chapter  2
16 Pages

The Changing Nature of Geography

WithBill Marsden

In 1963, Pattison outlined the complex nature of geography on the basis of four continuing, complementary, but overlapping traditions. There has over time been a high level of agreement that geography is about place and space, and the interaction of people with environments. The basis of the paradigm shift underlying the quantitative revolution of the 1960s lay in the switch from idiographic to nomothetic approaches in the study of geographical phenomena. In particular there was revulsion against the dehumanisation of the subject, scientific and statistical approaches being seen as giving ascendancy to the aggregate and downgrading the individual human agent. Interest in systems thinking and the behavioural aspects of geography in the 1970s widened the scope of the subject beyond even its previous broad bounds, with increasing attention paid to social welfare issues. The critical ideology goes beyond this and is concerned to achieve a better world through, if necessary, imposed political change.