looks primarily at Lefebvre's relation to contemporary issues of sustainability in terms of three central themes: the urban revolution, autogestion, and the critique of everyday life and the notion of total revolution. The hope is to stimulate further thought and discussion, as well as consideration of how other aspects of Lefebvre's work could be brought to bear on a radical project of sustainability in the context of a comprehensive social transformation.

05 November 2020

Five Centuries of Pillage and Resistance: Latin America and Africa

In advance of the 50th anniversary of the publication of two defining books of the 20th century,  Review of African Political Economy is publishing an account of both Eduardo Galeano's Open Veins of Latin America and Walter Rodney's How Europe Underdeveloped Africa. Today, the first of these two, which I wrote together with Héctor Ignacio Martínez Alvarez and Pedro S. Urquijo, was published on the ROAPE blog.