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On the limits of dialogue between Francophone and Anglophone political geography

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Published in Political Geography. 2008, vol. 27
Abstract The suggestion that there is an Anglo political geography versus a Francophone one is intellectually unsatisfactory and has been debated in various ways within the nascent debates within Anglophone journals about the need for openness to ‘other' geographical knowledges. Yet authors exploring the differences between both do tend to perpetuate the divide, with varying degrees of nuance, while providing substance for the portrait of the sub-discipline as an Anglo-American hegemonic project unaware of its internal cultural politics. Even if we accept that there is no clear binary, and that there are multiple people reading beyond monolingual intellectual cultures, the different approaches to theory within Anglo and Francophone geography continue, particularly in relation to so-called ‘French Theory' (which can encompass figures as diverse as Lefebvre, Foucault, Derrida or Deleuze) and which, of course, like French kisses and French letters, is not called that in France. The Francophone world is often portrayed in Anglophone geographical reviews as internally coherent and elusively Other, and it continues to be relatively unknown in English-language journals and debates. Things have thankfully moved on since Hepple argued that “few Anglophone geographers read much French geography, or indeed (to our shame) any non-English language sources” (Hepple 2000 : 270). There is not simply an ‘us' versus ‘them' of uneven geographical knowledge production, since, as Paasi noted, such binary divisions hide contexts that are in themselves heterogeneous and modified by power geometries (Paasi 2005 : 770). If the time has passed for self-flagellation, with Anglos feeling vaguely guilty for only reading English, and others feeling terribly left out and ignored or simply lonely, then what should we do now? Is this unevenness and hegemony of Anglophone geography quite so totalizing as some might believe? Should there really be a ‘global geography', or a post-national geography or would this just be hegemony by another name?
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FALL, Juliet Jane. On the limits of dialogue between Francophone and Anglophone political geography. In: Political Geography, 2008, vol. 27. https://archive-ouverte.unige.ch/unige:669

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Deposited on : 2009-01-30

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