For the first time in English, a key work of critical geography
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.
Critical geography has developed in the past four decades into a heterogenous and creative field of enquiry. Though accruing a set of theoretical touchstones in the process, it has become detached from a longer and broader history of geographical thought. For a New Geography reconciles these divergent histories. Arriving in English at a time of renewed interest in alternative geographical traditions and the history of radical geography, it takes its place in the canonical works of critical geography.
Translator’s Introduction: The Newness of Geography
Introduction: From a Critique of Geography to a Critical Geography
Part I. The Critique of Geography
1. The Founders: Scientific Pretensions
2. Philosophical Inheritance
3. Postwar Renovation: “A New Geography”
4. Quantitative Geography
5. Models and Systems: The Ecosystems
6. The Geography of Perception and Behavior
7. The Triumph of Formalism and Ideology
8. The Balance of the Crisis: Geography, Widow of Space
Part II. Geography, Society, Space
9. A New Interdisciplinarity
10. An Attempt to Define Space
11. Space: Reflection of Society or Social Fact?
12. Space: A Factor?
13. Space as Social Order
Part III. For a Critical Geography
14. In Search of a Paradigm
15. Total Space in Our Time
16. State and Space: The Nation-State as a Geographical Unit of Study
17. The Ideas of Totality and Social Formation and the Renovation of Geography
18. The Idea of Time in Geographical Studies
Conclusion: Geography and the Future of Man
Milton Santos (1926–2001) was Professor of Geography at the University of São Paulo and the author of many books, including The Shared Space: The Two Circuits of the Urban Economy in Underdeveloped Countries.
Brenda Baletti teaches in the Thompson Writing Program at Duke University.
Susanna Hecht is Professor of Urban Planning at the University of California, Los Angeles and Professor of International History at the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies in Geneva.
"For a New Geography presents an incisive critique of twentieth-century geography rooted in an anti-colonial, Third-Worldist perspective, and makes the case for a new geography linked to global social justice. As the perceptive translator’s introduction makes clear, this volume is an important historical text that continues to hold significant insights for today."—Ruth Craggs, King’s College London
"It is great to see this commented translation of a key work by Milton Santos, one of the most iconic radical geographers from the Global South. This book anticipated several critical approaches to the philosophy and history of geography and is now available thanks to the commitment of Archie Davies, who is at the same time a great scholar and a great translator, two qualities that it is rare to see combined in today’s Anglophone scholarship."—Federico Ferretti, University of Bologna