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Space, Place, and Gender

Doreen Massey
Copyright Date: 1994
Edition: NED - New edition
Pages: 288
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  • Book Info
    Space, Place, and Gender
    Book Description:

    "Massey, a leading feminist geographer, develops a notion of spatiality as the product of intersecting social relations. She traces the development of ideas about the social structure of space and place, and relates these concepts to issues of gender and various debates within feminism. "

    eISBN: 978-0-8166-8653-7
    Subjects: Philosophy

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. Acknowledgments
    (pp. vii-viii)
  4. General Introduction
    (pp. 1-16)

    The terms space and place have long histories and bear with them a multiplicity of meanings and connotations which reverberate with other debates and many aspects of life. ‘Space’ may call to mind the realm of the dead or the chaos of simultaneity and multiplicity. It may be used in reference to the synchronic systems of structuralists or employed to picture the n-dimensional space of identity.¹ Likewise with place, though perhaps with more consistency, it can raise an image of one’s place in the world, of the reputedly (but as we shall see, disputed) deep meanings of ‘a place called...


    • Introduction
      (pp. 19-24)

      The main burden of the papers in this part is a theoretical one. It concerns the conceptualization of the spatial, and it moves from a critique of a certain kind of spatial fetishism to an attempt to think the spatial in terms of social relations. At this level it is an extremely abstract argument; and it concerns a debate which still continues.

      The origins of this debate, however, at least within the discipline of geography in the United Kingdom were to a large extent grounded in arguments about very concrete issues. This is important to recognize for two reasons. First,...

    • 1 Industrial Restructuring versus the Cities
      (pp. 25-49)
      Richard A. Meegan

      The decline of manufacturing in the cities has been the subject of much recent research. One unfortunate side effect of this concern, however, has been the tendency for the problem to be defined in spatial terms, and, consequently, for the causes of the problem to be sought within the same spatial area. This tendency to study the workings of the city in economic and spatial isolation from the rest of the national economy has often seen emphasis being placed, for example, on assessment of the influence of such factors as the built-environment of the inner-city areas (congestion, dereliction, site availability,...

    • 2 In What Sense a Regional Problem?
      (pp. 50-66)

      The aim of this paper is to raise some questions about common conceptions of ‘regional problems’ within capitalist societies. Some of the points to be made are well known, others are raised less frequently; some challenge explicit positions in the established theory, others implicit assumptions in methodology. The hope is that, by collecting these points together, and indicating some of their interrelationships, the implications of each one may be taken more seriously.

      This section of the paper presents a framework for the analysis of regional differentiation. Such a framework will, of necessity, be rather abstract at this stage, but later...

    • 3 The Shape of Things to Come
      (pp. 67-85)

      The British labour-force is not what it was twenty years ago. The immediate disaster of Thatcherism has thrown into high relief major changes in its composition. Employment in manufacturing has collapsed since the 1979 election. Skilled manual jobs are being cut back drastically. There has even been a drop in the total workforce. It has felt like devastation, and it has been. But the intensity of the effect of Tory policies should not blind us to the fact that underlying them are longer-run processes of change. The working class, and the labour-force more generally, are undergoing structural changes in composition....

    • 4 Uneven Development: Social Change and Spatial Divisions of Labour
      (pp. 86-114)

      The concept of uneven development, if it is to have any purchase on the structure and dynamics of economy and society more widely, must refer to more than the fact that there are more jobs in some places than others, or even that there are better jobs in some places than others. Such measures are interesting, and they are important, but they do not in themselves link that inequality to its causes in the deeper structures of the organization of society. In order to do this, uneven development must be conceptualized in terms of the basic building-blocks of (in this...


    • Introduction
      (pp. 117-124)

      Much of the early debate about space had been concerned to argue the importance of thinking in geographically more expansive terms. The stimulus had come, at least in part, from the need to set ‘places’ (whether seen as the national economy, the region or the inner city) in the wider context of the forces and relations which lay not only within but also beyond them and which played so important a role in determining their fate. One effect of this was to rob places in a certain measure of their individual specificity (of course there was uneven development, which assigned...

    • 5 The Political Place of Locality Studies
      (pp. 125-145)

      At a number of points in the rich debate about locality studies in the United Kingdom, various authors have made various assumptions about thereasonsfor pursuing this kind of research in the first place. The different positions of the particular contributors have, however, unlike other aspects of the discussion, rarely been linked together into a debate. Yet it is clearly an important issue. For one thing, it will crucially affect the way locality studies, as a category and individually, are evaluated. It is difficult adequately to assess research without understanding its aims in the first place, both in order...

    • 6 A Global Sense of Place
      (pp. 146-156)

      This is an era – it is often said – when things are speeding up, and spreading out. Capital is going through a new phase of internationalization, especially in its financial parts. More people travel more frequently and for longer distances. Your clothes have probably been made in a range of countries from Latin America to South-East Asia. Dinner consists of food shipped in from all over the world. And if you have a screen in your office, instead of opening a letter which - care of Her Majesty’s Post Office – has taken some days to wend its way...

    • 7 A Place Called Home?
      (pp. 157-174)

      In the debates about such concepts as ‘home’, ‘place’, ‘location-locality’, identity and sense of place, and so on, one of the prime contributions of geographers so far, and most particularly of economic geographers, has been to provide a kind of backcloth, more precisely an economic rationale, for some of the senses of dislocation, fragmentation and disorientation that are currently being expressed by so many.

      The argument is that we are living through a period (the precise dating is usually quite vague) of immense spatial upheaval, that this is an era of a new and powerful globalization, of instantaneous worldwide communication,...


    • Introduction
      (pp. 177-184)

      The intersections and mutual influences of ‘geography’ and ‘gender’ are deep and multifarious. Each is, in profound ways, implicated in the construction of the other: geography in its various guises influences the cultural formation of particular genders and gender relations; gender has been deeply influential in the production of ‘the geographical’. There is now a very considerable literature in feminist geography which spans the range from attempts simply to get the issue on to the agenda to highly sophisticated theoretical and methodological arguments which should (though whether they will or not remains to be seen) change the very nature of...

    • 8 Space, Place and Gender
      (pp. 185-190)

      I can remember very clearly a sight which often used to strike me when I was nine or ten years old. I lived then on the outskirts of Manchester, and ‘Going into Town’ was a relatively big occasion; it took over half an hour and we went on the top deck of a bus. On the way into town we would cross the wide shallow valley of the River Mersey, and my memory is of dank, muddy fields spreading away into a cold, misty distance. And all of it – all of these acres of Manchester – was divided up...

    • 9 A Woman’s Place?
      (pp. 191-211)
      Linda McDowell

      The nineteenth century saw the expansion of capitalist relations of production in Britain. It was a geographically uneven and differentiated process, and the resulting economic differences between regions are well known: the rise of the coalfields, of the textile areas, the dramatic social and economic changes in the organization of agriculture, and so forth. Each was both a reflection of and a basis for the period of dominance which the UK economy enjoyed within the nineteenth-century international division of labour. In this wider spatial division of labour, in other words, different regions of Britain played different roles, and their economic...

    • 10 Flexible Sexism
      (pp. 212-248)

      In the current debate around modernism and postmodernism, which is having its reflection in our field, both sides claim feminism for their own. Moreover, to feminists each offers possibilities. Postmodernism holds out the potential democracy of a plurality of voices and points of view, the end to a notion of science and society which has in fact (to be distinguished from ‘by necessity’) been unremittingly and tediously male, a patriarchal hierarchy with a claim to truth. Modernism, on the other hand, points to the possibility of progress and change. Things may be patriarchal now (including, OK let’s admit it, modernism...

    • 11 Politics and Space/Time
      (pp. 249-272)

      ‘Space’ is very much on the agenda these days. On the one hand, from a wide variety of sources come proclamations of the significance of the spatial in these times: ‘It is space not time that hides consequences from us’ (Berger); ‘The difference that space makes’ (Sayer); ‘that new spatiality implicit in the postmodern’ (Jameson); ‘it is space rather than time which is the distinctively significant dimension of contemporary capitalism’ (Urry); and ‘All the social sciences must make room for an increasingly geographical conception of mankind’ (Braudel). Even Foucault is now increasingly cited for his occasional reflections on the importance...

  8. Index
    (pp. 273-280)