Statement of Purpose (first draft)

A World to Win!

The International Critical Geography Group (ICGG) is comprised of geographers and non-geographers committed to developing the theory and practice necessary for combating social exploitation and oppression. We have formed this international association to provide an alternative to the increasingly institutionalised and corporate culture of universities. We believe that a 'critical' practice of our discipline can be a political tool for the remaking of local and global geographies into a more equal world.

We are CRITICAL because we demand and fight for social change aimed at dismantling prevalent systems of capitalist exploitation; oppression on the basis of gender, race and sexual preference; imperialism, neo-liberalism, national aggression and environmental destruction.

We are CRITICAL because we refuse the self-imposed isolation of much academic research, believing that social science belongs to the people and not the increasingly corporate universities.

We are CRITICAL because we seek to build a society that exalts differences, and yet does not limit social and economic prospects on the basis of them.

We are CRITICAL because in opposing existing systems that defy human rights, we join with existing social movements outside the academy that are aimed at social change.

We are INTERNATIONAL because oppression obeys no national boundaries; indeed, the hasty celebration of transnationalism and globalisation often serves to protect privilege and expand dominant systems of exploitation.

We are INTERNATIONAL because we are differently located in terms of geography, race, class, gender, sexuality. Our privilege and access to various resources is unequal. We are committed to taking responsibility for these inequalities, and facilitating the inclusion of all voices in our debates and actions.

We are INTERNATIONAL because we want the world.

We are critical and internationalist as geographers because the discipline has long served colonial, imperial and nationalist ends, generating the ideological discourses that help to naturalise social inequality. We recognise the ties between knowledge and power and are committed to unmasking them. We work as geographers because we believe that knowing the world in its detail and its geographical differences, from the local to the global scale, is a vital key to confronting political power.

The ICGG seeks to include - in a non-hierarchical way - theorists, activists and researchers throughout the world who identify with this broad commitment to socio-geographical change. We will meet regularly at rotating venues which are envisioned less as academic conferences than as workshops using widely varied formats. We strongly encourage regional and local organisation of workshops, conferences and groups affiliated with the ICGG as vital building blocks of an international agenda. Inreach of members toward their own academic and activist community is as important as outreach toward the larger ICGG forum.

Therefore, our slogan, 'A world to win', has a triple meaning. It expresses our political ambition in geographical terms; it indicates the 'critical' yet global breadth of that ambition; and it makes clear that changing the world requires a lot of work, but that victory is there for the winning.

The Draft Statement of Purpose is now being translated into various languages for wider discussion among the critical geographers across the world:

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