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Regional survey and the economic geographies of Britain 1930–1939

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This paper re-considers the history of economic geography in the interwar period in Britain. The activities of the discipline are considered in the context of the commercial geographies of this time, and the intensive round of industrial and social surveys undertaken at a regional level in Britain in the period. Taken together, these economic geographies constructed a range of representational and material spaces and helped construct industrial regions characterized by particular types of places, peoples and performances. These surveys, and the production of the economic geographies that they facilitated, became a key intellectual arena where conflicting ideas about the political and economic management of the industrial region and the national economic were acted out. Following the intention of recent work into the histories of geographical knowledge, the essay will seek out the lateral associations of economic geography, paying particular attention to politically situated nature of the economic geographies produced by academics, regional organizations and the Labour Party.

Keywords: economic geography; geographical knowledge; inter-war Britain; regional survey

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: Department of Geography, University College Cork, Ireland, Email:

Publication date: 2003-03-01

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