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Negativity: space, politics and affects

Dekeyser, Thomas; Secor, Anna; Rose, Mitch; Bissell, David; Zhang, Vickie; Romanillos, Jose Luis

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Thomas Dekeyser

Mitch Rose

David Bissell

Vickie Zhang

Jose Luis Romanillos


This paper reflects on the status of ‘negativity’ in contemporary social and geographical thought. Based on a panel discussion held at the American Association of Geographers Annual Meeting 2021, each contributor discusses what negativity means to them, and considers its various legacies and potential future trajectories. Along the way, the contributors offer ways of attending to negative spaces (voids, abysses, absences), affects (vulnerabilities, sad passions, incapacities, mortality) and politics (impasses, refusals, irreparabilities). However, rather than defining negativity narrowly, the paper stays with the diversity of work on negativity being undertaken by geographers and other scholars, discussing how varying perspectives expand or dismantle particular elements within spatial theory. Collectively, the contributors argue for paying attention to negativity as the faltering, failure or impossibility of relations between body and world, thus situating it in conversation with relational thought, vitalist philosophies and affirmative ethics.


Dekeyser, T., Secor, A., Rose, M., Bissell, D., Zhang, V., & Romanillos, J. L. (2022). Negativity: space, politics and affects. cultural geographies, 29(1), 5 - 21.

Journal Article Type Article
Online Publication Date Nov 17, 2021
Publication Date Jan 1, 2022
Deposit Date Feb 9, 2022
Publicly Available Date Feb 10, 2022
Journal cultural geographies
Print ISSN 1474-4740
Electronic ISSN 1477-0881
Publisher SAGE Publications
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 29
Issue 1
Pages 5 - 21


Published Journal Article (Advance online version) (170 Kb)

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Copyright Statement
Advance online version This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 License ( which permits non-commercial use, reproduction and distribution of the work without further permission provided the original work is attributed as specified on the SAGE and Open Access pages (

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