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Knowledge production and social inquiry
Editors: Jane Wills and Robert W. Lake

This book makes the case for a pragmatist approach to the practice of social inquiry and knowledge production. Through diverse examples from multiple disciplines, contributors explore the power of pragmatism to inform a practice of inquiry that is democratic, community-centred, problem-oriented and experimental. Drawing from both classical and neo-pragmatist perspectives, the book advances a pragmatist sensibility in which truth and knowledge are contingent rather than universal, made rather than found, provisional rather than dogmatic, subject to continuous experimentation rather than ultimate proof and verified in their application in action rather than in the accuracy of their representation of an antecedent reality. The power of pragmatism offers a path forward for mobilizing the practice of inquiry in social research, exploring the implications of pragmatism for the process of knowledge production.

Pragmatism and politics in place 
Alice E. Huff

Introduction The negotiation of difference is a central concern of democratic politics. In wrestling with empirical and normative questions of difference, scholars have drawn on agonistic democratic theory to illuminate problematic ways of managing pluralism and advocate for adversarial conflict as a check against neoliberal governance strategies ( Derickson and MacKinnon, 2015 ; Featherstone, 2008 ; Purcell, 2008 ; Swyngedouw, 2009 ). Without discounting these important interventions, I argue that Deweyan pragmatism’s emphasis on contextualism

in The power of pragmatism
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Building a healthy spatial contract
Alex Schafran, Matthew Noah Smith and Stephen Hall

Around the world, more and more people are realizing that we need to pay greater attention to the core systems we depend upon for survival. Not only are systems such as housing, transportation, food, energy, water, waste, education, healthcare and more central to our basic needs as humans, and to our basic freedoms, they are increasingly vulnerable to both exploitation by the powerful and disruption by the climate crisis. This book has worked to develop a three-part framework for thinking about the politics of these systems. It is an

in The spatial contract
Tim Robinson, culture and environment

Unfolding Irish landscapes offers a comprehensive and sustained study of the work of cartographer, landscape writer and visual artist Tim Robinson. The visual texts and multi-genre essays included in this book, from leading international scholars in Irish Studies, geography, ecology, environmental humanities, literature and visual culture, explore Robinson’s writing, map-making and art. Robinson’s work continues to garner significant attention not only in Ireland, but also in the United Kingdom, Europe and North America, particularly with the recent celebration of the twenty-fifth anniversary of his monumental Stones of Aran: pilgrimage. Robert Macfarlane has described Robinson’s work in Ireland as ‘one of the most sustained, intensive and imaginative studies of a landscape that has ever been carried out’. It is difficult to separate Robinson the figure from his work and the places he surveys in Ireland – they are intertextual and interconnected. This volume explores some of these characteristics for both general and expert readers alike. As individual studies, the essays in this collection demonstrate disciplinary expertise. As parts of a cohesive project, they form a collective overview of the imaginative sensibility and artistic dexterity of Robinson’s cultural and geographical achievements in Ireland. By navigating Robinson’s method of ambulation through his prose and visual creations, this book examines topics ranging from the politics of cartography and map-making as visual art forms to the cultural and environmental dimensions of writing about landscapes.

Chiara Certomà, Martin Sondermann and Susan Noori

determine how those spaces get used. (Tracey, 2007: 32) Introduction It seems that there are plenty of reasons to separate the humble, simple, minimal act of planting tomatoes from the noble and ambitious act of contesting the multiple manifestations of injustice. Consequently, urban gardening practices have been considered a trivial object of research for a long time, far from serious societal and political studies. Nevertheless, by seeing everyday practices as a form of political resistance (de Certeau, 1984), cultural geographers, urban planners and social scientists

in Urban gardening and the struggle for social and spatial justice
Alex Schafran, Matthew Noah Smith and Stephen Hall

Thus far, we have worked to establish two critical points. First, human freedom is realized in reliance systems, social and material systems that have to be constantly made and remade. These systems, no matter our individual capacities, are always collectively produced. Second, these reliance systems are governed by a set of formal and informal political agreements which we call spatial contracts. Spatial contracts are spatial and not exclusively social because they are rooted in the materiality of specific systems, and thus in both space, place

in The spatial contract
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Private greed, political negligence and housing policy after Grenfell

As the tragedy of the Grenfell Tower fire of 14 June 2017 has slowly revealed a shadowy background of outsourcing and deregulation, and a council turning a blind eye to health and safety concerns, many questions need answers. Stuart Hodkinson has those answers. Safe as Houses weaves together Stuart’s research over the last decade with residents’ groups in council regeneration projects across London to provide the first comprehensive account of how Grenfell happened and how it could easily have happened in multiple locations across the country. It draws on examples of unsafe housing either refurbished or built by private companies under the Private Finance Initiative (PFI) to show both the terrible human consequences of outsourcing and deregulation and how the PFI has enabled developers, banks and investors to profiteer from highly lucrative, taxpayer-funded contracts. The book also provides shocking testimonies of how councils and other public bodies have continuously sided with their private partners, doing everything in their power to ignore, deflect and even silence those who speak out. The book concludes that the only way to end the era of unsafe regeneration and housing provision is to end the disastrous regime of self-regulation. This means strengthening safety laws, creating new enforcement agencies independent of government and industry, and replacing PFI and similar models of outsourcing with a new model of public housing that treats the provision of shelter as ‘a social service’ democratically accountable to its residents.

A pragmatist notion of critique as mediation 
Klaus Geiselhart

Introduction The talk-show host Stephen Colbert satirically introduced the term ‘truthiness’ in 2005, referring to his observation of political rhetoric whereby the belief in what you feel to be true is privileged over what the facts support. ‘Post-truth’ became the Oxford Dictionary’s word of the year in 2016, defined as “relating to or denoting circumstances in which objective facts are less influential in shaping public opinion than appeals to emotion and personal belief” ( Oxford Dictionaries, 2016 ). Both terms were discussed in connection with the rise

in The power of pragmatism
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Renegotiating the Irish border
Sara McDowell

8 Flocking north: renegotiating the Irish border Sara McDowell According to Beck and Sznaider (2010: 390), capital ‘tears down all national boundaries and jumbles together the “native” with the “foreign”’ producing new patterns of consumption and mobility. But, where the national boundary is one of contention, and the identities of those on either side even more so, the influence of economics on a political divide is more difficult to determine. The changing economic fortunes of both the Republic of Ireland (the South) and Northern Ireland (the North) since 2007

in Spacing Ireland
Open Access (free)
An international political economy of work
Louise Amoore

6 Conclusion: an international political economy of work I n the late twentieth and early twenty-first centuries, we are living in an era of social transformation that has been defined by the concept of globalisation, just as it has been shaped by programmes of restructuring carried out in the name of globalisation. Yet, our era is also one in which people’s concrete experiences of transformation are diverse and contradictory. While for some, living in a GPE means holding and managing a portfolio of shares, business travel for a MNC, and increased prosperity

in Globalisation contested