A Guide to Human Geography


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A short introduction to some of the key concept in, aspects of, and theorists in Human Geography

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  • Human Geography is the study of human uses and understanding of the world and the processes that have affected it. It focuses much more on the human activities than the physical environment, and tends to use much more qualitative research methods.
  • One of the first examples of geographic methods being used for purposes other than to describe and theorise the physical properties of the earth John snow a physician in London produced a map of the outbreaks of cholera during the 1854 outbreak. He recognised the link between poor water quality and the sharing of particular water sources using these clusters. An early example of health geography. More and more people started to consider the ways in which humans interacted with their environment. Geography became more than just looking at the physical world in which people lived but also including their interactions with the world, and perhaps in some cases more importantly, with each other.
  • The 1950s witnessed what was called the Quantitative revolution. Due to a perceived lack of scientific rigour and an overly descriptive nature of the discipline the two subfields of geography began to emerge. Needed to apply statistical and mathematical models to solve spatial problems. It was recognised that not all research could use statistical or mathematical models. More influentially, radical geography emerged in the 1970s and 1980s, drawing heavily on Marxist theory and techniques, and is associated with geographers such as David Harvey and Richard Peet. Seeking to say something 'meaningful' about the problems recognised through quantitative methods, to provide explanations rather than descriptions, to put forward alternatives and solutions and to be politically engaged, rather than the detachment associated with positivist methods. (The detachment and objectivity of the quantitative revolution was itself critiqued by radical geographers as being a tool of capital). Radical geography and the links to Marxism and related theories remain an important part of contemporary human geography) Critical geography also saw the introduction of humanistic geography , associated with the work of Yi-Fu Tuan, which, though similar to behavioural geography, pushed for a much more qualitative approach in methodology.
  • Professor of Anthropology at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York (CUNY). A leading social theorist of international standing, he received his PhD in Geography from University of Cambridge in 1961. Widely influential, he is among the top 20 most cited authors in the humanities. In addition, he is the world's most cited academic geographer and the author of many books and essays that have been prominent in the development of modern geography as a discipline. His work has contributed greatly to broad social and political debate, most recently he has been credited with helping to bring back social class and Marxist methods as serious methodological tools in the critique of global capitalism, particularly in its neoliberal form. Harvey's early work, beginning with his PhD (on hop production in 19th century Kent), was historical in nature, emerging from a regional-historical tradition of inquiry widely used at Cambridge and in Britain at that time. Historical inquiry runs through his later works (for example on Paris). By the mid-1960s, he followed trends in the social sciences to employ quantitative methods, contributing to spatial science and positivist theory. Roots of this work were visible while he was at Cambridge. His Explanation in Geography (1969) was a landmark text in the methodology and philosophy of geography, applying principles drawn from the philosophy of science in general to the field of geographical knowledge. But after its publication Harvey moved on again, to become concerned with issues of social injustice and the nature of the capitalist system itself. Moving from Bristol University to Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore in the USA, he positioned himself centrally in the newly-emerging field of radical and Marxist geography. Injustice, racism, and exploitation were visible in Baltimore, and activism around these issues was tangible in early 1970s East Coast, perhaps more so than in Britain. The journal Antipode was formed at Clark University; Harvey was one of the first contributors. The Boston Association of American Geographers meetings in 1971 were a landmark, with Harvey and others disrupting the traditional approach of their peers. In 1972, in a famous essay on ghetto formation, he argued for the creation of “revolutionary theory”, theory “validated through revolutionary practice”. Social Justice and the City (1973) expressed Harvey's position that geography could not remain 'objective' in the face of urban poverty and associated ills and it makes a significant contribution to Marxian theory by arguing that capitalism annihilates space to ensure its own reproduction. Limits to Capital (1982). LTC furthers the radical geographical analysis of capitalism, and several books on urban processes and urban life have followed it. The Condition of Postmodernity (1989), written while a Professor at Oxford,It is a materialist critique of postmodern ideas and arguments, suggesting these actually emerge from contradictions within capitalism itself. Justice, Nature and the Geography of Differencee (1996) focusses on social and environmental justice (although its dialectical perspective has attracted the ire of some Greens). Spaces of Hope (2000) has a utopian theme and indulges in speculative thinking about how an alternative world might look. His study of Second Empire Paris and the events surrounding the Paris Communee in Paris, Capital of Modernity is undoubtedly his most elaborated historical-geographical work. The onset of US military action since 2001 has provoked a blistering critique - in The New Imperialism (2003) he argues that the war in Iraq allows US neo-conservatives to divert attention from the failures of capitalism 'at home'. His next work, A Brief History of Neoliberalism (2005), provides a historical examination of the theory and divergent practices of neoliberalism since the mid-1970s. This work conceptualizes the neoliberalized global political economy as a system that benefits few at the expense of many, and which has resulted in the (re)creation of class distinction through what Harvey calls "accumulation by dispossessionn". His most recent work The Enigma of Capital (2010) takes a long view of the current economic crisis. Harvey explains how capitalism came to dominate the world and why it resulted in the current financial crisis. He describes that the essence of capitalism is its amorality and lawlessness and to talk of a regulated, ethical capitalism is to make a fundamental error. He moved to the City University of New York in 2001 as a Distinguished Professor, now residing in its Department of Anthropology. He has spent most of his academic career in Anglo-America, with brief sojourns in France and a range of foreign visiting appointments (currently as acting Advisory Professor at Tonji University in Shanghai). He has supervised many PhD students. Several of these, such as Neil Smith, Richard Walker, Erik Swyngedouw, Michael Johns, Maarten Hajer, Patrick Bond, Melissa Wright, and Greg Ruiters now hold important academic positions themselves. Two constants in Harvey's life and work have been teaching a course on Marx's Capital , [3] and his support for student activism and community and labour movements (notably in Baltimore). Critical response to Harvey's work has been sustained. In the early years, there was little love lost between Harvey and proponents of quantitative and non-politicized geography, notably Brian Berry. Harvey's continued commitment to Marx has led to reappraisals and in some cases rejection by younger Leftist scholars. Harvey's books have been widely translated, particularly into Korean, Spanish, Japanese and Italian as well some into Arabic, Turkish, Norwegian, Portuguese, Russian, German, Chinese, Polish, Swedish and Romanian. He holds honorary doctorates from Roskilde (Denmark), Buenos Aires (Argentina), Uppsala (Sweden), Ohio State University (USA), Lund University (Sweden) and the University of Kent (UK). Among other awards he has received the Anders Retzius Gold Medal of the Swedish Anthropological and Geographical Societies, The Patron's Medal of the Royal Geographical Societyy and the Vautrin Lud International Prize in Geography (France). Capitalism is an economic systemm in which the means of productionn are privately owned and operated for a private profitt; decisions regarding supply, demand, price, distribution, and investments are made by private actors in the market; profit is distributed to owners who invest in businesses, and wages are paid to workers employed by businesses and companies. Neoliberalism is a market-driven approach to economic and social policy based on neoclassical theories of economics that stresses the efficiency of private enterprise, liberalized trade and relatively open markets, and therefore seeks to maximize the role of the corporate sector in determining the political and economic priorities of the state. Marxism - The critique of capitalismm — Marx argues that in capitalist society, an economic minority (the bourgeoisiee) dominate and exploitt an economic majority (the proletariat). Marx argues that capitalism is exploitative, specifically the way in which unpaid labour (surplus value) is extracted from the working class (the labour theory of value), extending and critiquing the work of earlier political economists on value. Such commodification of human labour according to Marx, creates an arrangement of transitory serfdom. He argued that while the production process is socialized, ownership remains in the hands of the bourgeoisie. This forms the fundamental contradiction of capitalist society. Without the elimination of the fetter of the private ownership of the means of productionn, human society is unable to achieve further development.
  • Massey was born in Manchester and studied at Oxford and Philadelphia, beginning her career with a think tank, the Centre for Environmental Studies (CES) in London. CES contained several key analysts of the contemporary British economy. CES was closed down and she moved into academia at the OU. She was awarded the Victoria Medal of the Royal Geographical Society in 1994. After a distinguished career, she won the Prix Vautrin Ludd (the ‘Nobel de Géographie’) in 1998. Doreen Massey is a relatively frequent media commentator, particularly on industry and regional trends, and in her role as Professor at the OU she is involved in several educational TV programmes and books. Doreen Massey's main fields of study are globalization, regional uneven development, cities, and the reconceptualisation of place. Although associated with an analysis of contemporary western capitalist society, she has also worked in Nicaragua and South Africa. Economic geography Her early work at CES established the basis for her 'spatial divisions of labour' theory that social inequalities were generated by the uneveness of the capitalist economy, creating stark divisions between rich and poor regions and between social classes. 'Space matters' for poverty, welfare and wealth. Over the years this theory has been refined and extended, with space and spatial relationships remaining central to her account of contemporary society. Sense of place While Massey has argued for the importance of place, her position accords with those arguing against essentialised or static notions, where: are not enclosures with a clear inside and outside places do not have single identities but multiple ones. places are not frozen in time, they are processes. Massey used the example of Kilburn High Road in north west London to exemplify what she termed a 'progressive' or 'global' sense of place, in the essay 'A Global Sense of Place'.
  • Yi-Fu Tuan is a Chinese-American geographer famous for pioneering the field of human geography and merging it with philosophy, art, psychology, and religion. This amalgamation has formed what is known as humanist geography. Humanist geography as it is sometimes called is a branch of geography that studies how humans interact with space and their physical and social environments. It also looks at the spatial and temporal distribution of population as well as the organization of the world’s societies. Most importantly though, humanistic geography stresses people’s perceptions, creativity, personal beliefs, and experiences in developing attitudes on their environments. In addition to his work in human geography, Yi-Fu Tuan is famous for his definitions of space and place. Today, place is defined as a particular part of space that can be occupied, unoccupied, real, or perceived (as is the case with mental maps). Space is defined as that which is occupied by an object's volume. During the 1960s and 1970s, the idea of place in determining people's behavior was at the forefront of human geography and replaced any attention previously given to space. In his 1977 article, "Space and Place: The Perspective of Experience," Tuan argued that to define space, one must be able to move from one place to another, but in order for a place to exist, it needs a space. Thus, Tuan concluded that these two ideas are dependent upon one another and began to cement his own place in the history of geography. Yi-Fu Tuan's Early Life Tuan was born on December 5, 1930 in Tientsin, China. Because his father was a middle class diplomat, Tuan was able to become a member of the educated class, but he also spent many of his younger years moving from place to place within and outside of China's borders.Tuan first entered college at the University College in London but he later went to the University of Oxford where he received his bachelor's degree in 1951. He then continued his education there and earned his master's degree in 1955. From there, Tuan moved to California and finished his education at the University of California, Berkeley. During his time at Berkeley, Tuan became fascinated with the desert and the American Southwest -- so much so that he often camped in his car in the rural, open areas. It was here that he began to develop his ideas of the importance of place and bring philosophy and psychology into his thoughts on geography. In 1957, Tuan completed his PhD with his dissertation entitled, "The Origin of Pediments in Southeastern Arizona." Yi-Fu Tuan's Career After completing his PhD at Berkeley, Tuan accepted a position teaching geography at Indiana University. He then moved on to the University of New Mexico, where he frequently spent time conducting research in the desert and further developed his ideas on place. In 1964, Landscape magazine published his first major article called, "Mountains, Ruins, and the Sentiment of Melancholy," in which he examined how people view physical landscape features in culture. In 1966, Tuan left the University of New Mexico to begin teaching at the University of Toronto where he remained until 1968. In that same year, he published another article; “The Hydrologic Cycle and the Wisdom of God,” that looked at religion and used the hydrologic cycle as evidence for religious ideas. After two years at the University of Toronto, Tuan then moved to the University of Minnesota where he produced his most influential works on organized human geography. There, he wondered about the positive and negative aspects of human existence and why and how they existed around him. In 1974, Tuan produced his most influential work called Topophilia which looked at the love of place and people’s perceptions, attitudes, and values surrounding their environments. In 1977, he further solidified his definitions of place and space with his article, “Space and Place: The Perspective of Experience.” That piece, combined with Topophilia then had a significant impact on Tuan’s writing. While writing Topophilia, he learned the people perceive place not only because of the physical environment but also because of fear. In 1979, this became the idea of his book, Landscapes of Fear. Following four more years teaching at the University of Minnesota, Tuan cited a mid-life crisis and moved to the University of Wisconsin. While there, he produced several more works, among them, Dominance and Affection: The Making of Pets , in 1984 that looked at man's impacts on the natural environment by focusing on how humans are able to change it by adopting pets. During the late 1980s and 1990s, Tuan continued lecturing at the University of Wisconsin and wrote several more articles, further expanding his ideas in human geography. On December 12, 1997, he gave his last lecture at the university and officially retired in 1998.Even in retirement, Tuan has remained a prominent figure in geography by pioneering human geography, a step that gave the field a more interdisciplinary feel as it is no longer simply concerned with physical geography and/or spatial science.
  • Thrift has been described as one of the world's leading human geographers and social scientists, and is credited with coining the phrase soft capitalism as well as originating 'Non-representational theory'. He has been awarded several prizes and commendations recognising his research including the Scottish Geographical Medal in 2009, and he was elected Fellow of the British Academy in 2003. Thrift sits on a number of advisory committees for the UK Government, and was a member of the ESRCC Research Priorities Board. In 1982 Thrift co-founded the journal Environment and Planning D: Society and Space whilst serving as managing editor, since 1979, of Environment and Planning A. His work on time, language, power, representations and the body have been influential and it has been suggested that Thrift's career reflects and in some cases spurred the substantial intellectual changes in Human Geography in the 1980s and '90s. Thrift can most readily be associated with poststructuralism through his attention to subjectivity, representation, identity and practice. Most recently he has written on what he terms 'non-representational theory', which stresses performative and embodied knowledge's and is a radical attempt to wrench the social sciences and humanities out of an emphasis on representation and interpretation by moving away from contemplative models of thought and action to those based on practice. Thrift has claimed that non-representational theory addresses the 'unprocessual' nature of much of social and cultural theory. Major themes within non-representational theory include subjectification; space as a verb; technologies of being; embodiment; and play & excess. Non-representational theory has provoked substantial debate within the field of Human Geography around the limits of the mediation of our world through language and how we might see, sense and communicate beyond it. Non-representational theory is a theory developed in human geography, largely through the work of Nigel Thrift ( Warwick University ) and his colleagues such as J.D. Dewsbury (University of Bristol). It challenges those using social theory and conducting geographical research to go beyond representation. Thus, Dewsbury describes practices of 'witnessing' that produce 'knowledge without contemplation'. Instead of studying and representing social relationships, non-representational theory focuses upon practices - how human and nonhuman formations are enacted or performed - not simply on what is produced. This is a post-structuralist theory drawing in part from the works of Michel Foucault, Maurice Merleau-Pontyy and phenomenonologists such as Martin Heidegger, but also weaving in the perspectives of Gilles Deleuzee and Félix Guattari Bruno Latourr and Michel Serress, and more recently from political science (including ideas developed in radical democracy) and anthropological discussions of the material dimensions of human life. Non-representational theory's focus upon hybrid formations parallels the conception of 'hybrid geographies' developed by Sarah Whatmore. [7] Others have suggested that Thrift's use of the term 'non-representational theory' is problematic, and that other non-representational theories could be developed. Richard G Smith suggests that Baudrillardd's work could be considered a 'non-representational theory', for example [6] which has fostered some debate. In 2005, Hayden Lorimer (Glasgow University) suggested the term 'more-than-representational' as preferable. Professor Nigel Thrift is the Vice-Chancellor of the University of Warwick. Prior to this he was the Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Research at the University of Oxford. Professor Thrift was made Head of the Division of Life and Environmental Sciences at Oxford in 2003, before which he chaired the Research Committee at The University of Bristol (2001 – 2003) and Bristol’s Research Assessment Panel (1997-2001). Professor Thrift was born in Bath, educated at Aberystwyth and Bristol and is one of the world’s leading human geographers and social scientists. During his academic career Professor Thrift has been the recipient of a number of distinguished academic awards including the Scottish Geographical Society Gold Medal in 2008, the Royal Geographical Society Victoria Medal for contributions to geographic research in 2003 and Distinguished Scholarship Honors from the Association of American Geographers in 2007. His current research spans a broad range of interests, including international finance; cities and political life; non-representational theory; affective politics; and the history of time Current research interests span a number of subjects. Continuing my interest in finance, working especially on the use of space and time by financial markets. Other longstanding interest – in the history of time – is also continuing. International Finance Currently, this involves work on the consolidation of income streams in order to produce new borrowing opportunities. Cities and political life With Ash Amin, I am writing a new book on how urban policies might be reinvented in order to produce new kinds of hybrid, which are more active and more democratic. Non-representational theory Non-representational theory is intended to produce practical political supplements that will enliven events. In particular, I am concentrating on the inter section with performance. Affective politics Here I have become interested in the new affective technologies doing the rounds in western democracies, and what they might portend. The history of time and the construction of events Specifically, I am interested in three areas: clocks and clock time, the address, and how new forms of movement space have come about.
  • Cindi Katz (born 1954, New York City), a geographer, is a Professor in Environmental Psychology, Earth and Environmental Sciences, and Women's Studies at the CUNY Graduate Center. Her work concerns social reproduction and the production of space, place and nature; children and the environment; the consequences of global economic restructuring for everyday life; and the intertwined spatialities of homeland and home-based security. She is a member of the Children's Environmental Research Group at the Center for Human Environments, and on the Advisory Boards of the Center for Place, Culture and Politics and the Women's Studies Certificate Program, both of which reside at the CUNY Graduate Center. Katz received her B.A., M.A., and Ph.D. from Clark University. She has published widely on social reproduction and everyday as well as on social theory and the politics of knowledge in edited collections and in journals such as Environment and Planning D: Society and Space , Social Textt , Signs , Feminist Studies , Annals of the Association of American Geographers , Social Justice , Gender, Place, and Culture , Cultural Geographies , Antipode (Journal) , and "Public Culture." Katz was co-general editor of WSQ: Women's Studies Quarterly with Nancy K. Miller, Distinguished Professor of English, from 2004 to 2008. Katz and Miller were awarded the Council of Editors of Learned Journals (CELJ) 2007 Phoenix Award for Significant Editorial Achievement. This award is given to the most improved journal that has launched an overall effort of revitalization or transformation within the previous three years. Katz is the editor (with Janice Monk) of Full Circles: Geographies of Gender over the Life Course (Routledge 1993) and of Life's Work: Geographies of Social Reproduction . Her 2004 book, Growing up Global: Economic Restructuring and Children's Everyday Lives (University of Minnesota Press), received the 2004 Meridian Book Award for the Outstanding Scholarly Work in Geography from the Association of American Geographers. In 2003-04 Katz was a fellow at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study at Harvard University, where she began her current project on U.S. childhood as spectacle. In this remarkable and ambitious study, geographer Cindi Katz documents and theorizes connections between global capitalism and children’s lives in Sudan and New York City. The work is anchored in political economy but draws on an impressive breath of scholarship from many disciplines including anthropology, sociology, psychology, and geography to produce what the author describes as a critical ethnography of global economic restructuring. Central to the book are rich descriptions of children’s lives in a Sudanese community the author names “Howa”. Katz conducted fieldwork in Howa in 1980/81 and followed this with shorter visits in 1983, 1984 and 1995. The most visible motor of “development” in this community was the Suki tAgricultural Project established in 1971. This irrigation project was aimed at replacing a primarily subsistence-based economy with the cultivation of cotton and groundnuts for a world market. Katz details the uneven trajectory of the Suki project and the increased commodification of daily life in Howa. A key finding is that the deeper integration into global capitalism facilitated by the Suki Project resulted in increased economic vulnerability for Howa households confronted with what Katz terms “disintegrative development”. The focus of the study is the ways in which children, in particular, were often negatively affected by “development” in Howa. Through direct observation and careful historical reconstruction of the lives of seventeen children born in the same year that the Suki project was established, Katz argues that economic restructuring was linked to an intensification, diversification, and spatial expansion of children’s labour. Her discussion is supported by numerous memorable and vivid descriptions of children’s activities. The rhythms of “herdboy culture”, children’s agricultural work, and their experiences of the gathering of wood and wild foods are all conveyed in a compelling way that reveals her considerable access to children’s worlds. One of the important finding from this material is the degree to which children’s work was often “playful” and their play often “workful”. Katz’s overall argument is that “‘development’ often takes place on the backs of children”(p. 84). In the case of Howa, she documents how increased economic precariousness led to an increased reliance on children’s productive and reproductive labour. She reveals how environmental degradation resulted in children having to travel further and further in the course of their wood gathering or herding activities. Paradoxically the increased workloads of children impeded school attendance even while participation in formal education was beginning to be recognized by Howa residents as an important investment in children’s futures. Even as she documents the “present” of children’s lives, Katz locates her subjects within wider processes of change. The Howa children born in 1971 saw an intensification of their “traditional” productive and reproductive labour and as a result were limited in their ability to develop the new skills necessary for the very different adulthoods that they faced as a result of the economic changes in their community. When Katz returned in 1995 she reconnected with fifteen of the seventeen children that she had originally worked with in 1980. Reconstructing their paths into young adulthood allowed Katz to reflect further on complexities of development for this “liminal” generation. While critical of many of the changes in Howa, Katz’s analysis nonetheless includes acknowledgement that some aspects of “modernization” had positive effects for children — e.g. the installation of piped water resulted in an immediate saving of time and labour for children involved in the provision of water for their households. Katz also pays careful attention to the significance of the intersectionalities of gender, class, and birth order for children’s lives. Attention to these variables produces nuanced and sometimes surprising findings — e.g. that children from poorer households were involved in a wider set of activities, while those from wealthier households worked longer hours. Links between children’s positioning within their respective households and different patterns of school attendance are also carefully delineated. The Howa study captures how economic changes had an impact on children as well as how children engaged in creative and potentially transformative ways with the economic conditions they faced. In viewing Howa children as agents of their own lives, Katz places her study firmly within a newer interdisciplinary childhood studies that rejects older paradigms of children as simply “adults-inbecoming” and/or passive recipients of socialization. While the book focuses primarily on the research conducted in Howa, one chapter addresses the impact of economic re-structuring on the lives of poor and working class children in New York City. Katz includes the case study of New York in order to demonstrate how Howa and New York are part of the same interconnected global economy. Of interest to her is how the globalizing capitalism produced both the Suki Project in Howa and a simultaneous erosion of manufacturing in New York City. The erosion of manufacturing, she goes on to argue, has had a negative impact on poor and working class (and especially racialized) children in the city. In her discussion of New York city, Katz draws to a limited degree on her involvement (along with her students and other colleagues) in a school yard improvement effort in East Harlem in the early 1990s. The chapter is however more focused on tracking the disinvestment in public childhood spaces (especially schools and parks) of New York since the 1970s. Katz links this disinvestment to the declining economic “value” of poor and working class children to global capital and to a political abandonment of these children by a middle class increasingly purchasing services for their own children in the market and, as a result, not lobbying for quality public facilities for all children. The discussion of children in Howa and poor and working class children in New York City focuses on the connections between their fates as victims of “deskilling” with the goal of facilitating a more broadly based politics aimed at challenging the negative effects of globalized economic restructuring.
  • As with terms like ‘society’ and ‘nature’, space is not a common sense external background to human action. Rather, it is the outcome of a series of highly problematic temporary settlements that divide and connect things up in to different kinds of collectives which are slowly provided with the means which render them durable and sustainable. Space is often regarded as the fundamental stuff of geography. Geographers are poor at defining space. The oxford dictionary defines space in two ways: A continuous extension viewed with or without reference to the existence of objects within it and The interval between points or objects viewed as having one, two or three dimensions. The geographers prime interest is in the objects within the space and their relative positions, which involves the descriptions, explanation and prediction of the distribution of phenomena. The relationships between objects in space is at the core of geography. One thing that does seem to be widely agreed is that place is involved with embodiment. It is difficult to think of places outside of the body. Think, for example, of a country walk and place consists not just of eye surveying prospect but also the push and pull of walking up the hill and down dale, the sound of birds and the wind in the trees, the touch of a wall, or branch, the smell of trampled grass. OR think of a walk in the city and place consists not just of eye making contact with other people or advertising signs or buildings but also the sound of traffic noise and conversation, the touch of ticket machine and hand rail, the smell of exhaust fumes or cooked food. Once we start to think of place in this kind of way, we also start ot take notice of all kinds of things which previously were hidden form us. So for example there is now a thriving study of how sound and especially music conjures up place associations. And other sense too such as touch and smell are beginning to recieve their dues.
  • The term place, as geographer Tim Cresswell (1999) has observed ‘eludes easy definition’ . The concise oxford dictionary indentifies 20 meanings of the term and this semantic elusiveness is compounded by the fact that human geographers have used it in a variety of ways throughout the disciplines history. John Agnew (1987) writing many years ago, cut through this complexity to identify three principal meanings of the term in geographical discourse. These meanings remain in force today: Place as a location: a specific point on the earth surface A sense of place: the subjective feelings people have about places, including the role of place in their individual and group identity. Place as locale – a setting and scale for peoples daily actions and interactions Contemporary geographers argue that there is increasing interconnections between places while still instilling that places are not somehow becoming more alike. Places in the contemporary world are clearly no longer separate. For instance, the bank where I deposit my money is but one in a local fragment of the global financial system while the apple I had for breakfast implicated me in a production network stretching back to an orchard in New Zealand. More over with interconnection also comes interdependence. For instance, barely a day passes without newspaper reports of job losses and job creation in places as diverse as Chicago, Culcutta or Cairo. Often, though not always, these changes local employment situations can be explained with reference to interplace competition for investment and markets. For example, if Calcuttan workers can make auto-parts more cheaply than labourer in Chicago, a firm like ford might favour an Indian auto parts supplier for its vehicles. In short, what happens then and there can have sharp consequences in the here and now. But if places are no longer separate, the more difficult argument to understand is that they somehow remain unique. No two places are quite the same, even in this era of globalisation – or so lots of geographers argued. Massey argues that geographers need to advocate the ‘progressive sense of place’ to people in the world at large. What she means is that geographers have a moral obligation to show people that their place-based actions and understandings make no sense without acknowledging all those things impinging on place from the outside. What’s ‘progressive’ about this, for Massey, is that it encourages an opens to the wider world, not a defensive putting up of barriers. WE must she says live with the incontrovertible fact that the global is in the local and vice versa. This is more than a merely academic observation. In a world of place difference, stressing what connects paces has real practical and political relevance. It can make all the difference between a world of inward looking rivalries and a cosmopolitan world where place differences are respected and places connections celebrated. As the world has changed, so too have human geographers conceptions of place. Human geographers have tried to rethink place in way that respects place differences while acknowledging heightened place interconnections and interdependencies. That is, places conceived as being unique rather than singular. We can rethink the definitions of place in order to show how local and non-local events and relations intertwine. The importance of a place concept that stresses how ‘outside’ processes impact on the ‘inside’ of places is that it challenges the idea that places and peoples in them can ever thrive by defensively putting up barriers against non-local forces.
  • Within human geography, scale is typically seen in one of two ways: either as a real material thing which actually exists is the result of political struggles and/or social processes, or as a way of framing our understanding of the world. Many commentators have argued that contemporary economic, political, cultural and social processes, such as that of globalization, are rescaling peoples everyday lives across the planet in complex and contradictory ways. Thus we have seen the creation of supranational political bodies such as the European union at the same time that we have witnessed the devolution of some political powers from member states to regional bodies. Equally, we appear to be witnessing an increased homogenization and ‘Americanization; of global culture while, simultaneously, we are seeing the growth of localist tendencies in many parts of the world among those who have sought to defend traditional ways of life. Such examples of an apparent simultaneous globalization and localization of everyday life, together with myriad others like them have raised important conceptual questions about the rescaling of peoples lives and particularly about the relationship between what are often taken as the two extremes of out scaled lives, namely the global and the local. For instance, what does it really mean when we say that what started as a local family business has now grown to become a ‘global’ TNC? What exactly is the relationship between ‘global’ climate change and ‘local’ weather patterns. How is a global language such as English localized in different parts of the world so that British English, American English, Australian English, Indian English appear as quite distinct. There has been a debate in geography about whether scale is a real thing made through political and economic processes or is merely a mental device for imposing order on the world. This debate has considered scale din both topographical and topological terms – that is, scales are areal units and as parts of networks. More recently some have even called for the abandonment of the concept of scale entirely. There are at least six different ways in which geographers have thought about the relationship between the global and the local: The global and the local are not actually things but ways of framing situations The global and the local each derive meaning from what they are not The global and the local simply offer different points of view on social networks The global is local, scratch anything global and you find locality. For instance, multinational firms are actually multilocal rather than global. The local is global: the local is only where global processes ‘touch down’ on the Earths surface All spaces are hybrids of the global and the local: they are glocal Typically in Western though, the global has been thought of as more powerful and active than the local; the local is seen as small and relatively powerless. However, the local can serve as a powerful scale of political organization; the global is not a scale just controlled by capital, but those who challenge capital can also organize globally.
  • Although in its simplistic sense globalisation refers to the widening, deepening and speeding up of global interconnectedness, such a definition begs further elaboration. Globalization can be located on a continuum with the local, national and regional. At one end of the continuum lie social and economic relations and networks which are organized on a local and/or national basis; at the other end lie social and economic relations and networks which crystallize on the wider scale or regional and global interactions. Globalization can be taken to refer to those spatial-temporal processes of change which underpin a transformation in the organization of human affairs by linking together and expanding human activity across regions and continents. Without reference to such expansive spatial connections, there can be no clear or coherent formulation of this term...A satisfactory definition of globalization must capture each of these elements’ extensity (Stretching), intensity, velocity, and impact. Globalization, its meaning and conceptual value, has long been contested within human geography. As probably the most fashionable concept of the 1990s and now the new millennium, the rhetoric surrounding academic and media uses of the term globalization make it easy to lose sight of its multifarious meanings. As Dicken argues, globalization is inherently geographical. Understanding globalization as a process requires us to consider the way space, place and time are configured an reconfigured as result of contemporary changes in technological, economic and political practices. For Taylor this is why geography and globalization are so intimately related: all processes o globalization have geographical dimensions. The geography in globalization. As Swyngedouw (1997) argues globalization is actually a local-global or ‘glocalization’ process. Instead of focusing solely upon the global as a scale, we also need to recognize the interconnections between different scales (local, regional, national and global’ and how these make up processes of globalization. The geography of globalization. Processes of globalization create new geographical patterns of flows and activity. For example, the New International Division of Labour reconfigures both the geography of manufacturing activities, but also, as a side effect, geographies of uneven development, poverty and wealth. Geography for and against globalization. Needless to say the concept of globalization has caused great debate within human geography and many other social sciences. But why do geographers have so much to say about globalization, good, bad or indifferent. Dicken argues that for geographers studying globalization, the basic aim is to analyse the processes of shaping and reshaping the global map. Globalization, then as a process is an ongoing syndrome. As held reminds us we should not accept this as an inevitable and logical process with a clear and identifiable outcome. Instead, globalization is contested whether with a clear and identifiable outcome. Instead, globalization is contested whether it be because of the positive or negative impacts on a country and its people or because of continued barriers to a world of global flows, whether these are national border, regulations, technological haps (such as internet coverage in Africa) or socio0cultural complexity (such as failure for a global consumer culture to emerge). The challenge for geographers is to understand how and why this all plays out over time and space to provide examples of the effects on people in their everyday lives.
  • Development in used in everyday speech to refer to change. This change is usually viewed in positive terms. However, within geography, development usually has more specific meaning, referring to either national-level processes of economic, political or social change resulting from intentional actions to improve the living conditions of poor or marginal populations. As well as being a process, development can also be defined as a state of being, usually applied to a country or region and implying high levels of urbanization, complex economic activity and standards of living. Such definitions are, however, not neutral, as they reflect particular ideologies which vary across time and space. Geographers have been involved in both reinforcing particular concepts of development and revealing the ways in which they are based on operation of power. Development is not a neutral concept. Its definition and use varies over time and space. Development can be used to describe both general societal changes particularly under capitalism, but has also been used more specifically in relation to policy interventions in the global south. Definitions used different scales of analysis, in particular the local and the national. At each scale the importance of particular actors within development is stressed. These scales are not mutually exclusive.
  • A Guide to Human Geography

    1. 2. <ul><li>A history of geography </li></ul><ul><li>Key areas of human geography </li></ul><ul><li>Influential human geographers </li></ul><ul><li>Key concepts in human geography </li></ul>
    2. 3. <ul><li>18 th and 19 th Centuries where geography became recognised as an academic discipline </li></ul><ul><li>1854 Broad Street </li></ul><ul><li>cholera outbreak </li></ul>
    3. 4. <ul><li>1950s Quantitative revolution </li></ul><ul><li>1970s emergence of Critical geography </li></ul><ul><li>1970s and 1980s Radical Geography </li></ul><ul><li>Approaches have led to a wide range of theoretical approaches to geography and variety of different areas of research. </li></ul>
    4. 6. <ul><li>The study of cultural products and norms and their variation across and relations relation to spaces and places. </li></ul><ul><li>Focus on how humans function spatially </li></ul><ul><li>Can include further sub categories: </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Language geography, animals geography, childrens geographies, geography of religions and more... </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><li>Examples: </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Geographies of megachurches in the United States </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Places post-grafitti: the Journey of the Peckham Rock </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Locating Haunting: a ghost hunters guide </li></ul></ul></ul>
    5. 7. <ul><li>The study of the earths’ geography with reference to the standard of living and quality of life of its human inhabitants. </li></ul><ul><li>Examples: </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Understanding the evolution of rice technology of Rice Technology in China 0 – From traditional agriculture to GM rice today  </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Assessing the Economic Vulnerability of Small Island Developing States and the Least Developed Countries </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Foreign Assistance and the struggle against HIV/AIDS in the Developing World </li></ul></ul></ul>
    6. 8. <ul><li>The study of the location, distribution and spatial organisation of economic activities across the world. </li></ul><ul><li>Examples: </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Do developing countries need ‘good’ institutions and policies and financial markets to benefit from capitalist account liberalization </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Global Production Networks: realizing the potential </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Barriers to ‘US style’ lean retailing the case of Wal-marts failure in Germany </li></ul></ul></ul>
    7. 9. <ul><li>The application of geographical information, perspectives and methods to the study of health, disease and health care. </li></ul><ul><li>Examples: </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Enabling methods for community health mapping in developing countries  </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Spatial patterns of natural hazards mortality in the United States </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Vulnerability of populations and the urban health care systems to nuclear weapon attack – examples from four American cities </li></ul></ul></ul>
    8. 10. <ul><li>The study of the ways in which spatial variations in the distribution, composition, migration, and growth of populations are related to the nature of places. </li></ul><ul><li>Examples: </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Where have all the children gone? Womens reports of more childlessness at older ages than when they were younger in a large-scale continuous household survey in Britain </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Settlement Size and fertility in the Nordic countries </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Late marriage and the HIV epidemic in the sub-Saharan Africa </li></ul></ul></ul>
    9. 11. <ul><li>The study of the natural, artificial and physical features that may affect the planning and conduct of military operations, understanding the political through a militaristic lens. </li></ul><ul><li>Examples: </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Military Geography: the influence of terrain in the outcome of the Gallipoli Campaign 1915 </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Assessing the socio-economic impacts of military installations on their host communities </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>The terrible geographicalness of terrorism: reflections of a hazards geographer </li></ul></ul></ul>
    10. 12. <ul><li>The study of the history or urban settlement, the development of cities, urban structure, spatial patterns that occur within the city, as well as urban problems and policies. </li></ul><ul><li>Examples: </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>The globalization of urban housing markets: immigration and changing housing demand in Vancouver </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Scent and the City: Perfume, Consumption and the urban economy </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Geography of Protest: Places of Demonstration in Buenos Aires and Seoul </li></ul></ul></ul>
    11. 13. <ul><li>The study of the spatially uneven outcomes of political processes and the ways in which political processes are themselves affected by spatial structures </li></ul><ul><li>Examples: </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>The question of ‘the political’ in critical geopolitics: Querying the ‘child soldier’ in the ‘war on terror’ </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Everyday political practices, democracy and the environment in a native villge in Mexico City </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Geographies of state failure and sophistication in maritime piracy hijackings </li></ul></ul></ul>
    12. 14. <ul><li>Study of places and spaces of childrens lives, characterised experimentally, politically and ethically. </li></ul><ul><li>Examples: </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Embodied learning: responding to AIDS in Lesothos’ education sector </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Youth, gangs and violence: Analysing the social and spatial mobility of young people in Guatemala city </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Negotiating spatial identities: mobile perspectives on street life in Uganda </li></ul></ul></ul>
    13. 15. <ul><li>The study of how society affects geographical features, and how environmental factors affect society. </li></ul><ul><li>Examples: </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Zombie Geographies and the undead cities </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Playing with fear: parkour and the mobility of emotion </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Changing spaces: the role of the internet in shaping Deaf Geographies </li></ul></ul></ul>
    14. 16. <ul><li>The study of a place of region at a specific time or period in the past, or the study of geographic change in a place or region over a period of time. </li></ul><ul><li>Examples: </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Geographies of exploration and improvement: William Scoresby and Arctic Whaling 1782-1822 </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>‘ Fighting from teh fields’: developing the British ‘national farm’ in the Second World War </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>territories: arenas of geographical knowledge in early colonial Peru </li></ul></ul></ul>
    15. 17. Human Geography Physical Geography Mixed Human and Physical Geography Other Cultural Geography Political Geography Biogeography Agricultural Geography Applied Geography Economic Geography <ul><ul><li>Electoral geography </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Vegetation studies </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Agricultural policy </li></ul></ul>Education and geography <ul><ul><li>Employment </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Geopolitics </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Zoogeography </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Agricultural systems </li></ul></ul>Geographical Information Systems (GIS) <ul><ul><li>Location Theory </li></ul></ul>Population Geography Climatology Development Studies <ul><ul><li>Cartography </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Manufacturing </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Demography </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Applied </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Agrrian </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Image Analysis </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Marketing </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Population change </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Climatic change </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Urban planning </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Photogrammetry </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Retailing </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Population migration </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Microclimatology </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Policy studies </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Remote Sensing </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Services </li></ul></ul>Recreational geography Ecology Regional Geographies Geographical Thought Gender studies <ul><ul><li>Tourism </li></ul></ul>Geomorphology Environment studies <ul><ul><li>History </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Rural Geography </li></ul></ul>Historical Geography <ul><ul><li>Applied </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Conservation </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Methodology </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Rural Economy </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Countryside </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Arid </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Environmental Change </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Philosophy </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Rural population change </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Industry </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Coastal </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Mineral Resources </li></ul></ul>Quantitative methods Industrial Geography <ul><ul><li>Population </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Fluvial </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Environmental impact assessment </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Mathematical techniques </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Regional development </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Towns </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Glacial </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Environmental management </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Statistical Techniques </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Technological change </li></ul></ul>Social Geography <ul><ul><li>Weathering </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Environmental perception </li></ul></ul>Theoretical geography Medical Geography <ul><ul><li>Ethnicity </li></ul></ul>Hydrology <ul><ul><li>Environmental quality </li></ul></ul>Urban Geography <ul><ul><li>Social theory </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Applied </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Environmental systems </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Urban economy </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Socio-economic status </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Water quality </li></ul></ul>Hazards <ul><ul><li>Urban housing </li></ul></ul>Transport Geography Meteorology Planning <ul><ul><li>Urban theory, models </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Rural-urban </li></ul></ul>Quaternary Environments <ul><ul><li>Environmental </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Urban population </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Archaeology </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Regional </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Urban renewal </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Landform Evolution </li></ul></ul>Resource Geography <ul><ul><li>Urban politics </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Palaeoecology </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Energy </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Sediments </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Mineral Resources </li></ul></ul>Soils <ul><ul><li>Water Resources </li></ul></ul>
    16. 18. <ul><li>David Harvey (1935-present) </li></ul><ul><li>Worlds most cited academic geographer </li></ul><ul><li>Attributed with the modern development of modern geography as a discipline. </li></ul><ul><li>Video </li></ul>
    17. 19. <ul><li>Doreen Massey (1944-Present) </li></ul><ul><li>Concept of space </li></ul><ul><li>‘ Spatial divisions of labour’ </li></ul><ul><li>Places : </li></ul><ul><ul><li>are not enclosures with a clear inside and outside </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Do not have single identities but multiple </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Are not frozen in time, they are processes </li></ul></ul>
    18. 20. <ul><li>Yi-Fu Tuan (1930 – present) </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Space and place: Place is defined as a particular part of space that can be occupied, unoccupied, real, or perceived Space is defined as that which is occupied by an object's volume </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Humanist geography: how humans interact with space and their physical and social environments </li></ul></ul>
    19. 21. <ul><li>Nigel Thrift (1949-Present) </li></ul><ul><ul><li>‘ Non-representational theory’ </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Use of space and time by financial markets </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>The history of time and construction of events </li></ul></ul>
    20. 22. <ul><li>Cindi Katz (1954 – present) </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Social reproduction and the production of space, place and nature </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Growing Up Global: Economic Restructuring and Children’s Everyday Lives. </li></ul></ul>
    21. 23. <ul><li>Space </li></ul><ul><ul><li>The fundamental ‘stuff’ of geography </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Geographers are poor at defining space </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>The geographers prime interest is in the objects within the space and their relative positions, which involves the descriptions, explanation and prediction of the distribution of phenomena. The relationships between objects in space is at the core of geography. </li></ul></ul>
    22. 24. <ul><li>Place – eludes easy definition (Cresswell, 1999) </li></ul><ul><ul><li>1) Place as a location: a specific point on the earths surface </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>2) A sense of place </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>3) Place of locale </li></ul></ul><ul><li>We can rethink definitions of place in order to show how local and non-local events and relations intertwine. </li></ul>
    23. 25. <ul><li>Scale </li></ul><ul><li>A real material thing which actually exists and is the result of political struggle and/or social processes, or as a way of understanding the world. </li></ul>GLOBAL LOCAL REGIONAL NATIONAL
    24. 26. <ul><li>Scale, continued... </li></ul><ul><li>Six ways geographers have thought about the relationship between the local and the global: </li></ul><ul><li>The global and the local are not actually things but ways of framing situations </li></ul><ul><li>The global and the local each derive meaning from what they are not </li></ul><ul><li>The global and the local simply offer different points of view on social networks </li></ul><ul><li>The global is local, scratch anything global and you find locality. For instance, multinational firms are actually multilocal rather than global. </li></ul><ul><li>The local is global: the local is only where global processes ‘touch down’ on the Earths surface </li></ul><ul><li>All spaces are hybrids of the global and the local: they are glocal </li></ul><ul><li>What do you think? </li></ul>
    25. 27. <ul><li>Globalisation: the widening, deepening and speeding up of global interconnectedness </li></ul><ul><li>Globalization, its meaning and conceptual value, has long been contested in human geography. </li></ul><ul><li>Globabalization is inherently geographical. </li></ul><ul><li>Globalization is an ongoing process. </li></ul><ul><li>Always contest and think critically about globalization! </li></ul>
    26. 28. <ul><ul><li>Development </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Like many concepts in geography is hard to define. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Development is not a neutral concept. Its defintions varies over time and space. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Society Change/Policy Intervention </li></ul></ul>
    27. 29. <ul><li>Physical and human geography working together interdisciplinary research projects in order to develop a more complete understanding of the world </li></ul>