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GPC Ten Years On: is self-reflexivity enough?

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In the 10 years since the first issue of Gender, Place and Culture was published, feminist geography has grown, matured, become part of the normal curriculum in most departments of geography. The need to consider gender as a fundamental aspect of social life has become accepted wisdom. We have much to celebrate.

Over the same period, increasing attention has been paid to questions of racialisation, and to projects that set anti-racism on the academic agenda. While I would argue that, socially as well as academically, we have made more progress in overcoming gender barriers than racial barriers, a growing body of work recognises the intersection, indeed the simultaneity, of sexism and racism, as well as classism, ableism and homophobia. Such recognition has characterised the pages of Gender, Place and Culture from its very first issue. Indeed, no paper that addresses issues of social exclusion from a geographical perspective would fail nowadays to make several references to articles in this journal.

Theoretically, the connection between gendered and racialised social constructions heightens social awareness of the ways in which social exclusion occurs. It is now received wisdom, well beyond the narrower confines of feminist and anti-racist scholarship, that human attributes are the result of social construction and, while many controversies rage over the findings--and the social effects--of the postmodern 'turn', this fundamental theoretical tenet is hardly questioned by intellectuals of the early twenty-first century. Broader attention has now been focused on issues of what kind of society--and what kind of theoretical underpinnings--will replace a world in which social constructions such as gender and 'race' are taken for granted. Perhaps the most significant general trend of the last decade, then, has been the fact that our journal has played such an active role in the transition from the early 1990s' struggle to overcome essential ideas to today's struggle to re-place essential ideas with a new geometry of human relations. Significant historical events on every social front emphasise the difficulties of that transition, both theoretically and empirically.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Queen's University, Kingston, Ontario, Canada

Publication date: December 1, 2003

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