Doreen Massey

Doreen Massey FRSA FBA was born in Wythenshawe in‭ ‬1944‭ ‬and she is a contemporary British social scientist and geographer,‭ ‬and currently serving as Professor of Geography at the Open University.‭ ‬She studied at Oxford and Philadelphia,‭ ‬beginning her career with a think-tank,‭ ‬the Centre for Environmental Studies‭ (‬CES‭) ‬in London.

CES contained sveral key analysts of the contemporary British economy,‭ ‬and she established a working partnership with Richard Meegan,‭ ‬among others.‭ ‬CES was closed down and she moved into academia at the OU.‭ ‬After a distinguished career,‭ ‬she won the Prix Vautrin Lud‭ (‬the‭ ‘‬Nobel de Géographie‭’) ‬in‭ ‬1998.

She is a relatively frequent media commentator,‭ ‬particularly on industry and regional trends,‭ ‬and in her role as Professor at the OU she is involved in several educational TV programmes and books,‭ ‬most notably‭ '‬Living in Wythenshawe‭' ‬in The Unknown City,‭ ‬Contesting Architecture and Social Space.
Outline of her arguments:
Doreen Massey's main fields of study are globalisation,‭ ‬regional uneven development,‭ ‬cities,‭ ‬and the reconceptualisation of place.‭ ‬Although associated with an analysis of contemporary western capitalist society,‭ ‬she has also worked in Nicaragua and South Africa.‭ ‬Her early work at CES established the basis for her‭ '‬spatial divisions of labour‭' ‬theory‭ (‬Power Geometry‭)‬,‭ ‬that social inequalities were generated by the uneveness of the capitalist economy,‭ ‬creating stark divisions between rich and poor regions and between social classes.‭ '‬Space matters‭' ‬for poverty,‭ ‬welfare and wealth.‭ ‬Over the years this theory has been refined and extended,‭ ‬with space and spatial relationships remaining central to her account of contemporary society.

While she has argued for the importance of place,‭ ‬her position accords with those arguing against essentialised or static notions,‭ ‬where:
  • places do not have single identities but multiple ones.
  • places are not frozen in time,‭ ‬they are processes.
  • places are not enclosures with a clear inside and outside.

Massey used the example of Kilburn High Road in north-west London to exemplify what she termed a‭ '‬progressive‭' ‬or‭ '‬global‭' ‬sense of place,‭ ‬in the essay‭ '‬A Global Sense of Place‭'‬.