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Additional info for Politics and Practice in Economic Geography
McDowell’s first sentence is: ‘This book is the result of field work in the City of London’ (1997: v). qxd 18 4/30/2007 2:13 PM Page 18 Introduction: Methods Matter methodological strategies she deployed and their justification, and why it mattered politically that the focus was gendered bodies and feminist methods. Like Hanson and Pratt’s work, but unlike many economic geographies that preceded it, McDowell’s methodology is never separate, implicit or invisible. The point, in fact, had emerged earlier in a debate between McDowell and Erica Schoenberger about corporate interviews – a rare outbreak of reflexive methodological debate in economic geography.
Neither theory is looking for irrationality at the firm level. And indeed, the problem is not exactly that the firm per se is irrational, but that the people running the firm have conflicting rationalities on behalf of themselves as social agents and on behalf of the firm as a social agent. qxd 4/30/2007 2:11 PM Page 29 Politics and Practice: Becoming a Geographer nationally harmful behaviour of the Vietnam (and Iraq) war strategists. And perhaps this political conditioning allowed me to finally recognize it when I saw it repeatedly in corporations.
Third, the scrupulous articulation and defence of method both keeps us honest and aids rigorous conceptualization. Method provides a crucial ‘hinge’ between empirical evidence and theoretical claims. And fourth, methods talk facilitates more effective and deeper forms of communication, improving cross-disciplinary engagement, and reducing the risk of Balkanization. A more methodologically reflexive economic geography will also be a different economic geography. There are certainly upsides to economic geography’s disciplinary velocity, including its adventurousness, novelty, energy, and creativity.