Edward W. Soja's Radical Spatial Perspective

Stefano Bloch, Thomas Brasdefer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Edward W. Soja saw early in his career that “it is now space more than time, geography more than history, that hides consequences from us.” His life-long scholarly project centered around this contention, inspiring his advocacy of a socio-spatial dialectic, his contribution to the so-called “spatial turn,” and his fervent belief that all matters of justice are matters of geography, necessitating the “reassertion of space in critical social theory.” In his decidedly interdisciplinary and agenda-setting work, he became associated with several schools of thought, from Marxism and cultural studies, to postmodernism and critical theory. But his defining feature remained his radical approach to the study of cities and regions vis-à-vis an investigation of Los Angeles informed by the work of Henri Lefebvre. In doing his decades of investigation of urbanization, restructuring, and political struggle writ large, he developed a lexicon that helped identify, problematize, and speak to an array of otherwise aspatial ontological, epistemological, and phenomenological scholarly positions, always placing space at the center. This paper discusses Soja's personal and intellectual advocacy of a radical spatial perspective, arguing that his neat categorization as a “postmodern geographer” is one that is both real and imagined—as limiting as it is liberating.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)233-243
Number of pages11
JournalHuman Geography(United Kingdom)
Issue number3
StatePublished - Nov 2023


  • Los Angeles
  • postmetropolis
  • postmodern geography
  • spatial justice
  • thirdspace
  • urbanism

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Philosophy


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