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Catalysts and converts: sparking interest for Foucault among Francophone geographers

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Published in Space, knowledge and power: Foucault and geography. Aldershot: Ashgate. 2007, p. 107-128
Abstract The enthusiasm for Michel Foucault among Anglo geographers is in stark contrast to the surprising lack of interest among their Francophone counterparts. Despite the seminal interview of 1976 that appeared to build a bridge between disciplines, Francophone geographers have rarely read and used his work. While political approaches have traditionally not enjoyed much success in the Francophone world for historical reasons, existing works such as Paul Claval's "Espace et Pouvoir" (1978) or Yves Lacoste's "La géographie ça sert, d'abord, à faire la guerre" (1976) are not inspired by Foucault. Drawing from both literature and interviews, this chapter examines the few sparse attempts within Francophone geography to make explicit use of Foucault. In particular, I suggest that while Claude Raffestin's 1980 work "Pour une géographie du pouvoir" and his subsequent work on territoriality represents an original attempt to adapt Foucault, institutional, conceptual and personal factors have led this work to be largely ignored. Simultaneously, in pointing to its success in "marginal" schools of geography such as Francophone Switzerland and Quebec, removed from the power-struggles of the French Academy, I suggest that these adaptations distinct from those fashionable among Anglo geographers deserve a better audience. Finally, more recent works by the next generation of Francophone geographers further acting as catalysts is briefly explored.
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ISBN: 978-0-7546-4654-9
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FALL, Juliet Jane. Catalysts and converts: sparking interest for Foucault among Francophone geographers. In: Space, knowledge and power: Foucault and geography. Aldershot : Ashgate, 2007. p. 107-128. https://archive-ouverte.unige.ch/unige:5218

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Deposited on : 2010-02-17

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