chapter  10
16 Pages

Physical geography and societies

The idea that scientifi c thought and its change is strongly infl uenced, if not determined, by the society within which it exists is something that Kuhn developed into the concept of paradigms. Although a paradigm is not a well-defi ned concept (there are at least 54 defi nitions according to Masterman, 1970), it has acted as a useful beacon for studies that emphasise the importance of social context for science and, probably more contentiously, for the idea that changes in scientifi c ideas are illogical and totally socially constructed. Even if you do not subscribe to the very strong social or even sociallydetermined view of change in scientifi c ideas, the development of science within a social vacuum cannot be sustained any longer. Science, and by implication physical geography, develops within a range of social networks. Even if social networks do not impact upon the logic of selecting theories or paradigms, they certainly contribute to what and how reality is studied.