Academic journal article Geography

A Student's Introduction to Geographical Thought: Theories, Philosophies, Methodologies

Academic journal article Geography

A Student's Introduction to Geographical Thought: Theories, Philosophies, Methodologies

Article excerpt

A Student's Introduction to Geographical Thought: Theories, philosophies, methodologies Pauline Couper London: SAGE, 2015 256pp, 17x24cm, Pb: £25.99 ISBN 978-1-4462-8296-0

Pauline Couper's book, aimed primarily at the undergraduate market, is a well-written and engaging text that thoughtfully deals with often challenging theoretical concepts and ideas. Presented in ten chapters, Couper's intention is to give the reader a solid introduction to the '-isms' (and ways of thinking) that have influenced geography since the mid-20th century. In doing so she provides clear explanations of the interplay between the key theories, philosophies and methodologies that geographers have drawn upon to aid their thinking.

Throughout the book 'the beach' is used as something of a leitmotiv, being regularly introduced as an exemplar of a place, space, structure, or site through which different ways of thinking can be explored. This works reasonably effectively. Couper is open about her background as a physical geographer, but does not allow this persuasion to bias the philosophical content of her book, or the ways in which this content is considered. In Chapter 10, she also presents an interesting debate about the issue of the growing future division, or possible (re)unification, of the two arms of the discipline.

The writing style adopted encourages the participation of the reader and will appeal to the undergraduate students the book is aimed at - chapter headings can be pleasingly quirky (such as, 'Phenomenology and PostPhenomenology, Or, seeing a shark is different from seeing a dolphin') and there are references to popular musicians, films, Lego figures and Wagon wheels, alongside encouragements to use Twitter to contact the author with suggestions of articles for future reference. …

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