Coming of age: Urban geography in the 1980s

Sallie A. Marston, Geraldine Pratt

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Urban geography in the 1980s experienced significant transformations in theory, method, and practice largely from new currents in social theory. In this paper we describe and analyze the ways in which social theoretical influences shaped our own work as we entered the discipline first as graduate students and later as junior faculty. Drawn into the social theoretical currents that were swirling both within and outside (urban) geography, our own earliest work was an attempt to engage with and struggle against some of these currents. In our paper we address the theoretical, methodological and practical issues that most challenged us as representatives of a generation of urban geographers who "came of age" in the 1980s. We specifically address our common interest in making a space for a sophisticated conceptualization of agency in a paradigm of the urban political economy that was over-determined by structural theory. We use Caroline Steedman's Landscape for a Good Woman as an epistemological framework for thinking through our evolving feminist work on culture and social reproduction as well as an entry point into the dramatic changes that were occurring in geographers' theorizations of capitalist urbanization in the 1980s.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)340-351
Number of pages12
JournalUrban Geography
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jun 1 2003


  • Agency
  • Social theory
  • Spatial theory
  • Structure

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Urban Studies


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