Pilosophical and theoretical approaches to Geography

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Marxist geography. Marxist geography is a strand of critical geography that uses the theories and philosophy of Marxism to examine the spatial relations of human geography.

Marxist geography

In Marxist geography, the relations that geography has traditionally analyzed—natural environment and spatial relations—are reviewed as outcomes of the mode of material production. To understand geographical relations, on this view, the social structure must also be examined. Marxist geography attempts to change the basic structure of society.[1] Non-representational theory. Non-representational theory is a theory developed in human geography, largely through the work of Nigel Thrift (Warwick University),[1][2] and his colleagues such as J.D.

Non-representational theory

Dewsbury (University of Bristol) and Derek McCormack (University of Oxford); and indeed, later, by their respective graduate students who have pushed non-representational thinking in various empirical registers. It challenges those using social theory and conducting geographical research to go beyond representation.[3] Thus, Dewsbury describes practices of "witnessing" that produce "knowledge without contemplation".[4] Jump up ^ Thrift, N. 2000. “Non-representational theory” in RJ Johnston, D Gregory, G Pratt and M Watts (eds) The Dictionary of Human Geography (Blackwell, Oxford)Jump up ^ Thrift, N. 2007. Postcolonialism. Colonialism background[edit] In La Réforme intellectuelle et morale (1871), the Orientalist Joseph-Ernest Renan, advocated imperial stewardship for civilising the non–Western peoples of the world.


Colonialism was presented as “the extension of Civilization”, which ideologically justified the self-ascribed superiority (racial and cultural) of the European Western World over the non-Western world, which Joseph-Ernest Renan espoused in La Réforme intellectuel et morale (1871), whereby imperial stewardship would effect the intellectual and moral reformation of the coloured peoples of the lesser cultures of the world. That such a divinely established, natural harmony among the human races of the world would be possible, because everyone — colonizer and colonized — has an assigned cultural identity, a social place, and an economic role within an imperial colony; thus:

Post-structuralism. Post-structuralism is a label formulated by American academics to denote the heterogeneous works of a series of mid-20th-century French and continental philosophers and critical theorists who came to international prominence in the 1960s and '70s.[1][2][3] A major theme of poststructuralism is instability in the human sciences, due to the complexity of humans themselves and the impossibility of fully escaping structures in order to study them.


Post-structuralism is a response to structuralism. Structuralism is an intellectual movement developed in Europe from the early to mid-20th century. Spatial analysis. Spatial analysis or spatial statistics includes any of the formal techniques which study entities using their topological, geometric, or geographic properties.

Spatial analysis

Spatial analysis includes a variety of techniques, many still in their early development, using different analytic approaches and applied in fields as diverse as astronomy, with its studies of the placement of galaxies in the cosmos, to chip fabrication engineering, with its use of 'place and route' algorithms to build complex wiring structures. In a more restricted sense, spatial analysis is the techniques applied to structures at the human scale, most notably in the analysis of geographic data. Complex issues arise in spatial analysis, many of which are neither clearly defined nor completely resolved, but form the basis for current research. The most fundamental of these is the problem of defining the spatial location of the entities being studied. Psychogeography. EvoL PsychogeogrAphix 2003 evoL PsychogeogrAphix 2004 evoL PsychogeogrAphix 2005 Psychogeography is an approach to geography that emphasizes playfulness and "drifting" around urban environments.


Geography of food. The geography of food is a field of human geography.

Geography of food

It focuses on patterns of food production and consumption on the local to global scale. Tracing these complex patterns helps geographers understand the unequal relationships between developed and developing countries in relation to the innovation, production, transportation, retail and consumption of food. It is also a topic that is becoming increasingly charged in the public eye.

The movement to reconnect the 'space' and 'place' in the food system is growing, spearheaded by the research of geographers. Positivism. Positivism is a philosophy of science based on the view that information derived from logical and mathematical treatments and reports of sensory experience is the exclusive source of all authoritative knowledge,[1] and that there is valid knowledge (truth) only in scientific knowledge.[2] Verified data received from the senses are known as empirical evidence.[1] This view holds that society, like the physical world, operates according to general laws.


Introspective and intuitive knowledge is rejected. Although the positivist approach has been a recurrent theme in the history of Western thought,[3] the modern sense of the approach was developed by the philosopher and founding sociologist Auguste Comte in the early 19th century.[4] Comte argued that, much as the physical world operates according to gravity and other absolute laws, so also does society.[5] Etymology[edit] Critical geography. Critical geography takes a critical theory (Frankfurt School) approach to the study and analysis of geography.

Critical geography

The development of critical geography can be seen as one of the four major turning points in the history of geography (the other three being environmental determinism, regional geography and quantitative revolution). Though post-positivist approaches remain important in geography the critical geography arose as a critique of positivism introduced by quantitative revolution. Feminist geography. Feminist geography is an approach in human geography which applies the theories, methods and critiques of feminism to the study of the human environment, society and geographical space.[1] Areas of study[edit] The geography of women[edit] The geography of women focuses upon description of the effects of gender inequality.

Feminist geography

In terms of theoretical influences, it focuses on welfare geography and liberal feminism. Geographically, feminist geographers emphasize on constraints of distance and spatial separation. Behavioral geography. Behavioral geography is an approach to human geography that examines human behavior using a disaggregate approach. Behavioral geographers focus on the cognitive processes underlying spatial reasoning, decision making, and behavior. In addition, behavioral geography is an ideology/approach in human geography that makes use of the methods and assumptions of behaviorism to determine the cognitive processes involved in an individual's perception of, and/or response and reaction to their environment.