C3 is named after Doreen Massey, a philosopher, empirical researcher, educator and political activist whose geographical publications dramatically changed the way people understood the world and how we live in it.
Massey was born in Manchester in 1944 and despite her humble beginnings, went on to study at Oxford University and later the University of Pennsylvania receiving a master's in Regional Science. She then began her career at the Centre for Environmental Studies in London, establishing the basis for her theory on Spatial Division of Labour which looked at the organisation of certain production tasks in particular geographical areas and/or the concentration of certain economic sectors in particular regions. It provided a basis for explaining the uneven development of the space economy of capitalism.
Massey's involvement in support groups during the 1984-85 miners’ strike also shaped her appreciation of the way gender, sexuality and race could reconfigure understandings of class. And her essay "Space, Place and Gender" in 1994 brought a feminist perspective to the rethinking of power relations. Her concept of “geometries of power” drew attention to the ways in which spatiality and mobility are both shaped by and reproduce power differentials in society.
Her many honours included the Prix Vautrin Lud (regarded as geography’s Nobel prize, though she declined the offer of being appointed OBE) and eight years after her death in 1996, she gained the Presidential Achievement Award of the Association of American Geographers. However, it was the political impact of her work that she valued most, for example when Hugo Chavez's government in Venezuela adopted challenging geometries of power as one of the motors of its Bolivarian Revolution. Massey's legacy is a rich set of theoretical tools and powerful insights into the production of space and place. She remains a role-model for geographers who not only want to study the world, but to actively change it through progressive politics.
"Our overvaluation of speed (time here as only money) has robbed us of many things that are at least equally precious" .
Ms M Holian