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Abstract

With the rise of political economy and humanistic approaches in geography in the 1970s, quantitative geography was criticized for its positivist epistemology, its search for generalizations rather than local differentiation, its claim to objective research and the removal of the researcher from the research process, its reactionary political outlook and the inability to excite students. These criticisms have been echoed by ‘cultural turn’ economic geographers. This article argues that many of the criticisms are misdirected and unfounded in the light of recent advances in quantitative methodologies that stress the local, computational and visual and that explicitly incorporate the subjective beliefs of the researcher. Moreover, while serving the interests of proponents and opponents of quantitative economic geography, the artificial separation between quantitative and qualitative economic geography does little for a pluralist discipline founded on critical engagement among economic geographers striving to build an emancipatory, critical and policy-relevant economic geography.