The four years since Kitchin and Hubbard’s Area editorial on the possibilities for critical action geographies have seen a number of commentaries and conference sessions where ideas, encouragement and examples of action-orientated geographies have been aired. This review and the two that follow aim to draw attention to this growing body of research within social geography. Nonetheless, as I discuss in this first review, this presents some difficulties in delimiting, finding and evaluating relevant work. I begin by considering wider recent debates about social geography, and especially its relation- ships with cultural geography, before suggesting that action-orientated research is one area where distinctively social geographies are thriving. The review then maps out the diverse modes of research which fall into this category.
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