Thinking Geographically: Space, Theory and Contemporary Human Geography (review)


Glancing at the programs from recent professional meetings in literary and cultural studies, one cannot help noticing the growing popularity of spatial analysis. But what, precisely, do the terms “space” and “geography” designate? Is geography a natural or a social science, or both at once? What interest might spatial studies and human geography hold for scholars in the Humanities? How is spatial analysis pursued across disciplines and to what extent are these critical practices theoretically informed? These are some of the issues that have engaged both partisans and skeptics of a field that has gained prominence in recent years. One group of scholars has set out to address the concerns of skeptics, particularly those who lament the paucity of theoretically minded work in the field. In Thinking Geographically: Space, Theory and Contemporary Human Geography, Phil Hubbard, Rob Kitchin, Brendan Bartley and Duncan Fuller aim to elucidate the field’s theoretical underpinnings while also arguing vigorously for the intellectual validity and merits of adopting critical perspectives informed by the problematics of space. The result is an admirably accessible work that can serve as an introduction to the field. It traces the genealogy of geographic studies, initiates the reader to the development of human geographic thought, presents emerging concepts that are shaping the discipline today, and illustrates how the practice of spatial analysis has taken shape around a number of core concepts.

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