They explored feminist contributions from ecological movement, black, feminist and gay movements, the forces of nationalism, and so on. They find out that each and every one of these oppositional cultures possessed a distinctive geography, which is a vital part of their ability to survive and contest dominant orders. (Peet & Thrift, 1989, p. 21)
So what kind of feminist critical practice does the new geography of identity foster' First, let it be said that feminist criticism has not been and should not be limited to discussions of identity and subjectivity. But since these issues have been so foundational for much feminist criticism, it is important for us to think through the implication of the new geography for work that continues to explore the production and reception of women's writing and the textuality of gender. Second, feminist critical practice focused on questions of identity and subjectivity has already begun to change significantly as a result of the new geographics.
The initial incursion of women's issues and feminist analysis into urban geography was an angry one. Early writers argued that geographers had ignored women's activities and that this distorted both the reality of women's lives and the understanding of human-environmental relations. They said that geographers were building models on the basis of family forms and gender-based movement patterns, which no longer existed. Yet this incursion was also a cautious one. As with any attempt to introduce new content into a discipline developed in its absence, people moved warily. They looked for footholds, places in existing frameworks for women's new and unratified patterns. (Peet & Thrift, 1989, p. 111)
Existing frameworks did not appear to offer many such footholds. Despite the pioneering efforts of a few humanists and historical materialists, at this point still zealously and often dogmatically explicating their respective philosophies, urban geography was largely a spatial science. It focused on attempts to explain and predict patterns of movement using models, which extrapolated from empirical evidence of human, and commodity movement in the past. The patterns women created were unpredictable and even inexplicable in terms of this kind of science. Demographic predictions foundered, victims of the failure to acknowledge the growing campaigns around fertility control and new family forms. The 'units' of demographic change acquired unexpected political convictions and made themselves known as complex, conscious beings. (Peet & Thrift, 1989, p. 111) Similarly, discussion of residential location and the categorisation of socio-economic status were disordered by unforeseen, two-income families. Journey-to-work researchers were perplexed by women's apparently erratic non-maximizing movements, which were punctuated by trips to childcare, shops, and childrens' teachers (Monk & Hanson 1982).
Initially, such problems