Culture is not what it used to be: The transformation of Anglo-American cultural geography

D. Mitchell

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


The purpose of this essay is to show how the range of work now being conducted within English-language cultural geography has developed from within - and moved well beyond - its Berkeley-school roots, and to suggest some areas in which it has fallen short, both theoretically and politically, from becoming the truly critical mode of geographical knowledge that it could be. The following will be a partisan and therefore partial account. I have a real stake in the debates and theoretical developments I will explore below: I am a proponent of a particular view in cultural geography, a view that could perhaps be summarized as materialist, Marxist, and to some degree "economistic" in orientation. For me the place to look for culture is in the political-economy, in the world of commodity production. I do not see culture as an autonomous realm or sphere of meaning or signification, nor as an automatic site of "resistance (two predominate contemporary ways of understanding culture). Indeed, I see much "culture" as repressive and oppressive, inextricably bound up in the reproduction of capitalism, and a form of political co-optation. But I get ahead of myself. We will get to these issues soon enough. I raise them here only as a warning. Do not take this article as an impartial account of Anglo-American cultural geography. I think it is an accurate account, but it is anything but an impartial one.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)36-53
Number of pages18
JournalJapanese Journal of Human Geography
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2001


  • Cultural turn
  • Culturalism
  • Culture
  • Globalization
  • New cultural geography

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geography, Planning and Development


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