On the other hand ... dialectics

Deborah P. Dixon, Keith Woodward, John Paul Jones III

Research output: Contribution to journalEditorialpeer-review

14 Citations (SciVal)


On the other hand ... dialectics: a sometimes social, sometimes materialist, sometimes psychological, but always political ontology that has offered the foundational logic for historico-geographical methodologies, rumbles on even while carrying the burden of a litany of criticisms levelled against its occasional idealisms, teleologies, totalities, binarisms, and, at times, its downright clunkiness. In spite of such objections, the onto-surjective `other-handed-ness' of dialectics, where relations and symmetries of the one hand grasp and shake the negations and contradictions of the other hand, continues to inspire new thought, direct novel research, and inform radical politics. Perhaps this is because, even in the face of growing allegiances to indeterminacy and alterity, the dialectical pairing never lets go: the chainlink of internal relations meets the one hand with the other, joined in constitutive proximity. Is there not, furthermore, something elegant about a mode of thought that finds theses within anti-theses and produces syntheses or, possibly, new fronts altogether; that tracks change not in circles but in spirals; and that anticipates all others, harmony with discord, rationality with emotion, man with God? And yet (or, on the other hand), after two decades of isolating and rooting out alternatives to its frequently claustrophobic structurings, dialectics has become an increasingly forbidden concept.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2549-2561
Number of pages13
JournalEnvironment and Planning A
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - 2008


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