The Geography of Modernization: Some Comments on the Relevance to Latin America of Recent Research in Africa

Edward W. Soja

The purpose of this paper is to explore a number of recent geographical studies of modernization of Africa with regard to their potential applications in the Latin American context, particularly in the field of political geography. An African specialist, I am extremely sensitive to colonialism and territorial invasion, especially when there exists a gap in emotional attachment and substantive knowledge of the local area between the colonizer and the colonized. It is therefore with some hesitation that I embark upon an excursion through the Latin American domain which draws the present volume together. As a geographer concerned with the political organization of space, however, I feel less hesitant to shift regional contexts, for the growth of systematically organized cross-cultural comparative studies may be what is needed for political geography to emerge from its cocoon and play a significant role in contemporary geographical analysis.

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