Mainstream geographical economics propagates the free trade doctrine, presenting capitalism as entailing, but capable of overcoming, uneven geographical development. Geographers have failed to engage with the international trade theories that rationalize this, or develop alternatives. Beginning with the entanglements through which trade happens, I examine how theories rationalizing the free trade doctrine isolate trade, mobilizing a narrow sociospatial ontology. Marxisant trade theories offer important critiques, but are similarly marred by limited sociospatial ontologies. By contrast, attending to the entanglements of trade, geographical political economy can decenter the free trade doctrine, creating space for taking seriously alternative trading imaginaries and practices.
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