As the twentieth century drew to a close, the rich were getting richer; power was concentrated within huge corporations; vast tracts of the earth were being laid waste: three-quarters of the world's population had no control of its destiny and no claim to basic rights. There was nothing new in this. What was new was the virtual absence of any political will to do anything about it. Spaces of Hope takes issue with this. David Harvey brings an exciting perspective to two of the principal themes of contemporary social discourse; globalization and the body. Exploring the uneven geographical development of late twentieth-century capitalism , and the working body in relation to this new geography of production and consumption, he finds in Marx's writings a wealth of relevant analysis and theoretical insight. In order to make much needed changes, he maintains, we need to become the architects of a different living and working environment and learn to bridge the micro-scale of the body and the personal and the macro-scale of global political economy. Utopian movements have for centuries tried to construct a just society. David Harvey looks at their history to ask why they failed and what the ideas behind them might still have to offer. His devastating description of the existing urban environment (Baltimore is his case study) fuels his argument that we can and must use the force of utopian imagining against all who say 'there is no alternative'. He outlines a new kind of utopian thought, which he calls 'dialectical utopianism' and refocuses our attention on possible designs for a more equitable world of work and living with nature. If any political ideology or plan is to work, he argues, it must take account of our human qualities, the capacities and powers inherent in nature, and the dynamics of change. Finally, Harvey dares to sketch a very personal utopian vision in an appendix, one that leaves no doubt about his own geography of hope.
An inspiring, well written and beautifully illustrated book, and one that I hope will help to change the trajectory of social existence as well as academic inquiry.
It is refreshing to read a book that not only represents a major scholarly achievement, but that also breathes enthusiasm, commitment, displays a clearly situated positionality, and is energised by the belief that a better world is there to be fought for and made.
This is a very intriguing book. It bristles with ideas and the scope of Harvey's interests seem to be ever growing … his analyses are rich with insight.
There is much to praise. One thing I love is the way it is written. Harvey's prose is so clear and precise ... I was reminded of how consistently Harvey has insisted on the centrality of the geographical to both the critique of this world and the possibility of the next. We could not wish for a more compelling ambassador.
Students of the urban condition should be grateful to David Harvey for his rigorous and challenging scholarship and for the creativity of his imaginative vision.