The Enduring Struggle for Social Justice and the City

This is a substantive introductory essay I co-wrote with three incredibly smart scholars that kicks off the Annals special issue I edited that explores contemporary investigations into Social Justice and the City.

Heynen, N., D. Aiello, C. Keegan, N. Luke (2018) “The Enduring Struggle for Social Justice and the City.” Annals of the American Association of Geographers. 108(2): 301-316.

Here is an excerpt:

“What follows in this article is an effort to trace the genealogy of urban social justice within the Annals to understand its origins since the journal’s first publication in 1911 and gesture at where it might be going. To frame the articles that follow, we work through the archives of the Annals starting with the first published issue, mapping changes in the definition of social justice in three cuts. In the first section, we consider the political discussions of justice and injustice up to the radical turn in the discipline that prefigured what would become social justice as a dominant theme of investigation in geography. We then show, in selected ways, the rapid theoretical development of social justice in its variegated forms after the turn up to this special issue. Over time, we note how the empirical emphasis of articles widens to consider a broad range of geographies, identities, and political aims with a greater preponderance of specifically urban studies. Third, we discuss the ways in which articles published in the Annals have treated “the city” and urban geographical processes more broadly. Following this deeper context, we offer some summary of the twenty six special issue articles. The shift across the journal’s disciplinary history is quite extraordinary, with much of the early research drawing from racist, sexist, colonial, and environmentally determinist thought and transitioning into much more socially engaged and progressive, sometimes radical, scholarship.”