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- PublicationIntegration in geography: Hydra or Chimera?(Waterloo: University of Waterloo Department of Geography, 1986)Integration: how many and diverse are the connotations of this word! Emotional responses can range from fascination to panic. For about a century now, geography texts have held up “integration” as a Holy Grail, a nec plus ultra many today believe that if the discipline is to survive in the future it must reintegrate its many branches, project an integrated self-image and bolster its claims to an integrated image of the world. Well, how has such rhetoric worked in the past? Have geographers fare better with integrated or dispersed world views? And regardless of intellectual preference, what has geography gained or lost through efforts to align its research and teaching with ongoing societal interests? Can integration make monsters? I’d like to introduce here two imaginary creatures, the Hydra and the Chimera, hoping that they may raise some doubts and queries about the issue of integration in geography.
- PublicationIntroduction/ Social Space and the Planning of Residential Areas(Croom Helm Publishers, 1980)The initiative to assemble the following essays in one volume came from Professor Torsten Hågerstrand at the University of Lund in the fall of 1977. Ideas and questions which I had shared there during 1976 had aroused curiosity and concern. Issues such as environmental perception, values, subjectivity, language, stress – could these be regarded as legitimate objects for geographic study? Even if one could appreciate the humanistic or even logical grounds for such interests, how could one operationalize research on them? Often I referred to work being done by colleagues and students at Clark University and elsewhere in North America, and indeed since then there has been more exchange of ideas between Swedish and American scholars. Those who had worked directly with me did not, I felt, constitute an identifiable group: each individual had pursued his or her own line of work in conjunction with many others. In fact, we had encouraged one another to pursue topics which seemed important in their own right and none would claim the role of pioneer or spokesman for new kinds of disciplinary orthodoxy. But that is what is attractive, Professor Hågerstrand insisted: fresh beginnings and provocative theses are far more inspiring that finished products. It is in this spirit that we have responded. We present here a selection of ‘excursions’ – benchmarks on intellectual journeys begun at the Graduate School of Geography at Clark University and now traversing fresh territory – rather than faits accomplis within a unified field of expertise.
- PublicationO espaço social numa perspectiva interdisciplinar(Livraria Nobel, 1986)Agradecemos a preciosa colaboração da professora Anne Buttimer, que obteve junto à The American Geographical Society a cessão, para este livro, de seu artigo publicado na revista Geographical Review. Os geógrafos de hoje defrontam-se com desafios dramáticos e excitantes. Mudanças revolucionárias nos padrões empíricos e sociais vieram substituir a obsolesência que campeava em muitos procedimentos analíticos tradicionais; transformações no mundo escolástico levantaram um sem-número de questões relativas à base filosófica dos procedimentos das ciências sociais. O problema fundamental é colocado pelos behavioristas e existencialistas: pode a ciência continuar a exercer uma função útil medindo e explicando a face objetiva e o mecanismo subjacente da realidade social, ou deve ela, também, penetrar e incorporar as suas dimensões subjetivas? Na convincente formulação de Edward T. Hall: o tempo fala, o espaço conversa? Como a linguagem silenciosa do tempo e do espaço conversa? Como a linguagem silenciosa do tempo e do espaço influenciam as variações culturais da humanidade? Os geógrafos se perguntam: devemos nos satisfazer em esboçar um mapa opaco e objetivo dos padrões sociais no espaço ou devemos suplementá-lo com o poto de vista subjetivo?
- PublicationRationality, Reason and Regionalization(Mouton de Gruyter, 1981-12)The term “region” has both emotional and political appeal. Emotionally it can evoke sentiments of “at homeness”, security, and cultural identity; politically it can connote empire, spatial organization and decentralized administration. In the postwar crusade of applied social science, the regional concept has enjoyed an impressive mileage. Despite all its conceptual and analytical elusiveness it remains unrivalled, with the possible exception of its twin “community”, as a powerful myth in contemporary life. To future generations the story of mid-twentieth-century regional planning should make dramatic reading. To a “Humpty Dumpty” world reeling from the shock of war and uneasy with “inefficiency” and poverty, applied science offered promise for revitalizing the social and technical order. A priesthood of experts rekindled the Wester world’s waning faith in rationality and fashioned a utopian kingdom where both socialism and liberalism could reign.
- PublicationErewhon or Nowhere Land(D. Reidel Publishing Company, 1979)I.INTRODUCTION: Throughout a century of Western social thought, mankind's perennial enquiry into the where, when, and how of life has yielded a rich legacy of speculation. From the ebullient satire of Butler's Erewhon (Butler 1872) and the idealism of utopian fiction, the angry critique of Existentialist and Marxist philosophy and the resounding protest of popular song, evidence abounds that the human spirit remains undaunted in its desire to not only grasp the course of' events but also to ameliorate and control the conditions of life. The increasing rate and complexity of change in our day renders the challenge to rationality so overwhelming that at times it becomes difficult to pause, reflect, and evaluate the latent assumptions and implications of scholarly effort. Barriers to communication between separate worlds of scholarship, too, prevent the flow of insight between different specialized perspectives, or the restoration of harmony between the YIN and the YANG of human reason.
- PublicationSpatial organization of health and welfare services(Scottish Academic Press, 1974-04)The organization and administration of health and welfare services raise issues of national economic policy and social planning; ideally, the physical planner’s role is to design a spatial framework within which these services could be provided so as to optimize efficiency for supplier and accessibility to client. Theoretically, in any given context, the nature, quality and range of services are determined by central and regional health and welfare authorities, while the location, and size of physical facilities should involve primarily the town and regional planner. Historically, of course, such a division of labour has rarely existed; the present network of health and welfare facilities in many countries has arisen from a host of local social and administrative circumstances rather than from any deliberate joint research by physical and social planners.
- Publication'Insiders', 'Outsiders', and the Geography of Regional Life(Finnpublishers, 1979)Two distinct connotations of term ‘region’ have generated two distinct and often separate fields of endeavour within geography. Traditional regional geography has focused on the description of areally-circumscribed territories, while regional science (in the Anglo-American world) has tended to be more analytical and more specifically concerned with nodally-organized functional regions. Two contrasting definitions of space and time are implicit here – the former derives from a Newtonian notion of space and time as containers of objects while the latter derives from a relational notion of space-time as topological surface. For a number of sociological and ideological reasons, however, both share a perspective on knowledge and experience which could be regarded as an ‘outsider’ one. The ‘insider’s’ perspective has not received much explicit attention, largely because of difficulties in generalization and a fear of ‘subjectivism’. Arguments are raised to support the view that the geographer’s task is the articulation of neither inside nor outsider views exclusively but rather to confront the challenge of the dialectic between the two within concrete life situations. From a philosophical viewpoint it could be argued that objectivity demands a critical sensitivity to the logic and appropriateness of models used in research. To take any descriptive model which has appeared for particular settings and then apply it indiscriminately to other settings is one example of cultural ‘subjectivism’ e.g. the kind of regional geography which became a mouthpiece for national/ colonial/ class interests. On a logical plane, also, regional-science models appropriate for particular realms, yet there have been many gaucheries of spatial blueprinting in realms as different as industrial, educational and health planning. It is at the practical level of everyday life, however, that the juxtaposition of these two types of regionalization often creates most confusion. On philosophical, logical, and practical grounds, it could be argued that no long-term solution can be reached without involving the ‘insider’, viz. those whose lives are affected by changes in regional organization and administration. Until better communication between managerial and resident interest can be attained, geography cannot claim either relevance or truth. The most urgent task for the regional geographer thus becomes one of education in the literal sense: to evoke an awareness of the values implicit in his own a priori presuppositions and then to facilitate an awareness of environment and responsibility among the audience of his work. This paper shares some insights derived from various attempts to apply this perspective in both teaching and research and also points to avenues for joint exploration by scholars attained to either ‘insider’ or ‘outsider’ stances on regional life. It concludes with a challenge, old and new, of seeking a common language which might contribute toward a harmonization of the currently diverse and fragmented strands of thought and practice within regional geography.
- PublicationSocial Geography(The Macmillan Company & The Free Press, 1968)No generally accepted definition of social geography exists. The variety of literature which has appeared under the title of social geography is astounding; even within particular schools there are wide disparities of approach and definition. With some notable exceptions, for example, in Sweden and Holland, social geography can be considered a field created and cultivated by a number of individual scholars rather than an academic tradition built up within particular schools. Furthermore, for many people the term “social geography” itself is in disfavor because its past association with various forms of determinism that postulated a causal connection between society and the geographical environment. Perhaps, therefore, the best way to examine social geography is to establish a general theoretical outline of the field and, on this basis, to review the existing literature. Naturally, many of the works relevant to what is here called social geography will have been written as contributions to some other discipline.
- PublicationRationality and Beyond: Values and the Geographer's Dream for Tomorrow(1974)“As scientists of individual and collective behavior we seek to so well understand men that we can predict their behavior, and to be so knowledgeable about every facet and level of human interaction as to foretell the consequences of changes introduced into any behavioral setting. As visionaries illumined by our private internal lights, we years for the society where self-conscious brotherhood replaces alienation, where the affirmation of life over death becomes a pervasive ethic, and where dignity replaces alienation or poverty as the stamp of the human condition.” --Kates (1969, p.47) Two countervailing themes emerge from recent futurological writing. On the one hand one hears a plea for more rationally-ordered monitoring systems to guide and police society’s future technology and life styles. On the other hand one hears the humanist’s plea for an environment conducive toward freedom and creativity for the individual in the future. At each pole, elaborate scenarios are sketched; convincing arguments are rallied on both sides; yet certain basic contrasts in their fundamental ideological and moral premises makes it difficult to evaluate and judge between these seeming conflicting visions for the future. This paper outlines three alternative perspectives on this dilemma. First, a look at their philosophical premises will try to highlight the tension between these contrasting perspectives on the future. Secondly, some observations on the scientist’s characteristic role within society will hopefully lead to some fundamental questions regarding elitism and the managerial spirit. Thirdly, an attempt will be made to cast society’s future projections in the form of a drama, using the metaphors of transactional analysis to sharpen our focus on the inequalities and inconsistencies of society’s current stance on planning for the future. Finally, some suggestions are made concerning potential reorientations of geographic effort in this field.
- PublicationPerception in Four Keys: A Commentary(The University of Chicago, Department of Geography Research Paper, 1984-01-15)The invitation to comment on these papers offers a welcome challenge. Many people here remember the enthusiasm and pioneering elan of that session on “Environmental Perception and Behaviour” at Columbus in 1965. It was my first experience of a national meeting of the Association of American Geographers and I distinctly remember how thrilling it was to find senior members of the profession on a wavelength similar to the one I had come to in my own dissertation work on French geography. There was a puzzle on my mind that day, but I was far too timid to raise it publicly: why, way back in the 1930s, was Hardy’s initiative in La géographie psychologique so harshly squelched? In this land of boundless opportunity, I told myself, maybe the idea will be judged on its own merits.