Geographies of interdependence

Smith, Joe (2015). Geographies of interdependence. Geography, 100(1) pp. 12–19.



Interdependence is a potentially powerful conceptual tool that can help geography researchers, teachers and learners to make sense of complex social, economic, cultural and ecological interrelationships. As this article shows, ‘interdependence’ is a concept with a history. It begins with a summary of the political, policy and cultural uses of the term across the last century. The range of different disciplines that have worked with interdependence is indicated, including geographical and international relations research. Some of the hazards of working with the concept, and its promiscuity, are offered. The concept has proven, however, to be a valuable reference point in developing thinking about the geographies of vulnerability and responsibility. Finally, the article closes with a look at the work of the Interdependence Day project – an interdisciplinary team (of which I am a member). The article concludes that thinking in terms of interdependence not only helps to sketch out relationships and consequences in ways that respect complexities, but also informs any action.

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