Jamie Gough and Raju Das
The Introduction to this special issue sets out our view of some key elements of Marxist geography. Society is a totality in which the differentiated parts are internally rather than externally related: discourse – material practice; society – nature; production – reproduction of people; class, gender and ‘race’; society – space; state- civil society. Capitalist production is rooted in the class relation of exploitation, marked by sectorally and spatially uneven development, surplus and differentiated profit rates, and subject to multiple crisis tendencies. Material and ideological reproduction is based in unpaid domestic and caring work and consumption of commodities, organized by gender and income. Capitalism rests on, internalizes and destroys in the earth’s ecology. Housing and its spatial forms are embedded in the contradictions of production and reproduction. The state does not overcome the conflicts and contradictions of civil society but rather expresses them in new forms. We use this approach to offer brief critiques of mainstream ‘critical geography’, including economic, social, political and cultural geographies and the institutionalist, Weberian and postmodern approaches used therein. We introduce the subjects of the papers, which include various aspects of the relations between capitalism and nature; class, gender and race in large scale production; small scale livelihood production; working class consumption; and housing of different income groups in large cities. Finally, we discuss how the theoretical themes of Marxist geography outlined above are used and developed in the papers.