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Student's Introduction to Geographical Thought: Theories, Philosophies, Methodologies

by Pauline Couper SAGE Publications Ltd
Pub Date:
Hbk 280 pages
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This ism-busting text is an enormously accessible account of the key philosophical and theoretical ideas that have informed geographical research. It makes abstract ideas explicit and clearly connects it with real practices of geographical research and knowledge. Written with flair and passion, A Student's Introduction to Geographical Thought: Explains the key ideas: scientific realism, anti-realism and idealism / positivism / critical rationalism / Marxism and critical realism/ social constructionism and feminism / phenomenology and post-phenomenology / postmodernism and post-structuralism / complexity / moral philosophy. Uses examples that address both physical geography and human geography. Use a familiar and real-world example - and lsquo;the beach and rsquo; - as an entry point to basic questions of philosophy, returning to this to illustrate and to explain the links between philosophy, theory, and methodology. All chapters end with summaries and sources of further reading, a glossary explaining key terms, exercises with commentaries, and web resources of key articles from the journals Progress in Human Geography and Progress in Physical Geography. A Student's Introduction to Geographical Thought is a completely accessible student A-Z of theory and practice for both human and physical geography.

Introduction: Geographers at the beach
Positivism: or, roughly, what you see is what you get
Critical Rationalism: learning from our mistakes
Marxism and Critical Realism: seeking what lies beneath
Phenomenology and Post-phenomenology: the essence of experience or seeing a shark is different from seeing a dolphin
Social Constructionism and Feminism: it's all down to us
Structuralism, Poststructuralism and Postmodernism: life at the surface
Complexity Theory: from butterfly wings to fairy rings
Moral Philosophy and Ethics: right and wrong in Geography
Thinking, Doing, Constructing Geography

'Translating the philosophies of geography to an undergraduate audience is a task beyond many of us, but Pauline Couper succeeds superbly in A Student's Introduction to Geographical Thought. Engaging and relevant, she never patronizes her audience nor trivializes the theories she discusses. A rare, genuinely student friendly text that preserves the complexity of its subject matter whilst allowing the student to engage with it on their own terms.' Tim Hall 'An accessible account of theories and philosophy in and of geography. I hope that every undergraduate studying geography reads this book. Those who do will be enriched.' James D Sidaway
Pauline Couper is Head of Programme for Geography at York St John University. Prior to this she was Senior Lecturer and Research Coordinator at the University of St Mark and St John (Marjon) in Plymouth, where she taught research methods and guided undergraduates through research projects for over a decade and supported staff research within the University from 2004 to 2014. In 2014 she was awarded the Marjon Studentsa Union aStudent-Led Teaching Awarda for aOutstanding Supervisora. Also winner of the RGS-Blackwell Area prize (2005), Pauline has a PhD in fluvial geomorphology and professional experience in geoconservation, and has always maintained enthusiasm for the breadth of the discipline. Her research interests now lie predominantly in philosophy of geography and human/environment relations, particularly in terms of how geographical and environmental knowledges are developed and performed.