International Critical Geography Group
Statement of Purpose
A world to win!
The International Critical Geography Group (ICGG) comprises geographers and nongeographers committed to developing the theory and practice necessary for combating social exploitation and oppression. We believe that just as the world’s geography expresses its multifold social relations, changing these social relations requires a dramatic remaking of local and global geographies.
- We are ‘Critical’ because we demand and fight for social change aimed at dismantling prevalent systems of capitalist exploitation; oppression on the basis of gender, race and sexual preference; imperialism, national chauvinism, environmental destruction.
- We are critical because we refuse the self-imposed isolation of much academic research, believing that social science belongs to the people and not the increasingly corporate universities.
- We are critical because in opposing existing systems of exploitation and oppression, we join with existing social movements outside the academy aimed at social change.
- We are critical because we seek to build an alternative kind of society which exalts social differences while disconnecting the economic and social prospects of individuals and groups from such differences.
- We are ‘International’ because we believe that for too long it has been possible to divide people with similar interests on the basis of national difference.
- We are international because the social systems and assumptions of exploitation and oppression, as expressed in the celebration of ‘globalization’, are international.
- We are international because we are multicultural.
- We are international because we want the world.
- We pursue our critical internationalism through ‘Geography’ because we believe real geographies express and naturalize social inequality much as social systems make the geographic world in their image.
- We are critical and internationalist as geographers because the discipline has long served colonial, imperial and nationalist ends by generating the ideological discourses that help to naturalize social inequality.
- We work as geographers because we believe that knowing the world in its detail and its geographical differences, from the local to the global scale, is a vital key to confronting political power.
- We work as geographers because constructing an alternative society is inevitably about building the new social, political and economic fabric of local and global places.
The ICGG seeks to include theorists, researchers, and activists throughout the world who identify with this broad commitment to socio-geographical change. We will meet regularly at rotating venues which are envisioned less as academic conferences than as workshops using widely varied formats. We strongly encourage regional and local organization of workshops, conferences and groups affiliating with the ICGG as vital building blocks of an international agenda. Our slogan, ‘A world to win’, therefore has a triple meaning. It expresses our political ambition in geographical terms; it indicates the global breadth of that ambition; and it makes clear that changing the world requires a lot of work but that victory is there for the winning.
See also: Smith, N. and Desbiens, C. (1999) “The International Critical Geography Group: Forbidden Optimism?” Environment and Planning D: Society and Space 18, 379-382.