Reflections on the Economic-Noneconomic Debate: A Radical Geographical Perspective from the European South

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This paper expands upon the economic/noneconomic (cultural turn) debate in economic geography and proposes an alternative radical perspective through the lens of the European South. Based on the experience of Greece, the paper argues that no matter how important the cultural issues might be, the great political economy problems of distorted growth and incomplete development, sociospatial inequalities, and weak, incoherent and contradictory territorial policies continue to have a primary importance. The paper reviews some basic points of the cultural turn debate and then examines the orientations of radical spatioeconomic thought in postdictatorial (post-1974) Greece in arguing that this thought was mostly problem-driven, policy-oriented and focused upon the political economy of Greek socioeconomic and territorial restructuring. It is argued that a southern radical agenda has to be based more deliberately on holistic and inclusive interdisciplinary resyntheses in which cultural issues are given due attention, but not to the detriment of a radical understanding of the territorial workings of economy, society and power relations. The concluding suggestion of the paper is that it is a political turn, rather than a cultural turn, that is best suited to a radical interpretation of South European economic geographies.

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: Department of Geography, University of the Aegean, Lesvos, Greece;, Email:

Publication date: September 1, 2003

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