Milton Santos, The Nature of Space and For a New Geography, with a commentary at Progress in Political Economy

Milton Santos, The Nature of Space, translated by Brenda Baletti (Duke, 2021).

In The Nature of Space, pioneering Afro-Brazilian geographer Milton Santos attends to globalization writ large and how local and global orders intersect in the construction of space. Santos offers a theory of human space based on relationships between time and ontology. He argues that when geographers consider the inseparability of time and space, they can then transcend fragmented realities and partial truths without trying to theorize their way around them. Based on these premises, Santos examines the role of space, which he defines as indissoluble systems of objects and systems of actions in social processes, while providing a geographic contribution to the production of a critical social theory.

Milton Santos, For a New Geography, translated by Archie Davis (Minnesota, 2021)

Originally published in 1978 in Portuguese, For a New Geography is a milestone in the history of critical geography and it marked the emergence of its author, Milton Santos (1926–2001), as a major interpreter of geographical thought, a prominent Afro-Brazilian public intellectual, and one of the foremost global theorists of space.

Published in the midst of a crisis in geographical thought, For a New Geography functioned as a bridge between geography’s past and its future. In advancing his vision of a geography of action and liberation, Santos begins by turning to the roots of modern geography and its colonial legacies. Moving from a critique of the shortcomings of geography from the field’s foundations as a modern science to the outline of a new field of critical geography, he sets forth both an ontology of space and a methodology for geography. In so doing, he introduces novel theoretical categories to the analysis of space. It is, in short, both a critique of the Northern, Anglo-centric discipline from within and a systematic critique of its flaws and assumptions from outside

There is a commentary by David Avilés Espinoza at Progress in Political Economy.

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