Thinking State/Space Incompossibly

This paper develops multi-dimensional analyses of socio-spatial relations. Building on previous research, we identify some tensions associated with different dimensions of sociospatiality and introduce the theme of compossible and, more importantly, incompossible sociospatial configurations. Two short studies are deployed to highlight the socio-spatial implications of the principle that not everything that is possible is compossible. The first shows the power of thinking varieties of capitalism compossibly (via the concept of variegated capitalism) and

Theorizing Socio-Spatial Relations

This essay seeks to reframe recent debates on sociospatial theory through the introduction of an approach that can grasp the inherently polymorphic, multidimensional character of sociospatial relations. As previous advocates of a scalar turn, we now question the privileging, in any form, of a single dimension of sociospatial processes, scalar or otherwise. We consider several recent sophisti- cated `turns’ within critical social science; explore their methodological limitations; and highlight several important strands of sociospatial theory that seek to transcend the latter.

States and State Power: A Strategic-Relational Approach

State theorists have usually attempted to theorize the state but this is a misleading focus that risks treating the state as a simple instrument or machine, a reified apparatus that is primarily a source of constraint on political action, or a more or less rational subject that exercises power. Such positions have been criticized from many alternative theoretical positions as well as proven unhelpful in empirical analyses.

From Micro-Powers to Governmentality: Foucault’s Work on Statehood, State Formation, Statecraft and State Power

This article revisits Foucault’s analytics of power in the light of his lectures on governmentality and biopolitics in Society must be Defended (1975-6), Securité, territoire, population (1977-8) and Naissance de la biopolitique (1978-9). Foucault is renowned for his criticisms of state theory and advocacy of a bottom-up approach to social power; and for his hostility to many theoretical and practical manifestations of orthodox Marxism.

State- and Regulation-Theoretical Perspectives on the European Union and the Failure of the Lisbon Agenda

This contribution adopts a dual state- and regulation-theoretical approach to analyze the European Union as an emerging political system and its role in capital accumulation. It does so in three respects. First, in state-theoretical terms, I reject the two main rival descriptions of the EU in the 1980s and 1990s as a supranational state or a site of interstate struggles and propose a third interpretation.

On the Limits of Limits to Capital

My contribution to this celebration of Limits to Capital (hereafter Limits or LC) approaches it as a magisterial work that is also a ‘classic’ text. Even though Harvey recently described it, with justified regret, as the least discussed and used of his books (2000), it is a work of massive theoretical ambition and solid accomplishment. As Harvey remarks elsewhere, Limits ‘seeks to integrate the financial (temporal) and geographical (call it global and spatial) aspects to accumulation within the framework of Marx’s overall argument.

The Strategic-Relational Approach: An Interview with Bob Jessop

Q. Why did you become a Marxist and why do you remain a Marxist? Moreover, how can you justify your version of Marxism as Marxism?
A. This is a very interesting question. I never reflected on this issue and then made the decision from one day to the next. It was not like a religious conversion. You do not wake up one day and say “Oh my God, I’m a Marxist” and then elaborate the reasons.

Liberalism, Neoliberalism, and Urban Governance: A State-Theoretical Pespective

This paper discusses the recurrence and the recurrent limitations of liberalism as a general discourse, strategy, and regime. It then establishes a continuum of neoliberalism ranging from a project for radical system transformation from state socialism to market capitalism, through a basic regime shift within capitalism, to more limited policy adjustments intended to maintain another type of accumulation regime and its mode of regulation.

Bringing the State Back in (Yet Again): Reviews, Revisions, Rejections, and Redirections

This article addresses West European and North American developments in theorizing the state. It briefly reviews the first major postwar revival of theoretical interest in the state that began in Western Europe during the mid-1960s. This was mainly led by Marxists interested in the general form and functions of the capitalist state; but a key supporting role was played by Marxist-feminists who extended such ideas to the patriarchal capitalist state…