chapter  5
16 Pages

Phenomenology

By the time of Husserl’s death in 1938, phenomenology had achieved acceptance not only in philosophy, but also in anthropology, sociology and psychology, and it had influenced the work of poets, artists and novelists. This acceptance has since grown to the point where phenomenology is a widely adopted approach in most of the social sciences. In geography, however, the impact of this method has been limited to a handful of methodological statements and

substantive investigations, and it is clear that among geographers there is little familiarity with phenomenology. Indeed, because of the difficult and unusual language used in some of the methodological papers, there is probably much confusion. I do not wish to exacerbate this confusion by writing yet another account of the technicalities of phenomenology, so my aim here is to provide a clear and relatively non-technical circumscription of this approach, as well as to survey phenomenological writings by geographers. In doing this I am sure I will fail to consider concepts and authors others think to be essential, and I can only plead that I am concerned less with precise assessment than with giving a sense of the insights phenomenology has to offer as a way of thinking geography.