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The Legacy of ThatcherismAssessing and Exploring Thatcherite Social and Economic Policies$
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Stephen Farrall and Colin Hay

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780197265703

Published to British Academy Scholarship Online: January 2015

DOI: 10.5871/bacad/9780197265703.001.0001

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Mrs Thatcher’s Iniquitous Geographies: Why Spatial Dynamics Matter

(p.273) Commentary
The Legacy of Thatcherism

Chris Philo

British Academy

This chapter reflects upon Danny Dorling’s ‘forensic’ analysis of the spatial dynamics underlying Mrs Thatcher’s impact upon UK society. His innovative cartography, coupled to a remarkable facility with complex datasets, conclusively captures the deepening of socio-spatial inequalities that was integral (not incidental) to the Thatcherite project. The chapter also offers a thumbnail critical appraisal of Mrs Thatcher’s own understanding of ‘geography’. In one register, her approach might be cast as a ‘denying’ of the UK’s overall social geography, but in another it was envisioning a ‘tapestry’ of largely disconnected local social environments admonished constantly to compare and compete. Dorling claims that things could have been otherwise, since many regions of the world did not follow this path of ever-widening internal socio-spatial inequalities. Quite other, alternative visions of more equal and just geographies of the UK, antithetical to Mrs Thatcher’s geographical vision, should continue to feature on a progressive political agenda.

Keywords:   geography, social geography, spatial inequality, social injustice, cartography

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