The fi eld
Physical geography has always considered itself a ‘fi eld science’. What this term actually means though has not really been explored in any depth, as noted by Driver (2000, 2001) in relation to geographical fi eldwork in general. This chapter explores the term and highlights the importance of this self-defi nition for the academic and professional kudos of the subject. Specifi cally, this chapter tries to defi ne what a ‘fi eld science’ is, partly by looking at what the term attempts to exclude when physical geographers wander off to do fi eldwork. This chapter then uses ‘the fi eld’ as the starting point for the simplifi cation of reality within the laboratory and as the arena within which monitoring occurs.