Start Geo Dictionary | Overview | Topics | Groups | Categories | Bookmark this page.
geology dictionary - geography encyclopedia  
Full text search :        
   A   B   C   D   E   F   G   H   I   J   K   L   M   N   O   P   Q   R   S   T   U   V   W   X   Y   Z   #   




  Any philosophy which either regards reality as residing in or constituted by the mind (\'metaphysical idealism\') or limits understanding to perceptions of external objects (\'epistemological idealism\'; cf. the materialism of historical materialism in general and Marxist geography in particular).

In human geography, however, \'idealism\' was also used in the 1970s and early 1980s to connote an approach promoted by Canadian historical geographer Leonard Guelke which sought \'to understand the development of the earth\'s cultural landscapes by uncovering the thought that lies behind them\' (Guelke, 1974). It was this emphasis on mind, \'on rethinking the thoughts of geographical agents\', which Guelke claimed entitled him to represent his programme as an idealist one. His approach was modelled on the example of historian R.G. Collingwood (1946) and his \'crucial\' contention that \'all history is the history of human thought\' (see Guelke, 1982). On Guelke\'s reading, therefore, and in contradistinction to the theoretical emphases of spatial science and its successor projects, \'the human geographer does not need theories of his [or her] own because he [or she] is concerned with the theories expressed in the actions of the individual being investigated\': hence the central object of inquiry ought to be to recover the rationality and intentionality embedded in human actions (Guelke 1974; see also Guelke, 1971).

Collingwood\'s original theses had a limited impact on the conduct of historical inquiry, and Guelke\'s own proposals, though they were advanced with unremitting vigour, were subjected to considerable criticism and failed to command widespread assent within human geography (see Curry, 1982). Subsequent developments broke the tie between \'rational choices\' and \'rational consequences\' on which Guelke\'s methodology depended (Barnes and Sheppard, 1992); provided a more comprehensive account of different forms of rationality than he allowed (Miller, 1992); fashioned a more productive — and more materialist — conception of discourse than he envisaged; and widened the scope of inquiry beyond the domain of human consciousness to address the unconscious (see psychoanalytic theory, geography and). (DG)

References Barnes, T. and Sheppard, E. 1992: Is there a place for the rational actor? A geographical critique of the rational choice paradigm. Economic Geography 68: 1-21. Curry, M. 1982: The idealist dispute in Anglo-American geography. Canadian Geographer 27: 35-50 [see also responses, pp. 51-9]. Collingwood, R.G. 1946: The idea of history. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Guelke, L. 1971: Problems of scientific explanation in geography. Canadian Geographer 15: 38-53. Guelke, L. 1974: An idealist alternative in human geography. Annals of the Association of American Geographers 66: 168-9. Guelke, L. 1982: Historical understanding in geography: an idealist approach. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Miller, B. 1992: Collective action and rational choice: place, community and the limits to individual self-interest. Economic Geography 68: 22-42.

Suggested Reading Curry (1982). Guelke (1974).



Bookmark this page:



<< former term
next term >>
ideal type


Other Terms : structural Marxism | transportation problem | representation
Home |  Add new article  |  Your List |  Tools |  Become an Editor |  Tell a Friend |  Links |  Awards |  Testimonials |  Press |  News |  About
Copyright ©2009 GeoDZ. All rights reserved.  Terms of Use  |  Privacy Policy  |  Contact Us