Unifying Geography: Common Heritage, Shared Future?

Unifying Geography: Common Heritage, Shared Future?

Unifying Geography: Common Heritage, Shared Future?

Unifying Geography: Common Heritage, Shared Future?

Synopsis

This text focuses on the plural and competing versions of unity that characterize the discipline, which give it cohesion and differentiate it from related fields of knowledge.

Excerpt

Three reasons for developing greater unity in Geography are particularly compelling. First, in terms of its external relations, Geography is facing unprecedented challenges and, at the same time, opportunities for contributions to evidence-led policy. There is increasing public awareness of environmental and social problems that need solutions and which governments have to address. In managing global change and local consequences there is a greater need than ever for interdisciplinary understanding of the way the world works, which requires interaction between the sciences and between science, social science and the humanities. Research council programmes are increasingly reflecting such interdisciplinary and policy requirements. This is not a time to neglect the prime reason that led to the establishment of Geography as a discipline. This was to occupy the interface between the sciences and the humanities - an inherently interdisciplinary niche that Sir Halford Mackinder saw as the 'Geographical Experiment'.

One of the main arguments developed in this book is that if Geography is to continue to make a major contribution of this type to understanding and to policy, geographers must pay greater attention to the core concepts, methods and applications that make Geography distinctive. But one of the ways geographers have responded to these challenges is to diversify and there can be no doubt that this has enabled geographers to make an immense and wide-ranging interdisciplinary contribution in the past. Diversification within both physical and human geography may now have gone so far as to threaten the sustainability of the subject in the longer term. In particular, the avid pursuit of diversification that separates interdisciplinary development from the common roots of the subject risks surrendering some of our most important fields of study to other disciplines.

Second, there is a need for greater unity to strengthen Geography in the field of learning and teaching. Geography's popularity as a subject of study in schools and universities, which owes much to its diversity, is being challenged, but with new opportunities also opening up. There is more than ever a need for geographical knowledge and understanding of the world around us. This is a message that underpins the discipline and its major professional body - the Royal Geographical Society (with the Institute of British Geographers). The

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.