Anthony Ince, Kulturgeografiska Institutionen, Stockholms Universitet
Forthcoming (2014) in Levy C and Newman S (eds.) The Anarchist Imagination: Anarchism Encounters the Humanities and Social Sciences. London: Routledge.
I first realized that I wanted to become a geographer when I read Tearing Down the Streets , by the anarchist Jeff Ferrell (2001). Overlooking the fact that he was a criminologist, not a geographer, the powerful message of the book orbited contestation of public space and the politics of creating truly public and egalitarian spaces for social change. Using a critique (anarchism) and subject matter (public space) that I had never experienced before, Ferrell interrogated the ways in which the urban environment is shaped by, and constitutive of, all manner of political, social, cultural, and economic forces. What gripped me was the way that space is ethereal and elusive we can‟t hold a piece of space in our hand, or interview it, or run it through a machine for analysis but it is also necessarily material and grounded, locked deeply into the core of everyday struggles for survival, expression, wellbeing and social justice. As a disillusioned political science undergraduate who had been taught that the study of politics chiefly involved learning by rote the technocratic systems of Western government, this was an epiphany of considerable magnitude.