The question of culture in cultural geographies
Mitch Rose (Aberystwyth University) and John Wylie (University of Exeter)
While the concept of culture was at the centre of debates in geography through the latter half of the last century, today the concept has been pushed to the margins of the discipline. With the advent of relational ontologies and increased interest in topics such as affect, atmospheres, creative geographies and human-non-human relations, the question of culture no longer seems to be the anchor of its eponymous sub-field. And yet, as Bloch (2005) argues, the fact that social scientists have dispensed with the concept of culture does not mean that the phenomenon has gone away. Today the ‘culture wars’ (Hartman 2015) raging in the USA, Europe and the Middle East, illuminate how imaginations of culture, community and heritage continue to have powerful social and political effects. Thus, while framing the question of culture as a question about ‘groups’ may no longer be useful, the question about why subjects invest in, care for and commit to certain imaginations of identity, seems to remain relevant and timely. It would behoove us, as cultural geographers, to once again take culture seriously.
The aim of this panel is to explore to what extent the question of culture is an ongoing concern for cultural geographies. It is to ask whether ongoing investments in certain modalities of self should be a topic for cultural geographies and if so how might other contemporary investments in terms of materialities, relational ontologies, and creativities interface with this? Can we still think about culture in cultural geographies? And, if so, how should we do so?
The confirmed panellists are:
Professor Gillian Rose, School of Geography and the Environment, University of Oxford
Professor Deborah Dixon, School of Geographical and Earth Sciences, University of Glasgow
Dr. Tariq Jazeel, Department of Geography, University College London
Dr. Derek McCormack, School of Geography and the Environment, University of Oxford