David Harvey (geographer)

David Harvey (geographer)

Overview
David Harvey is the Distinguished Professor of Anthropology
Anthropology
Anthropology is the study of humanity. It has origins in the humanities, the natural sciences, and the social sciences. The term "anthropology" is from the Greek anthrōpos , "man", understood to mean mankind or humanity, and -logia , "discourse" or "study", and was first used in 1501 by German...

 at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York
City University of New York
The City University of New York is the public university system of New York City, with its administrative offices in Yorkville in Manhattan. It is the largest urban university in the United States, consisting of 23 institutions: 11 senior colleges, six community colleges, the William E...

 (CUNY). A leading social theorist
Social theory
Social theories are theoretical frameworks which are used to study and interpret social phenomena within a particular school of thought. An essential tool used by social scientists, theories relate to historical debates over the most valid and reliable methodologies , as well as the primacy of...

 of international standing, he received his PhD
PHD
PHD may refer to:*Ph.D., a doctorate of philosophy*Ph.D. , a 1980s British group*PHD finger, a protein sequence*PHD Mountain Software, an outdoor clothing and equipment company*PhD Docbook renderer, an XML renderer...

 in Geography
Geography
Geography is the science that studies the lands, features, inhabitants, and phenomena of Earth. A literal translation would be "to describe or write about the Earth". The first person to use the word "geography" was Eratosthenes...

 from University of Cambridge
University of Cambridge
The University of Cambridge is a public research university located in Cambridge, United Kingdom. It is the second-oldest university in both the United Kingdom and the English-speaking world , and the seventh-oldest globally...

 in 1961. Widely influential, he is among the top 20 most cited authors in the humanities. In addition, he is the world's most cited academic geographer , and the author of many books and essays that have been prominent in the development of modern geography as a discipline
Academic discipline
An academic discipline, or field of study, is a branch of knowledge that is taught and researched at the college or university level. Disciplines are defined , and recognized by the academic journals in which research is published, and the learned societies and academic departments or faculties to...

.
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Encyclopedia
David Harvey is the Distinguished Professor of Anthropology
Anthropology
Anthropology is the study of humanity. It has origins in the humanities, the natural sciences, and the social sciences. The term "anthropology" is from the Greek anthrōpos , "man", understood to mean mankind or humanity, and -logia , "discourse" or "study", and was first used in 1501 by German...

 at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York
City University of New York
The City University of New York is the public university system of New York City, with its administrative offices in Yorkville in Manhattan. It is the largest urban university in the United States, consisting of 23 institutions: 11 senior colleges, six community colleges, the William E...

 (CUNY). A leading social theorist
Social theory
Social theories are theoretical frameworks which are used to study and interpret social phenomena within a particular school of thought. An essential tool used by social scientists, theories relate to historical debates over the most valid and reliable methodologies , as well as the primacy of...

 of international standing, he received his PhD
PHD
PHD may refer to:*Ph.D., a doctorate of philosophy*Ph.D. , a 1980s British group*PHD finger, a protein sequence*PHD Mountain Software, an outdoor clothing and equipment company*PhD Docbook renderer, an XML renderer...

 in Geography
Geography
Geography is the science that studies the lands, features, inhabitants, and phenomena of Earth. A literal translation would be "to describe or write about the Earth". The first person to use the word "geography" was Eratosthenes...

 from University of Cambridge
University of Cambridge
The University of Cambridge is a public research university located in Cambridge, United Kingdom. It is the second-oldest university in both the United Kingdom and the English-speaking world , and the seventh-oldest globally...

 in 1961. Widely influential, he is among the top 20 most cited authors in the humanities. In addition, he is the world's most cited academic geographer , and the author of many books and essays that have been prominent in the development of modern geography as a discipline
Academic discipline
An academic discipline, or field of study, is a branch of knowledge that is taught and researched at the college or university level. Disciplines are defined , and recognized by the academic journals in which research is published, and the learned societies and academic departments or faculties to...

. His work has contributed greatly to broad social and political debate; most recently he has been credited with restoring social class
Social class
Social classes are economic or cultural arrangements of groups in society. Class is an essential object of analysis for sociologists, political scientists, economists, anthropologists and social historians. In the social sciences, social class is often discussed in terms of 'social stratification'...

 and Marxist methods as serious methodological tools in the critique of global capitalism, particularly in its neoliberal
Neoliberalism
Neoliberalism is a market-driven approach to economic and social policy based on neoclassical theories of economics that emphasizes the efficiency of private enterprise, liberalized trade and relatively open markets, and therefore seeks to maximize the role of the private sector in determining the...

 form. He is a leading proponent of the idea of the right to the city.

Life and work


Harvey attended Gillingham Grammar School for Boys and St John's College, Cambridge
St John's College, Cambridge
St John's College is a constituent college of the University of Cambridge. The college's alumni include nine Nobel Prize winners, six Prime Ministers, three archbishops, at least two princes, and three Saints....

, for his undergraduate and post-graduate studies. Harvey's early work, beginning with his PhD (on hops production in 19th century Kent), was historical in nature, emerging from a regional-historical tradition of inquiry widely used at Cambridge and in Britain
United Kingdom
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern IrelandIn the United Kingdom and Dependencies, other languages have been officially recognised as legitimate autochthonous languages under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages...

 at that time. Historical inquiry runs through his later works (for example on Paris
Paris
Paris is the capital and largest city in France, situated on the river Seine, in northern France, at the heart of the Île-de-France region...

).

By the mid-1960s, he followed trends in the social sciences to employ quantitative methods, contributing to spatial science and positivist theory. Roots of this work were visible while he was at Cambridge, a Department that also housed Richard Chorley
Richard Chorley
Richard John Chorley was a leading figure in the late 20th century for his work in quantitative geography, and played an instrumental role in bringing in the use of systems theory to geography.-Early Education:...

, and Peter Haggett
Peter Haggett
Peter Haggett, CBE Sc.D. FBA is an eminent British geographer and academic, Professor Emeritus and Senior Research Fellow in Urban and Regional Geography at the School of Geographical Sciences, University of Bristol....

. His Explanation in Geography (1969) was a landmark text in the methodology and philosophy of geography, applying principles drawn from the philosophy of science in general to the field of geographical knowledge. But after its publication Harvey moved on again, to become concerned with issues of social injustice and the nature of the capitalist system itself. He has never returned to embrace the arguments made in Explanation, but still he conforms to the critique of absolute space and exceptionalism in geography of the regional-historical tradition that he saw as an outcome of Kantian synthetic a priori knowledge.

Moving from Bristol University to Johns Hopkins University
Johns Hopkins University
The Johns Hopkins University, commonly referred to as Johns Hopkins, JHU, or simply Hopkins, is a private research university based in Baltimore, Maryland, United States...

 in Baltimore in the USA, he positioned himself centrally in the newly-emerging field of radical and Marxist geography
Marxist geography
Marxist geography is a critical geography which utilises the theories and philosophy of Marxism to examine the spatial relations of human geography. In Marxist geography the relations that geography has traditionally analyzed - natural environment and spatial relations - are reviewed as outcomes of...

. Injustice, racism, and exploitation were visible in Baltimore, and activism around these issues was tangible in early 1970s East Coast
Northeastern United States
The Northeastern United States is a region of the United States as defined by the United States Census Bureau.-Composition:The region comprises nine states: the New England states of Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island and Vermont; and the Mid-Atlantic states of New...

, perhaps more so than in Britain. The journal Antipode was formed at Clark University
Clark University
Clark University is a private research university and liberal arts college in Worcester, Massachusetts.Founded in 1887, it is the oldest educational institution founded as an all-graduate university. Clark now also educates undergraduates...

; Harvey was one of the first contributors. The Boston Association of American Geographers
Association of American Geographers
The Association of American Geographers is a non-profit scientific and educational society founded in 1904 and aimed at advancing the understanding, study, and importance of geography and related fields...

 meetings in 1971 were a landmark, with Harvey and others disrupting the traditional approach of their peers. In 1972, in a famous essay on ghetto formation, he argued for the creation of “revolutionary theory”, theory “validated through revolutionary practice”.

Social Justice and the City (1973) expressed Harvey's position that geography could not remain 'objective' in the face of urban poverty and associated ills. It has been cited widely (over 1000 times, by 2005, in a discipline where 50 citations are rare), and it makes a significant contribution to Marxian theory by arguing that capitalism annihilates space to ensure its own reproduction. Dialectical materialism
Dialectical materialism
Dialectical materialism is a strand of Marxism synthesizing Hegel's dialectics. The idea was originally invented by Moses Hess and it was later developed by Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels...

 has guided his subsequent work, notably the theoretically sophisticated Limits to Capital (1982). LTC furthers the radical geographical analysis of capitalism, and several books on urban processes and urban life have followed it. The Condition of Postmodernity (1989), written while a Professor at Oxford
University of Oxford
The University of Oxford is a university located in Oxford, United Kingdom. It is the second-oldest surviving university in the world and the oldest in the English-speaking world. Although its exact date of foundation is unclear, there is evidence of teaching as far back as 1096...

, was a bestseller (the London The Independent
The Independent
The Independent is a British national morning newspaper published in London by Independent Print Limited, owned by Alexander Lebedev since 2010. It is nicknamed the Indy, while the Sunday edition, The Independent on Sunday, is the Sindy. Launched in 1986, it is one of the youngest UK national daily...

named it as one of the fifty most important works of non-fiction to be published since 1945). It is a materialist critique of postmodern
Postmodernism
Postmodernism is a philosophical movement evolved in reaction to modernism, the tendency in contemporary culture to accept only objective truth and to be inherently suspicious towards a global cultural narrative or meta-narrative. Postmodernist thought is an intentional departure from the...

 ideas and arguments, suggesting these actually emerge from contradictions within capitalism itself. Justice, Nature and the Geography of Difference (1996) focusses on social and environmental justice (although its dialectical perspective has attracted the ire of some Greens). Spaces of Hope (2000) has a utopian theme and indulges in speculative thinking about how an alternative world might look. His study of Second Empire Paris and the events surrounding the Paris Commune
Paris Commune
The Paris Commune was a government that briefly ruled Paris from March 18 to May 28, 1871. It existed before the split between anarchists and Marxists had taken place, and it is hailed by both groups as the first assumption of power by the working class during the Industrial Revolution...

 in Paris, Capital of Modernity, is undoubtedly his most elaborated historical-geographical work. The onset of US military action since 2001 has provoked a blistering critique - in The New Imperialism (2003) he argues that the war in Iraq allows US neo-conservatives to divert attention from the failures of capitalism 'at home'. His next work, A Brief History of Neoliberalism (2005), provides a historical examination of the theory and divergent practices of neoliberalism since the mid-1970s. This work conceptualizes the neoliberalized global political economy as a system that benefits few at the expense of many, and which has resulted in the (re)creation of class distinction through what Harvey calls "accumulation by dispossession
Accumulation by dispossession
Accumulation by dispossession is a concept presented by the Marxist geographer David Harvey, which defines the neoliberal capitalist policies in many western nations, from the 1970s and to the present day, as resulting in a centralization of wealth and power in the hands of a few by dispossessing...

". His most recent work The Enigma of Capital (2010) takes a long view of the current economic crisis. Harvey explains how capitalism came to dominate the world and why it resulted in the current financial crisis. He describes that the essence of capitalism is its amorality and lawlessness and to talk of a regulated, ethical capitalism is to make a fundamental error. A series of events linked to this book across London academic forums, such as the LSE, proved hugely popular and sparked a new interest in Harvey's work.

After the birth of his daughter Delfina in January 1990, Harvey returned to Johns Hopkins from Oxford
University of Oxford
The University of Oxford is a university located in Oxford, United Kingdom. It is the second-oldest surviving university in the world and the oldest in the English-speaking world. Although its exact date of foundation is unclear, there is evidence of teaching as far back as 1096...

 in 1993, but spent increasing time elsewhere as a speaker and visitor, notably as a salaried Miliband Fellow at the London School of Economics
London School of Economics
The London School of Economics and Political Science is a public research university specialised in the social sciences located in London, United Kingdom, and a constituent college of the federal University of London...

 in the late 1990s. He moved to the City University of New York
City University of New York
The City University of New York is the public university system of New York City, with its administrative offices in Yorkville in Manhattan. It is the largest urban university in the United States, consisting of 23 institutions: 11 senior colleges, six community colleges, the William E...

 in 2001 as a Distinguished Professor, now residing in its Department of Anthropology. He has spent most of his academic career in Anglo-America, with brief sojourns in France and a range of foreign visiting appointments (currently as acting Advisory Professor at Tonji University in Shanghai). He has supervised many PhD students. Several of these, such as Neil Smith
Neil Smith (geographer)
Neil Smith was born 1954 in Leith, Scotland. he is a Distinguished Professor of Anthropology and Geography, at the Graduate Center department of the City University of New York. From 2008 he holds a twenty percent appointment as Sixth Century Professor of Geography and Social Theory, at the...

, Richard Walker, Erik Swyngedouw
Erik Swyngedouw
Erik Swyngedouw is Professor of Geography at the University of Manchester in its . Swyngedouw is committed to political economic analysis of contemporary capitalism, producing several major works on economic globalisation, regional development, finance, and urbanisation...

, Michael Johns, Maarten Hajer, Patrick Bond, Melissa Wright, and Greg Ruiters now hold important academic positions themselves. Two constants in Harvey's life and work have been teaching a course on Marx's Capital, and his support for student activism and community and labour movements (notably in Baltimore).

Critical response to Harvey's work has been sustained. In the early years, there was little love lost between Harvey and proponents of quantitative and non-politicized geography, notably Brian Berry of the University of Texas at Dallas
University of Texas at Dallas
The University of Texas at Dallas, also referred to as UT Dallas or UTD, is a public research university in the University of Texas System. The main campus is in the heart of the Richardson, Texas, Telecom Corridor, north of downtown Dallas...

.
Harvey's continued commitment to Marx has led to reappraisals and in some cases rejection by some other scholars. A recent critical appraisal (Castree & Gregory
Derek Gregory
Derek Gregory Ph.D. FBA, FRCC is an influential British academic and geographer who is currently Professor of Political Geography at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver. He formerly held positions at the University of Cambridge.Gregory is best known for his book The Colonial...

, 2006) explores these critiques in detail. Despite this his online lectures on Capital have proved very popular, receiving 700,000 page views between June 2008 and March 2010.

Harvey's books have been widely translated, particularly into Korean, Spanish, Japanese and Italian as well some into Arabic, Turkish, Norwegian, Portuguese, Russian, German, Greek, Chinese, Polish, Swedish and Romanian. He holds honorary doctorates from Roskilde (Denmark), Buenos Aires (Argentina), Uppsala (Sweden), Ohio State University (USA), Lund University (Sweden) and the University of Kent (UK). Among other awards he has received the Anders Retzius Gold Medal of the Swedish Society for Anthropology and Geography
Swedish Society for Anthropology and Geography
The Swedish Society for Anthropology and Geography is a scientific learned society founded in Sweden in 1877...

, the Patron's Medal
Gold Medal (RGS)
The Gold Medal are the most prestigious of the awards presented by the Royal Geographical Society. The Gold Medal is not one award but consists of two separate awards; the Founder's Medal 1830 and the Patron's Medal 1838. The award is given for "the encouragement and promotion of geographical...

 of the Royal Geographical Society
Royal Geographical Society
The Royal Geographical Society is a British learned society founded in 1830 for the advancement of geographical sciences...

 and the Vautrin Lud International Prize
Lauréat Prix International de Géographie Vautrin Lud
The Lauréat Prix International de Géographie Vautrin Lud established in 1991, it is the highest award that can be gained in the field of geography. The award is modelled on the Nobel Prize it is considered and colloquially called the Nobel prize for geography...

 in Geography (France). He was made a fellow of the British Academy
British Academy
The British Academy is the United Kingdom's national body for the humanities and the social sciences. Its purpose is to inspire, recognise and support excellence in the humanities and social sciences, throughout the UK and internationally, and to champion their role and value.It receives an annual...

 in 1998, and was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences
American Academy of Arts and Sciences
The American Academy of Arts and Sciences is an independent policy research center that conducts multidisciplinary studies of complex and emerging problems. The Academy’s elected members are leaders in the academic disciplines, the arts, business, and public affairs.James Bowdoin, John Adams, and...

in 2007.

Career

  • B.A. (Hons) St Johns College, Cambridge, 1957
  • Ph.D. St Johns College, Cambridge, 1961.
  • Post-doc, University of Uppsala, Sweden 1960-1961
  • Lecturer, Geography, University of Bristol, UK (1961–1969)
  • Associate Professor, Department of Geography and Environmental Engineering, Johns Hopkins University, (1969–1973)
  • Professor, Department of Geography and Environmental Engineering, Johns Hopkins University (1973–1987, and 1993–2001)
  • Halford Mackinder Professor of Geography, University of Oxford(1987–1993)
  • Distinguished Professor, Dept. of Anthropology, City University of New York (2001–present)

Articles, lectures and interviews


External links