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Staff Profile

Prof Doreen Massey

Prof Doreen Massey

Emeritus Professor



On 30 September 2009, I formally retired. However, as Emeritus Professor at the Open University I retain numerous links and a base here, as well as continuing active engagement in a number of projects including the AHRC Project The future of landscape and the moving image, with Patrick Keiller, of the Royal College of Art and Professor Patrick Wright at Nottingham Trent University. Voices of Places is an ongoing book project to be published by Oxford University Press based on the Clarendon Lectures I presented in Oxford in 2008. In March 2011, I am to give a lecture at the Annual Seminario Atlántico de Pensamiento, Venezuala, to be called "Latinoamérica: laboratorio mundial". This is part of my continuing interest in space and power which I am pursuing in particular through engagement with political change in Venezuela, where the concept of power-geometries has been taken up as part of the effort to extend grassroots and participatory democracy. I am also a member of the Editorial Board for the journal Revista Pós, the School of Architecture and Urbanism of São Paulo, Brazil.


BA (Oxon), MA (Phila)

Awards and Honours

2010 - Awarded Hon DSc (Econ), Queen Mary University of London
2006 - Honorary DLitt awarded by the National University of Ireland
2006 - Honorary DSc awarded by Edinburgh University
2003 - Centenary Medal of Royal Scottish Geographical Society
2003 - Anders Retzius Medal in Gold, awarded by the Swedish Society of Anthropologists and Geographers.
2002 - Fellow, British Academy
2001 - Honorary Fellow, St. Hugh's College, Oxford University
2000 - Fellow of Royal Society of Arts
1998 - Awarded the Prix Vautrin Lud ('Nobel de Géographie')
1994 - Awarded Victoria Medal of the Royal Geographical Society

Course development and teaching

Doreen has contributed significantly to several OU courses, as chair, editor and writer. Recent courses include: The shape of the world (D215), Understanding cities (DD304), and Living in a globalised world (DD205).

Research interests

Doreen has long-term interests in the theorization of 'space' and 'place' and in demonstrating the importance to both everyday life and wider politics of how we conceptualise both space and place.

Empirically this work has engaged with a critique of current forms of globalisation, issues of regional uneven development, and of the city. In all of this the aim has been to work between, and to show the relationship between, philosophical and conceptual issues on the one hand and the directly political on the other. Her 2005 book For space laid out much of this groundwork, bringing together arguments formulated over many years. World city (2007) is a more immediately political work but which mobilises the same philosophical arguments. It argues strongly against the dominance in London and the UK of the finance and associated sectors and points to the effects around the world of activities that take place in London. It asks us to consider our responsibility for the effects of place, and argues for a politics of place beyond place. A forthcoming book (Voices of places) broadens this out to ask what role there might be in this globalised world for a radical politics of place.

Since 2007 Doreen has also been working in Venezuela, where her concept of power-geometry has been adopted as a means of thinking through the programme of decentralisation and equalisation of political power. In particular this involves affording the possibility of giving a meaningful political voice to both poorer regions and the previously excluded within the cities. In early 2007 5 'motors' of the revolution were outlined, including emphasis on constitutional reform and popular education. The fourth motor was defined as "The new power-geometry: the socialist reorganisation of the national political geography". The work has involved discussions, seminars, public meetings and tv appearances in Venezuela. The following publications, by Doreen Massey, are available on request:

  • Geometrías del poder y la conceptualizacíon del espacio.
  • Geometrías internacionales del poder y la política de una ciudad global: pensamientos desde Londres (forthcoming in Revista de Cendes, Caracas)
  • Las geometríás del poder en el contexto de la Reforma Constitucional
  • Notas sobre las geometrías del poder (forthcoming in Día-Crítica, Caracas)
  • Hacia una nueva geometría del poder (being published as a mass-distribution pamphlet by El perro y la rana, Caracas).

Also since 2007 Doreen has been involved in a major AHRC project with Patrick Keiller and Patrick Wright. The project is entitled "The future of landscape and the moving image". For further information visit the project website.

Recent publications

A selection of my research publications can be viewed at The Open University's Open Research Online.


World City, Cambridge: Polity Press. Published with new Preface: "After the Crash", July 2010.

Journal Articles

"The political struggle ahead", Soundings: a journal of politics and culture, no. 46, Autumn 2010. Available as e-book Labour's Future: (Accessed 10 January 2011)

"Interpreting the crisis", Soundings: a journal of politics and culture, no. 44, Spring 2010, pp. 57-71 (with Stuart Hall).

'When theory meets politics', Antipode, vol.40, no.3, pp.492-497, 2008. Also published as a chapter in K. Mitchell (ed) Practising Public Scholarship: Experiences and Possibilities beyond the Academy, Wiley-Blackwell, 2008.

Book Chapters

"Vorwort" to Bauriedl, S., Schier, M. and Strüver, A. (eds) Geschlechterverhältnisse, Raumstrukturen, Ortsbeziehungen, Münster: Westfälisches Dampfboot, 2010.

"Invention and hard work" in Radical politics today (ed. J. Pugh), Routledge, 2009.

"Doreen Massey: Responsibilities over distance", Interview chapter in Globalizing the Research Imagination, eds, Kenway, J. and Fahey, J., Oxford: Routledge, New York: Taylor & Francis Inc., 2009, pp.73-85.

"Challenging spaces", in Shalev-Gertz, E. A Thread, Glasgow and Salford: Aye-Aye Books, 2008, pp.53-56.

"Geography of high-tech spaces: Some reflections", in High-tech urban spaces Asian and European perspectives, eds, Ramachandraiah, C., van Westen, A.C.M. and Prasad, S., New Delhi: Manohar Publishers, 2008.

Italian translation of Ken Livingstone interview published in il manifesto, March 17, 2008, p.6.


"World city in a world setting", Music Village Festival, Cultural Cooperation, October Gallery, London, 9 July 2010.

"Landscape and the moving image", Art and the Environment Conference, AHRC, at Tate Britain, 25-26 June 2010.

"Whose crisis?", Finance in crisis; finance in question, CRESC Conference Opening Plenary Session, University of Manchester, 12-14 April 2010.

"Why I still love geography after all these years", Vice Presidential Keynote, Annual Conference of the Geographical Association, University of Derby, 10 April 2010.

"Pensar el espacio para el cambio político en el siglo XXI", Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, Mexico City, 4 March 2010.

"Geometrías del poder II: espacio y lugar en la revolución bolivariana", Universidad Autónoma Metropolitana, Mexico City, 3 March 2010.

"Geometrías del poder I: conceptos del espacio para una política espacial" Universidad Autónoma Metropolitana, Mexico City, 2 March 2010.

"Taking the international dimension seriously", Progressive London, Congress House, London, 30 January 2010.

Chair of session, Latin America 2009, Congress House, London, December 2009.

"Radical politics today" at launch of book, Radical politics today, hosted by The British Council, 25 November 2009.

Guest speaker in the "key authors and texts" series, Lancaster University, 24 November 2009.

"Space and difference", Tate Britain Lecture Series on 'Difference', London, 4 November 2009.

"Space and Politics", Venezuelan Consulate Simón Bolívar Hall, 27 October 2009.

"Some puzzles in thinking migration and place together", Plenary Lecture: Sixth National Seminar, Society for the Study of Ethnic Relations and International Migration, University of Joensuu, Finland, 22-23 October 2009.

At the 'World Day for Decent Work', Congress House, 7 October 2009.

Other media

Appearances on radio and television include (UK only):

BBC Radio 4, "The London Story", interview, broadcast 13 July 2010.

Today Programme, BBC Radio 4, interview, 28 June 2010.

The BBC World Service Forum, discussing how we think about space and the city in global terms, and if global cities exist what responsibility do such places have towards the spaces between them (15 October 2008). Available from: (Accessed 10 January 2011)

'Imagination and the City', a panel discussion with Will Self and Richard Sennett, on BBC Radio 4's Thinking Allowed series, 27 August 2008.

A repository of research publications and other research outputs can be viewed at The Open University's Open Research Online.

Last updated: 7 February 2012