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History and Concepts

Fourth Edition

September 2009 | 280 pages | SAGE Publications Ltd
Now in a fourth edition, this standard student reference has been totally revised and updated. It remains the definitive introduction to the history, philosophy, and methodology of human geography; now including a detailed explanation of key ideas in human geography's post-modernist and post-structuralist 'turns'. The book is organized into six sections:
  • What is Geography?: an introduction to the discipline, and a discussion of its organization and basic research approaches, informed by the question 'what difference does it make to think geographically?'
  • Foundations of Geography: an examination of geography from Antiquity to the 1950s, with a special focus on human/environment relation.
  • Geography 1950-1980: a critical review of the development of geography as a spatial science.
  • Paradigms and Revolutions: an analysis of paradigm shifts in geography, introducing students to key debates in the philosophy of science.
  • Positivism and its Critics: a detailed discussion of positivism, critical theory, humanistic geography, behavioural geography, and structuralism.
  • New Trends and Ideas developing critical responses: structuration theory, realism, post-structuralism, post-modernism, feminism and actor-network theory. 

This text explores complex ideas in an intelligible and accessible style. Illustrated throughout with research examples and explanations in text boxes, questions for discussion at the end of each chapter and a concept glossary, this is the essential student companion to the discipline.

What is Geography?
Exploration and the cosmographic tradition  
A science of synthesis  
A modeloriented approach  
Local responses to global processes; deviations from the models in focus  
An organizational plan of geography  
A new synthesis?  
Homo geographicus  
Specialization and pluralism  
The Foundation of Geography
Geography in the ancient world  
Middle Ages and the Renaissance  
The philosopher, Immanuel Kant  
The `classical' period  
From cosmography to an institutionalized discipline  
The social anarchists  
Geomorphology and physiography provide academic respect  
Environmental determinism and possibilism  
The French school of regional geography  
Landscapes and regions  
Regional studies in Britain  
Geography 1950S-1980S; 30 Years of Progress
Changing job market  
The development of applied geography  
A discipline ripe for change  
The growth of 'spatial science'  
Critics of the spatial science school  
The achievements of spatial science  
Paradigms and Revolutions
Kuhn's paradigms  
Critics of Kuhn  
Induction, deduction and abduction  
Changing paradigms in geography?  
An idiographic or nomothetic science?  
Absolute and relative space  
What kind of revolution?  
A 'critical' revolution?  
Rerolution or evolution?  
Positivism and its Critics
Positivism and critical theory  
The development of positivism  
Principles in positivism  
Criticisms of positivism  
Dialectics, Hegel and Marx; breaking down binaries  
Science as a force transforming society  
Practical consequences for research  
Geography and empiricism  
The positivism of spatial science  
Humanistic approaches  
Behavioural and welfare geography  
New Trends and Ideas Developed in the Last Decades
Structuration theory  
Agency, structures and actor-network theory  
Gender and feminist geography  
New tools in geographical research; satellite photos and GIS  
To unite a vernacular and an academic definition of geography  
References and Bibliography
Author and Personality Index
Glossary and Subject Index

It is recommended, because it provides an overview of the different concepts that form the basis of knowledge in geography.

Mr Ahmad Izzo
Institute of Geography, Johannes Gutenberg-University Mainz
June 25, 2015

I like very much the questions that are at the end of every chapter. I use them in order to evaluate my students.

Professor Gustavo Rodríguez
Geography , Universidad Autónoma de Guerrero
July 17, 2014

This book is particularly useful for 1st year students who are transitioning from school/FE to HE. Whilst a textbook it has many points for discussion and so is also suitable for other teaching formats such as seminars.

Dr Karen Parkhill
Environment & Natural Resources, Bangor University
October 10, 2013

I feel that this book should be given to undergraduates in staggered doses throughout their degree programme. It is not a book that a student maybe able to comprehend and appreciate at one go. It offers valuable material for discussion in class, in which concepts in Geography may be introduced and elaborated.

Mr Ritienne Gauci
Department of Geography, University of Malta
April 9, 2013

Wonderful introduction of a somehow old fashioned way. Gains it strength from the fact that the author is not following recent trends. Very well written and thoughtful!

Dr Stefan Zimmermann
Geography, University of Osnabruck
October 12, 2012

Well written and covers the material I think is important for upper level undergraduate and masters students.

Dr JOdy Decker
Geography , Wilfrid Laurier University
July 20, 2010

immensely useful as an overview for any course in the history and development of geographical thought

Mr Richard Kotter
Dept of Geography, Northumbria University
February 18, 2010

Very good and comprehensive treatment of fundamental concepts that guide geographic research design.

Dr Paul Elsner
Dept of Geography, Birkbeck College
November 13, 2009

Offers an accessible reference complement to other texts used in the course, Geographic Thought. While Peet's Modern Geographic Thought remains a course reference text as does Hubbard's Key Thinkers on Space & Place, H-Jensen's text will be in many ways more approachable for students and will serve as an effective teaching text

Dr Jeremy Tasch
Geography Envir Planning Dept, Towson University
November 3, 2009

New to the Fourth Edition:

All chapters revised and updated

A detailed explanation of key ideas in human geography's post-modernist and post-structuralist 'turns'

Student questions added to the end of each chapter

Reorganisation of the text (in response to teacher comments) to make the historical development more clear throughout the book

Sample Materials & Chapters

Chapter One

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Arild Holt-Jensen

Arild Holt-Jensen (born 1937) is professor emeritus at Department of Geography, University of Bergen, Norway. He has been teaching geography in Bergen since 1965 and is the author of a number of books and articles on history and concepts of geography, environmental, urban and regional planning as well as general textbooks for highschool geography. Rewarded in 2000 ‘Modeens Minnemedalj’ by the Finnish Geographical Society for achievements in geographical education. He has served as Department chair, member of University Senate, member of editorial board for GeoJournal, member of the Council in the Association of European Schools of Planning... More About Author

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ISBN: 9781412946506