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compositional theory

  Forms of inquiry that proceed by breaking down their object into general categories based on principles of similarity. The basic idea has a long history: the German philosopher Immanuel Kant (1724-1804) claimed that virtually all major fields of study proceed on the basis of such a logical classification (see Kantianism); the twin exceptions, significantly, were history and geography. And in modern geography the term \'compositional theory\' was developed by Hägerstrand (1974) precisely in order to establish the vital difference between such formal-logical approaches — which he thought held sway in much of geography too — and his own time-geography, which he described as a contextual approach based instead on principles of time-space contiguity and connection (see Thrift, 1983). (DG)

References Hägerstrand, T. 1974: Tidgeografisk beskrivning — syfte och postulat. Svensk Geograpisk Årsbok 50: 86-94. Thrift, N.J. 1983: On the determination of social action in space and time. Environment and Planning D: Society and Space 1: 23-58.



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