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Radicalism in Geography | Radical Geography | Radical School of thought in geography

The ideology of Radical Geography is somewhat similar to the ideology of Karl Marx.  During the 1970s, radical geography emerged. The following reasons were responsible for the development of radicalism in geography:
  • The geographers were very dissatisfied with the quantitative revolution because it used inhuman methods in geography, due to which the development of radical geography took place.
  • Positivism, Schaefer's thought, and quantitative approach supported rational and merit-based activities in geography that promote profit-making and capitalism in society. As a result, some places and some people develop more, and as a result, social inequality, regional disparity, gender discrimination, and caste discrimination increase.
  • During the 1960s, the Vietnam War and discrimination against black people in the United States were the immediate reasons for the development of radical geography.
  • Socioeconomic inequality in capitalist countries such as the United States resulted in the rise of radicalism in geography.

In 1969, human geography professor Richard  Peet and economic geography professor David Harvey in his magazine wrote many articles about the support of radicalism in geography which resulted in the development of radical geography.

The following are some philosophical features of radical geography:
  • It supports labor values and is against independent and merit-based approaches.
  • It believes only in economic class in society and it does not promote the importance of religion, morality, culture, and individual choice in geography.
  • It supports equal opportunities and treatment of women in the home, workplace, religious place, and political system.
  • It supports the participation of women in geography
  • It opposes colonialism and quantitative revolution.
  • It supports welfare geography and human geography.
  • It opposes the growth of profit motive.
  • It supports socialism, capitalism, and nationalism.
  • It rejects theories such as white supremacy in America and racial and climate supremacy in Europe.

Criticism of radical geography 

The following are the main criticism of radical geography:
  • The philosophical basis of radical geography is against the line of geography.
  • It is less flexible and very hard to implement.
  • It supports the Marxism philosophy and the Marxism philosophy was not succeeded in USSR.
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Try to solve the following questions

  •  Discuss the contribution of geographers in the development of radical. geography (UPSC  2014, 15 marks) 
  • Distinguish between radical and welfare approaches in geographic studies. (UPSC 2004, 15 marks)
  • Elaborate upon the influence of Marxist philosophy on geographical research, outlining key themes addressed by Marxist geographers since the 1970s. (UPSC 2018, 200 words, 15 marks)

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