‘Critical Geographies in Latin America’ – Journal of Latin American Geography 16(1)

The Journal of Latin American Geography has just released a new special issue on ‘Critical Geographies in Latin America,’ which is part of a very intentional turn in the editorial position of the journal (as detailed here in JLAG 15[1]). In their introduction to the special issue, the guest editors Johnny Finn and Anne-Marie Hanson assert their intention for the special issue, “to decenter critical geographic knowledges by emphasizing the multiplicity of long-term histories and trajectories that underlie globalized cultural and political projects in Latin America.” They continue, “a truly critical geography makes visible the connections between spatial practices that not only control territories, but also bodies, knowledges, imaginaries, and experiences.”

Zoe Pearson and I contributed a short article to the special issue, on “The Challenge of Feminist Political Geography to State-Centrism in Latin American Geography.” I cut-and-paste our abstract below.


Since the 1990s, feminist political geographers have done ethnographic research to examine the state as an effect of everyday practices, and have accordingly challenged statist theories of the political that reproduce a myth of the state’s autonomous power to determine the coordinates of political life. This article promotes a feminist turn in geographical research on state power in Latin America. We reflect on the stakes of moving away from a masculinist epistemology of the state for the regional literature, and present evidence from our research in Bolivia and Mexico that helps us theorize the state as a contingent set of social relations that ordinary people participate in naturalizing. Our analysis shows how this set of social relations may be reproduced in everyday life, and also highlights how ordinary people may organize their lives in excess of social-spatial orders given to the exercise of state power. We conclude by arguing for critical geographies of/in Latin America informed by feminist insights on the exercise of state power, both to appreciate the role of struggles over social reproduction in recent political developments in the region and also to denaturalize a social-spatial ordering of everyday life that sustains injustice.

Keywords: Bolivia, feminist political geography, Mexico, the state


Desde la década de los 90, los geógrafos políticos feministas han realizado investigación etnográfica para examinar el estado como un resultado de prácticas cotidianas y, como consecuencia de esto, han desafiado las teorías “estatales” de lo político sobre el estado que reproducen el mito de que el estado tiene el poder autónomo para dictaminar las coordenadas de la vida política. Este artículo promueve un giro feminista en la investigación geográfica sobre el poder del estado en Latinoamérica. En él, reflexionamos sobre las implicaciones de alejarse de una epistemología masculina en la crítica sobre la región y presentamos evidencia de nuestra investigación, en Bolivia y en México, que nos permite teorizar el estado como un sistema contingente de relaciones sociales naturalizadas por la gente común. Nuestro análisis muestra que este sistema de relaciones sociales se reproducen en la cotidianidad, y resalta la manera en la que la gente común puede llegar a organizar su vida a partir de un exceso de órdenes socio-espaciales dadas para garantizar el ejercicio del poder del estado. Concluimos defendiendo la importancia de estudios geográficos críticos sobre el ejercicio del poder del estado informados por perspectivas feministas de y en Latinoamérica. Esto permite, por un lado, apreciar el papel de las luchas sobre la reproducción social en acontecimientos políticos recientes en la región y, por otro, permite desnaturalizar el ordenamiento socio-espacial de la cotidianidad que sostiene la injusticia.

Palabras claves: Bolivia, geografía política feminista, México, el estado

About nicholasjoncrane

Associate Professor of Geography and International Studies at the University of Wyoming
This entry was posted in Bolivia, Critical Human Geography, Mexico, My publications or presentations, Political Geographies of the State, Political Geography, Politics, The Americas. Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to ‘Critical Geographies in Latin America’ – Journal of Latin American Geography 16(1)

  1. Pingback: Convocatoria: “geografías críticas en América Latina,” con Íconos | For Another Critique of the Pyramid

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