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Vital Geographies: Life, Luck, and the Human Condition

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Life has been problematized anew by recent social change and scientific innovation. There are important and little studied geographical dimensions to any such understanding of “the politics of life itself,” however. A geographical perspective involves, first, highlighting the spatial aspects of both states and capital, two rather neglected dimensions of vital politics. Elaborating the geographical constitution of vital politics entails further describing the related powers of knowledges and practices. Reflecting on the geographical dimensions of longevity and health leads directly to a recognition of the ethical implications of the geographical luck of birth and residence. Taking up this ethical challenge requires specifying at least six components of geographical justice: culpability, fairness, care, state failure, human rights, and solidarity with environmental and social justice.

Keywords: biomedicine; care; health; inequality; justice; longevity; medical ethics

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: 1: School of Public and International Affairs, Virginia Polytechnic and State University, 2: Department of Geography, Queen Mary, University of London,

Publication date: July 1, 2009

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