Space, Inequality and Differences: From Radical to Cultural Formulations?


Alain Lipietz

Aegean Seminar, Milos, August 26-30th 1996
Published (slightly shortened) in European Planing Studies, Vol.7, N¡1, 1999

Academic life is not protected against current tensions "globalization versus local specificities". The Milos 1996 international conference of the Seminars of the Aegean is a good exemple of it. It was dedicated to the wonderful theme Space, inequality and difference : From radical to cultural formulations ?". And it turns out that there are some differences between what is globaly understood in "cultural", and some local understandings.

I was the more interested that, having moved from red to green and to ecology in the 70's-80's, I had recently developed an interest in "cultural geography" (Lipietz [1994]). In fact, it had been aknowledged from Sauer [1925] that "cultural geography" is a twin for what we call now "human ecology". "Culture is the agent, the natural area the medium, the cultural landscape the result" : Sauer's formula is indeed a good proxy for the definition of human ecology (1) Yet, to my amazement, I discovered in Milos that, for a subsector in British academic geography, "culture" was about... shopping centers, and "lifestyles" about fashions ! The fury of the debate led me to reconsidere a group of papers which I had previously considered without a specific interest. I discoverd that indeed, while pointing out the shortcomings of "consumption studies" in the mid-90's, P. Jackson [1995], in his "Guest Editorial" to the issues of Environment and Planning A dedicated to this theme, had not hesitated to identify this new focus of interest as "the cultural turn in human geography". I discovered that this "cultural turn" was identified by Sivanandan [1990] to a betrayal by some ex-marxists, discovering the seductions of consumerism, individualism : a "Thatcherite turn" in reality !

The title of the seminar ("From radical to cultural ?") was thus acquiring a quite different dye, and as Diane Perrons did in Milos, I was tempted to answer "For God's sake, No !". Yet, after a second thought, I realized that :

- The subset of British geographers identifying "culture" to "Thatcherite patterns of consumption" was not the whole of english-speaking cultural geography (3).

- Even if it had been so, the word "culture" has its own well-established identity is social sciences. This global concensus allows for the development of a "radical-cultural geography", as a twin social science for political ecology.

To this last idea is dedicated the main development of present paper. But let us begin with the reduction of the "cultural shift" to a "consumption shift".


I am not going to deny the interest, for radical geographers, to move away for a while from the factory to the shopping center, from production to consumption, from social relations to individual behaviours. I am fed-up, me too, with fordism, post-fordism, just-in-time, quality circles, flexibility and the like. It is not "irrelevant" nor "uninteresting". It is just an exhausting research program, with dimishing return for social action : I think that now, basically, we know what we should now about it (1). And anyhow, did not the philosopher of "commitment", Jean-Paul Sartre, dedicate the last years of his intellectual life to the study of Flaubert, while at the same time being the editor of maoist La cause du Peuple ?

What I want to stress is :

- That "culture" is not "consumption" nor "individual lifestyles",

- That a culture based on consumption and individualism is not specificaly post-fordist (not even Thatcherite).

a) Culture, consumption, individualism.

The first problem is that some defenders of the "cultural shift" presents it as a shift from the heavy, the macrosocial, the structural, to the changing, the individual, the contingent. It may be so in the reality, but why then call that "cultural" ? I will give later a more conceptual understanding to "culture", but it is obvious for the person-in-the-street that "culture" denotes the "long-standing" (not the changing), the "collective" (not the individual), the "norm" (not the arbitrary). Yet, fashion is clearly a cultural fact, and one commonly speaks of "individualistic cultures" (as opposed to holistic ones).

Here is the crux of the problem : between cultures, there is more or less room for individualistic behaviours. A part of cultural geography or history may be dedicated to the forms and changing importance of individualistic behaviours across cultures. An individual is not accessing to a "cultural" activity when it behave as an individualist, on the contrary the culture of a place/time/gender/class/ethnics will determine the degree of individual freedom of his/her behaviour. It will also determine the way he/she will express his/her individuality : be the best singer, dancer, drinker, cooker (in pre-fordist european working-classes), or consume according to his/her hobbies, in fordist or post-fordist societies, etc...

This exemple shows that culture changes with place and time, and "radical political economy" may explain a lot of these changes. Yet, pre-existing culture appears as the "terrain" and political economy as a driving force. For an equal developpement along some trajectory of political economy, cultures will not be the same from place to place. Hence the impression that culture makes a strong geographic difference that resists to time and economic change. The custom of wearing a dress expressing one's political, religious, esthetical or loving choices is traditionnal in european culture, at least back to middle-age in mediterranean cities. The habit of gathering together to show to others the dresses expressing one's "lifestyle" in some places (the central place, the Grands Boulevards, the Market place...), at some particular times (carnaval, saturday night, passeggiata) is also cultural. Other cultures know the necessity of "breaking the rules" is some place from time to time, but will not do it in that "carnaval" manner. Now, the spread of carnaval time and place all along the year (but not through any neighborhood) will be subject to class, gender, and above all time evolution. And here again "radical political economy" has much to say. The carnavalization of young-middle-class-men's behaviour in "hard times" (hard times for the poorest !) is also a cultural fact subject to long waves, from the Boccace's Decameron (in plague time) to the années-fric of 1980's hour-glass societies.

The same way, the geography of consumption-places, of leisure places, self-demonstration places, is determined by differences from one local culture to another, by the multi-secular history of its religions, social relations, gender-relations, country-to-city relations, etc... In european middle-age, the central place was clearly in front of the Church. It became the market place (4), then the Grands Boulevards or the commercial mall. It is not exactly so in Asia : even today in Tokyo, the "browsing place" is not mainly a shops-district, but a restaurants and bars district. Differences are even more striking when considering cultures where the spaces of men and women are strictly separated (5).

b) "Consumption culture" : New Times ?

The second problem with the "cultural shift" of some British geographers is its historicist claim of being associated to a real shift, namely post-modernism and its "economic basis", post-fordism. I am not going to discuss the political implications of praising or not post-modernity, as in Sivanandan. Neither will I discuss Harvey's identification of post-modernity to post-fordism [1989], nor the general use of "French regulation approach" by anglo-saxon social scientist and British marxists (see Barbrook [1990]). My question is about the characterization of New Times after Fordism as a consumptionnist-individualistic lifestyle society.

To be honnest, what puzzles me in this British litterature is it resemblance (sometimes its explicit aknowledgement) to the French litterature of the sixties (eitheir in bookshops or on the walls) : the Situationnists (Debord [1967]) and their Société du spectacle, Henri Lefebvre and his critique of everyday life [1968], Baudrillard, his political economy of the sign and of consumption society [1970], Michel de Certeau and his popular culture of consumption [1974] and alike. The point is that ... they where writing in the climax of french Fordism, and where (sometimes) aknowledging the findings of... early 50's US sociologists !

In fact, the invasion of consumption in the majority's everydays life is a characteristic of fordism, not of post-fordism. The dissolution of popular communities within the mass of consumers, the reappropriation of consumption within the private home by the working class, the differenciation of lifestyles through individualistic consumption, are characteristics of Fordism (in USA : the fifties, early sixties, in Britain : the sixties, in France : the late sixties-early seventies, in Spain : the late seventies). Many scholars have proposed to speak of "Sloanism" unstead of "Fordism" to capture these characteristics. Sloan was at the head of GM in the 60's, and, contrary to Ford's doctrine in the 30's, he did not want to sell the customer "any car, as far as it is black", but a huge scope of differenciated cars. And for Baudrillard, that was one of the main features of La Société de consommation [1970].

So, what is new in "New Times" consumption patterns ? The Mall. The Shopping Center transformed into a pacified fortress. In the fifties, Yves Montand was singing:

Je fl,ne sur les Grands Boulevards,

Y a tant, y a tant, y a tant de choses à voir

He was the official singer of the French Communist Party, which was fostering the goals of the affluent society. He was expressing the end a working-class subculture and of its leisure sites : the "guinguettes (dancing places) au bord de la Marne", the "bistrot du coin", and the "doux caboulot". In New Times of Fordism, integrated working-class couples would go shopping on saturday after-noons in open-air avenues. They were occupying their place in the consumption society. More precisely, the economic regime of Fordism was based upon the "colonization of their everydaylife" by the planified growth of their material consumption. Henry Lefebvre [1967] in his La vie quotidienne dans le monde moderne (a book of tremendous importance, which should be the basis of any reflexion on these topics) labeled these times "the bureaucratic society with monitored consumption" (la société bureaucratique de consommation dirigée).

What have really changed ? The end with "bureaucracy", according to neo-liberal claims ? I have some doubt. The main change (from USA to France, according to a model of "brazilianization : Lipietz [1985, 1996]) is that, now, singing worker is unemployed and excluded from the Grands Boulevards. Symetricaly, the "shopping center" had to protect itself into a bunker guarded by private militia. A model developped in Pinochet's Chili well before its triumph in Atlantic Europe.

This chassé-croisé between anglo-saxon and french litterature in consumptin studies is thus the expression of the political economy of reality, but in a more subbtle way. When, in 1960's, Lefebvre and Situationnists discovered the "Spectacular-Market-Society", the waged petty-bourgeoisy was right "in" it, but the working class, in France, was not yet integrated in it (it would be so as result of 1968, an "anti-fordist" movement of students and a "pro-fordist" movement of the Unionized working class : Lipietz [1991]). Now, it is the reverse : while the working class and the "under-class" are more and more excluded from affluent society, the gains of productivity are more and more concentrated to the middle-classes, according to the Brazilian model of "hour-glass society" (Lipietz [1996]). Hence the new geography of consumption sites, enlighted at the same time by cultural and "radical" considerations.


The previous discussions do not discard the interest of the study of consumption (as a socially located process). On the contrary, we have seen how much it is expressive of a whole set of social relations, historically and spatially defined. This "whole set" is the common field of "culture" in its globaly accepted meaning within social sciences. But we need now to define "culture" in a more precise way.

a) What is culture ?

Culture could be understood as "What do people do". Here, "to do" should be understood as in S. Marglin's famous title What Do Bosses Do ? : as a set of practices regulated by norms, meanings, rules, institutions, in order to perform what social relations "expect" from individuals. Thus, more precisely : Culture is the content of all usual and normal practices within a definite society, as a normal outcome and a condition of its reproduction. Let us comment.

First, culture is about contents of practices. Culture is on the side of meanings, of use-values, of logos, about the "why ?" and the "what for ?", ; by opposition to the quantities (the "how much ?", the nomos) dealt with by economics. The answer to the "why ?" question is not necessarily utilitarist (that could be a feature of some specific cultures). Most cultures are the answer in itself ("we do that way, because it should be done that way, we have always done that way"). Some will discuss about "the good and the beautiful". Greek City maybe an exemple of non-utilitarist culture resisting to the neolithic revolution (Daraki [1996]).

Second, "all practices in a definite society" refers to the localized but comprehensive character of culture. While the word "culture" in its modern meaning had been invented by French encyclopedists, the Dictionnaire de l'Académie Française (1718) prefers to specify "the culture of arts", "the culture of sciences", and only in 1798 will drop the complements. "Culture" became a general and constructed disposition of the mind : it is a "style" wich may be applied, more or less, to any practice of the society (Cuche [1996]). Yet, for the French Lumiéres, culture was necessarily a universal asset growing with "civilization". At the same time, Gottfried Herder (1774) introduces the other side of the coin : this style of mind is specific to each particular community, its Volksgeist. In subsequent uses within social sciences, the "community" will adopt a more and more flexible geometry. Nowadays, it is possible to speak of "Western culture", "National culture", "Working class culture", "enterprise culture", and of course of "british geographers culture". The point is that, for any limited considered community, its cultures defines a set of norms, meaning, behaviours, common to all its problems and practices.

Thus, "culture" appeares as basic tool for human geographer and ecologists : it captures the idea that communities do not do the same thing from place to place, it offers the alternative to the dangerous couple "universalism/racism". As Denys Cuche puts it, at the begining of his synthesis, "The long process of humanization consisted fondamentaly in a move from a genetic adaptation to environment to a cultural adaptation". Note here that, once again, culture is immediatly about the relation humankind/environment (hence about human ecology), but we'll come to this later.

Third, culture is about practices considered as normal and usual. Culture is not "the ideas about practices", it is the set of practices themselves as far as they are incorporated in the mind of individuals, as legitimate patterns of behaviour and problem-solving. As Bourdieu would put it (6), culture is in the individual complement of institutions in the society :"sacralized routines" (as in Marx's definition of institution). Culture is not about the practice you will invent this morning, it is about the breakfast you will prepare without thinking of it, but it is also the about the way you will resolve an unexpected problem, even about what a revolutionnary artist should write or paint about. A fashion is not a culture, but some cultures will prescript that each season will have its next fashion. Commercial mall are not culture, but some cultures prescript that one should browse randomly along a row of shops from time to time.

Fourth, culture is both an outcome and a precondition for the reproduction of society. And this is the main point about culture, the most common understanding of "culture" : the present bridge between past and future, the unconscious continuity of society. This meaning was encompass in the very ethymology of "culture" : cultura was the latin word for labour dedicated to fields and cattle. Actually, the neolithic revolution, with the invention of agriculture and cattle-breading, marks the begining of culture with all its significations, including politics and arts. Hence, when it is spoken of "Navajo culture", or "geometric potery greek culture", it means the set of (usual) remains stretching from everydays life tools to weapons and idoles. Humankind discovered that yesterday's work on nature improves the efficiency of todays activities and increases tomorrows rewards. Hence the amazing scope of "culture" in ordinary langage. From the culture of fields to the culture of arts (encompassing in french "la culture physique" : body-building), "culture" always means the result of previous efforts in order to improve future capacities. But culture is not training, it is not an accumulation of "human capital" into a specific skill. A cultivated field, a cultivated mind is apt to receive any new seed within a certain scope. Culture is a general capacity to accomodate the new, even to some other cultures. Thus culture is the most powerful (because implicite) condition of social stability : the incorporated form of social regulation.

It is not a surprise that culture has such a great familiarity with human geography especially in its dealing with the most specificaly human settlements : cities (Paquot [1990]). As Sauer puts it, landscape is the existence of culture upon (socialy transformed) nature. Indeed, the same extension as for the word "culture" exists in latin regarding the word pagus, at the origin of the french word pays and the argentinian word pago (country, homeland). Pagus comes from the verb pango which means at the same time : to plant (a tree), to fix (a milestone), to settle (a pact). Thus, pagus ranges from material production of society to its boundaries and to its common laws. And in languages of latin origin, pagus is also the root for paysan (farmer) and paysage (landscape). Is this so different from "culture" ?

b) Culture, modernity and post-modernity

The fact that "culture" has much to do with bridging past and future may explain the recent interest for cultural studies and their focusing in consumption style, when, precisely, continuity of culture is undergoing a time of unstability. This is the debate on modernity and post-modernity. Modernity could be identified to the slogan of Jean de Salisbury (XIIth century), inspirator of Chartres cathedrale : "We are dwarfs perched upon giants' shoulders". Jean de Salisbury meant that "Moderns" where superior to "Ancients", not by essential priviledge, but by their relative position. They knew what the Ancients knew, plus something new. This early conception of "The progress of The culture - or of The civilization" had to impose itself through Renaissance and Modern Times against defensors of the "Ancients", who thought that History was the history of degradation from the Classic times of Greeks and Romans. After the victory of the Moderns in XVIIIth century (and, as we have seen, the correlative invention of the modern meaning of word "culture"), modernity was questionned all along the XIXth century. Two great french post-romantic poets of this time are intensively used in "modernity" debates : Baudelaire and Rimbaud. They represent the two faces of modernity, perceived as a continuous addition/substitution of the new to the old. Rimbaud's slogan "Il faut être absolument moderne" ("We have got to be absolutely modern") refered to Salisbury's paradigm : "New workers will start where ancient explorerers have stoped" - and he thought of himself as the dwarf on the shoulders of Baudelaire (7).

Baudelaire had a much sader view of modernity, discovering its other face : nostalgia. "The shape of a city changes faster then one mortal's heart" (8). If modernity is the continuous reshaping of culture and its landscape, then the flow of time can be perceived as a painful difference between present experience and memories (9)

The point about modernity is that, in Salisbury, Rimbaud or Baudelaire, it is not "the new that gets old and is replaced by a still newer new" (Vattimo [1987]). As Marc Augé [1992] emphasizes, modernity is "intended coexistence of different worlds... the interweaving of ancient and new". But this coexistence is oriented by the progress of time.

In Post-Modernity, on the contrary, the idea of progress disappears : everything has already been said (in litterature) or designed (in architecture). Yet, "culture" is urgently needed : the stock of available "quotes" depends of everyone's culture. Post-modernity should not be confused with super on hypermodernity (surmodernité in Marc Augé) where objets of the past are immediately turned into objects of museum : culture is no more a bridge between past and present (and futur). This exoticisation of the past (and of distance, if we considere consumption of decontextualized objects coming from abroad : Crang [1996]) may appear a dissolution of culture : like a collection of latin manuscripts by a non-latinist. Yet, consumers of exotics do have a culture, and they imply that the Jones will understand that the mexican statuet in their living-room is a reference to their last holidays, though it was bought in the Mexican shop of next-door commercial mall. Anyway, supermodernity is a denial of nostalgia, while postmodernity plays with nostalgia and modernity has to live with it.

Hypermodernity and post-modernity are not really a symptom of the end of modernity, of a discontinuity of the modern view about culture. It appears either when the new seems hollow, meaningless (post-modernity), or when yesterday's new has not prepared todays' life (hypermodernity). That is the grain of truth in Harvey's identification between "post-modernity" and "post-fordism". But "post-modernity" denotes the end of "grands récits" about mass consumption, not the spread of mass (and diversified) consumption itself, which is just absolument moderne.

c) (Radical) Political Economy.

Despite his own carefulness, Sauer has been criticized for having ignored the historical process of social relations and struggles culture is made of and by which it is constantly reshaped (McDowell [1994]). And that is precisely where "radical geography" seems to oppose to "cultural geography".

"Political economy" seems to be a dual for "culture". When culture is interested in content, meaning and use value, political economy is just about measure, quantity, exchange-value. When culture is about "what do people do", what a community has and does in common, political economy emphasizes social contradictions between groups within communities, about who decides what, who does what, who benefits. Original political economy (Smith, Ricardo, Marx) emphasized contradictions between social classes, understood as economic functions (workers, capitalists, landowners). Modern radical social sciences add a whole range of other contradictions, between genders, nations, ethnics... But the approach is basicaly the same : a radical feminist approach will point out the domination of a gender on the other, regardless of the content of this oppression (and will tend to criticize as "essentialist" any interest in "what do women (usualy) do"), a cultural feminist approach will emphasize what women have in common (their "territory").

To understand clearly the difference, it is important to explicit the meaning of "to have in common". To "share the same culture" does not mean an absence of struggle : this culture could be precively about fighting each other (as in military culture, knights' culture). And a community divided by deep social contradictions is made of social subgroups who may share the same subculture (bourgeois culture, working class culture, women culture). Moreover, all the classes in the same society share a specific culture encompassing for instance the style of social compromises. It is well known that, in the same industry, for the same mode of economic regulation (e.g. Fordism), industrial relations will not be the same in Netherlands, France, US or United Kingdom (D'Iribarne [1989]).

Thus radical approachs oppose cultural approaches according to the following polarity :

Contradictory interests

measure (nomos)

relationnal (form)


Common interests

meaning ( logos)

substantive (content)


Should any of these be rejected ? Certainly not. It is true that, considering the endless flow of history (and mixing the words of Heraclites and Mao Zedong), "struggle is permanent and absolute, stability is relative and transitory". Yet any social science is concerned with these relatively stabilized objects which we call "societies", and geographers are concerned with the more stable feature of societies : their layout onto the landscape (Lipietz [1977, 1988]). A restriction to cultural approaches ignores the divisions undermining stabilities, differences in viewpoint (and thus may unconsciously introduce a bias for a peculiar standpoint), it will not understand the changes in culture due to changes in the equilibria of social relations. A restriction to "radical approaches" will ignore why, though exploiting, oppresing, excluding, resisting and fighting each other, the members of a community will accept to live together and agree upon the rules of the game, and envoy the same achievements, be content with their share, produce and consume the same landscape, though unequaly. A radical approach without a cultural approach may ignore the questions of consensus, hegemony, legitimation. Above all, a radical approach will miss the content of social activity, and this is one of the main critics from political ecology to political economy.

d) What is political ecology ?

In natural sciences, ecology deals with the triangular relation between individuals of one or a group of species, their organized activities, and the result of these activities on their environment, which is in turn (and that closes the triangle) the condition for the life of these individuals and for their activity. Political ecology is the ecology of our most peculiar species, this species consciously organised as political communities.

Immediately, "ecologist" approach seems to be twin to "cultural", especialy when dealing with geography. First of all, ecological and cultural approaches are both concerned with the content, the meaning, and not only with relations, ratios, measure. Like culture, political ecology opposes political economy as logos to nomos. Ecology is just a little more "materialist" than cultural approaches : it is really concerned with quantity of gaz, spoiled waters, square kilometers of macadam, etc... As I just defined it, the "ecology" triangle is quite similar to Sauer triangle. The difference is that Sauer makes a distinction between "nature" (as the medium of culture) and "landscape" (as its product), and merges into "culture" individuals and their activity. The ecologist point of view merges into "environment" the conditions of activities and their products, and makes a distinction between "individuals" and their socialy structured activities(10). For an ecologist, this first side of the triangle is the field of specialised sub-sciences, such as "ethology" (when considering non-human living beings), "anthropology", "sociology" and "political economy"...

This differences in the structure of triangles obviously signal a difference in focus. The opposition between "nature" and "landscape" in Sauer is based on some Western prejudice about the "natural nature of Nature" (Levinas [1991]) while ecologists and "new cultural geography" insist on nature being alwas given as "socialy constructed nature". An ecologist knows that nature offered to human activity is mostly produced by some previous human activity, and that landscape, as reshaped by todays activity, will be the precondition for tomorrow's human life and activity. Moreover, by considering the importance of the relations between the individuals of species and their organized activity, political ecology insists on the sets of oppositions, dominations, regulations, rules of the game and social compromises on this side of the triangle. Hence, political ecology is both open to the "unity" aspect within this relation (the "cultural" approach) and to the "struggle" aspect (the "radical approach"). Once again, the ecologist approach takes into account the critics that "new cultural geography" (and radical geographers who dislike cultural geography) have recently formulated against Sauer's cultural geography.

Thus, political, ecological point of view will try to conciliate and coordonate the "cultural" approach and the more radical approach of conflicts about power distribution. But political ecology will criticize both (traditional) cultural and radical approache on one issue : sustainability, accountability to future generations. When radical approach may considere some culture as a "sufficiently good compromise" between different parts of a community (between genders, classes, etc...), ecology may be dissatisfied if the compromise, while allowing the present generation to meet its needs (according to the present culture), does not permit to next generations to satisfy their needs. Here, a culture may be self-contradictory.


In the year 2700 AD, archeologists and anthropologists tried to explain the Big Crash of the end of XXIst century, which nearly distroyed civilization on the Earth. The Dark Age that followed was now over, and humankind had recovered more or less the same degrees of knowledge and wisdom, and, naturely, the usual debates were arousing among social scientists.

According to cultural anthropologists who studied the culture of Western Europe in the second half of the XXth centuryAD, humans dedicated most of their time to religious activities. They used to spend their weeks making instruments of worship, "cars" and others, in temples called "factories". Once a week, they would drive the cars in procession to major temples called "commercial malls" where stocks of religious smaller tokens were redistributed to the crowd. And once a year, pilgrimages would lead huge processions of cars for ablutions in the Sacred Sea of the South.

The radical anthropologists objected to that view. Actually, the Car Religion was not a black box were all the population was mixed. Cars themselves had no special meaning, they were just the material "trŠger" for an object-relation between the dominant class of priests, and the dominated slaves. For legitimation reasons, slaves where given the right to drive the cars they were induced to build, from time to time, while the priest could observe them from the top-floor of their sacred buildings. To the radicals, the wars of XXIst century developped because of the invasion of worship-articles coming by Cargos from over cultures, thus disrupting the cycles production/consumption of the objects.

While accepting the proeminent responsibility of the priests, ecologist archeologists and anthropologists outlined that, anyhow, both dominants and dominated would considere that nothing better could be done than build cars five days a week, height hours a day, and drive them two hours a week, plus some special days. In order to do this, the members of that culture reshaped their cities and landscape in order to transform all the space into "car-fields". While culturalist and ecologist anthropologists disagree on whether cars-processions were volontary gathering, or perverse and unintended effects of individualistic behaviours (12), ecologists insisted that car-driving had at least one probably unintended composition effect : the increase of greenhouse effect. That led to the Great Flood of Pakistan (2052), to the Indias Wars manipulated by Beijing and Tokyo, and provoked the great migration of Northern Africa to Kazakstan through Turkey : the basis to the legend of Mad Gilgamesh Max.

But all that are legends, and legends about legends...


1. Du nom de W. Arthur Lewisqui, dans les années 1950, théorisait une offre infinie de main d'oeuvre, venue du trop-plein rural, et confrontée à une salarisation industrielle restreinte.

2. A lot of thanks to Linda MacDowell, who presented to me a more objectiveview of the state of the art in english-speaking cultural geography. Seefor instance her remarkable synthesis The transformation ofCultural Geography [1994]. For an impressionnistic panorama of the "new materials" of geography :Matless [1996].

3. To my views, neither the debate, nor the reality, have moved a lot since the synthesis of early nineties. See Leborgne & Lipietz [1990],Lipietz [1990].

4. But it was already the case in Horace's Roma (Ibamforte Via Sacra...).

5. I am not thinking only of Indian or Islamic countries. The geography of leisure and browsing places used to be connected, not only with market and shopping districts (or restaurants districts), but also with "hot" neighbourhoods (see Akasuka in Tokyo, now out-fashionned and replaced by Ginza). An intersting topics for feminist geography.

6. More precisely, Bourdieu [1980] says that "society" exist swithin to forms : habitus in the bodies and institutions between individuals. Culture may be the constructed range of habitus.

7. The "slogan" is at the end of Une saison enenfer (1873). The Salisbury spirit is already clear in his letterto Paul Demeny (May 15th, 1871) : "Viendront d'autres horribles travailleurs ; ils commenceront par les horizons oà l'autre s'est affaissé ! (...) Baudelaire est le premier voyant, roi des poètes, un vrai Dieu".

8. Le vieux Paris n'est plus (la forme d'une ville change plus vite, hélas ! que le coeur d'un mortel) in C. Baudelaire, "Le Cygne", Tableaux Parisiens. LesFleurs du mal (1857). The title (The Swan) refers to the situation of exile (including the situation of war prisonners and migrant workers) :nostalgia may be about time and space. See next footnote.

9. It must be clear that nostalgia is not sorrow stemming out of passing youth.That is elegia : "The feeling of analogy between thedestin of humans and the destiny of flowers, that is the root of anyelegia" (Kawabata [ ]). In premodern times, elegia was expressed by"ubi sunt ?" ("Where are they?") : humanswould vanish faster than landscape. In modernity, landscapes changes fasterthan humans' heart, hence nostalgia. Frehel was the popular "nostalgia" crooner on the Inter-Wars period, and its two most famous "Ubisunt ?" are good exemple of the difference between nostalgia and elegia. One could be translated as : "Where are all my lovers gone ? They who I loved so much...

It is about getting older, while the world is unchanged : elegia. On the other hand, in Duvivier's Pepe le Moko (1936), filmed in the Kasbah of Algiers, she sings, to another exiled (Jean Gabin), the manifesto of the nostalgia of Old Paris : "Oà sont-ils, mon Moulin d'la Galette, Ma Place Blanche et mon bistrot du coin ?".

There, the Cityhas vanished, in the distance and in the past, while the subject has not changed a lot.

10. In Sauer, the last side of the triangle remains open : his culturalist approachs remains causalist, while ecologist approach is holistic andoutlines feedbacks.

11. The idea of that parabole is from UmbertoEco [1988].

12. See for instance the polemics inCDRom Institute of Eurasian Historians n¡19827(Galactic-City, 2705) on the interpretation of Charles Trenet's Hymn Nationale Sept (Western Europe, cirea 1950 AD) between A. Guldenkranz ("Paris: faubourg de Valence or banlieue de Saint Paul deVence ? : The cultual geogaraphy of mid-XXth France") and B.Rosenstern ("On est si bien Nationale 7 : Sun religion or Car religion ?").


AUGE M. [1992]

"Non-lieux", Seuil, Paris.

BARBAULT R. [1996]

"L'écologie, une science de la nature à l'épreuve d'enjeux de société", Natures, Sciences, Sociétés, vol.4, n¡4.

BARBROOK R. [1990]

"Mistranslations : Lipietz in London and Paris", Science as Culture n¡8, London.


La société de consommation, Denoèl, Paris.

BOURDIEU P. [1980]

Questions de Sociologie, Ed. de Minuit, Paris.

CRANG P. [1996]

"Displacement, consumption, and identity", Environment and Planning A, vol.28, pp.47-67.

CUCHE D. [1996]

La notion de culture dans les sciences sociales, La Découverte, Paris.

DARAKI M.[1996]

"Les civilisés nus. Techniques civilisées et mémoires primitives en Gréce ancienne", presented to the Colloque La Gréce pour penser l'avenir, Univ. Paris VIII, Dec.3-5th.

DEBORD G. [1967]

La Société du spectacle, Gallimard, Paris.

de CERTEAU M. [1974]

La culture au pluriel, UGE 10/18, Paris.

ECO U. [1988]

Pastiches et postiches, Messidor, Paris.

HARVEY D. [1989]

The Condition of Post-Modernity, B. Blackwell, Oxford.

HERDER J.G. [1774]

Une autre philosophie de l'histoire, Trad. française, Aubier-Montaigne, Paris 1964.

d'IRIBARNE [1989]

La logique de l'honneur, Seuil, Paris.

JACKSON P. [1995]

"Changing geographies of consumption", Environment and Planning A, vol.27, pp.1875-1876.


"Fallacies and Open Issues of Post-Fordism", presented to the Conference Pathways to Industrialization and Regional Development, Los Angeles, March 14-18, and edited by Scott A. & Storper M. (same title), Routledge, London, 1992.

LEFEBVRE H. [1968]

La vie quotidienne dans le monde moderne, Gallimard, Paris.

LEVINAS E. [1991]

"Détermination philosophique de l'idée de culture", Entre nous. Essais sur le penser-à-l'autre, Grasset, Paris.

LIPIETZ A. [1985]

Mirages et miracles. Problémes de l'industrialisation dans le Tiers-Monde, La Découverte, Paris.

LIPIETZ A. [1990]

"Capital-labour relations at the dawn of XXIst Century", WIDER report, published in Schor J. & You J-I (eds) Capital, The State and Labour : A Global Prospective, Edward Elgar, London, 1995.

LIPIETZ A. [1991]

"Governing the Economy in the Face of International Challenge : From National Developmentalism to National Crisis", in Hollifield and Ross (eds) Searching for the New France, Routledge, New-York.

LIPIETZ A. [1994]

"Geography, Ecology, Democracy", presented at the AAG Annual Meeting, San Francisco, published in Antipodes 28:3, 1996, pp.219-228.

LIPIETZ A. [1996]

La société en sablier, La Découverte, Paris.

LIPIETZ A. [1999]

"Qu'est-ce que l'écologie politique", La Découverte, Paris

MATLESS D. [1996]

"New Material ? Work in Cultural and Social Geography, 1995", Progress in Human Geography, 20,3, pp.379-391.

McDOWELL L. [1994]

"The Transformation of Cultural Geography" in D. Gregory, R. Martin & G. Smith (eds) Human Geography, MacMillan.

PAQUOT T. [1990]

"Homo urbanus : essai sur l'urbanisation du monde et des mœurs", Le Félin, Paris

SAUER C.O. [1925]

"The morphology of landscape", University of California Publication is Geography, vol.2, pp.19-54.


"All that Melts into Air is Solid : The Hokum of New Times", Communities of Resistance, Verso, London, 1990.

VATTINO A. [1999]

"La fin de la modernité", Seuil, Paris.

click here to return to the Materials and Publications index

Produced and Hosted by the Center for Digital Discourse and Culture     © Center for Digital Discourse and Culture, Virginia Tech. All rights reserved. The physical campus is in Blacksburg, Virginia, U.S.A. For more information, please contact the Center at