"Doing" critical geographies with numbers

Tim Schwanen, Mei Po Kwan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Criticisms of quantitative geography have a long history in our discipline. Since the emergence of early Marxist geography, the advent of new theoretical traditions has been accompanied by sustained and sometimes vigorous critiques of spatial analysis. In this introductory article to the second focus section on critical quantitative geographies, we discuss the accuracy of some of the criticisms about the use(s) to which spatial analysis is put and about the philosophical presumptions underpinning quantitative geographies. We argue that spatial analysis and critical geographies should not be considered mutually exclusive of one another-although this does not mean that numbers and critical geographies are entirely comfortable with one another. We suggest that critical geographies cannot dispense with numbers and visualizations based on numerical information. We hope that the articles collected here will inspire geographers to engage with numbers and statistics to challenge inequality and imagine alternative futures.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)459-464
Number of pages6
JournalProfessional Geographer
Issue number4
StatePublished - Nov 2009
Externally publishedYes


  • Critical geographies
  • Quantitative geography
  • Quantitative methods
  • Spatial analysis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Earth-Surface Processes


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