1. School of Geography and Planning of Sun Yat-sen University, Guangzhou 510275, China
2. Institute of Geographic Sciences and Natural Resources Research, CAS, Beijing 100101, China
3. School of Geographic Sciences, East China Normal University, Shanghai 200062, China
4. School of Geography Science, Nanjing Normal University, Nanjing 210046, China
5. Institute of Remote Sensing and Geographic Information System, Peking University, Beijing 100871, China
6. School of Geography, South China Normal University, Guangzhou 510631, China
7. Department of Geography , Northeast Normal University, Changchun 130024, China
8. College of Urban and Environmental Sciences, Northwest University, Xi'an 710127, China
9. The Key Laboratory of Resource Environmental Bearing Capacity Evaluation of Ministry of Land and Resources, Beijing 101149, China
10. Guangzhou Institute of Geography, Guangzhou 510070, China
11. Institute of Urban Development and Research, East China Normal University, Shanghai 200062, China
12. School of Architecture, South China University of Technology, Guangzhou 510640, China
13. School of Geographical Sciences, Southwest University, Chongqing 400715, China
14. Meiji Gakuin University, Tokyo 1088636, Japan
15. School of Sociology, Soochow University, Suzhou 215123, Jiangsu, China
Geography is an ancient discipline, yet it is also continuously evolving. Especially in China, geography has been developing rapidly in the past 30 years. However, with the emergence of more and more branches and sub-disciplines, we are facing increasing confusions about geography. For the consideration of construction of geography discipline and its academic community, we are in an urgent need to find a "consensus" on the development of geography and explore the definition of geography community. To this end, we organized a series of workshops and conferences last year to provide a platform for different generations of geographers to express their opinions on how to promote the development of geography in China. This article is a summary of the viewpoints based on the recordings of the conference. In general, several consensuses have been reached as follows: (1) In teaching, we should enhance the comprehensiveness of courses of geography and strengthen the training of methods for geographical investigation and research; (2) In academic research, we should strengthen the summary of the paradigms in geography, provide more comprehensive explanations of "geo" and accelerate the integration and innovation in geographical theories and methods; (3) In disciplinary development, we should highlight the construction of regional geography, emphasize the national and local needs in policy-making, and demonstrate the contribution of geography. We hope that with our joint efforts, both the discipline and community of Chinese geography will be growing stronger in the future.
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Abstract Geography is an integrative discipline to which society has assigned responsibility for the study of areas. It is expected to satisfy human curiosity about how much of what is where, and why it is there, in an organized manner that will facilitate comprehension and retention. Geography must be both an art and a science, because understanding the meaning of area cannot be reduced to a formal process. The discipline deals with an enormous range of phenomena and must provide a congenial home for many different kinds of practitioners. Geography has survived repeated misguided attempts to ake it into a Science by amputating vital parts of the discipline. Systematic geography generates theories to facilitate an understanding of regions, and regional geography is the proving ground where theories are rested empirically. The idea of the region provides the essential unifying theme that integrates the diverse subdisciplines of geography. The highest form of the geographer's art is the production of evocative descriptions that facilitate an understanding and an appreciation of regions. Regions are subjective artistic devices. Regional geography must be informed by a sense of time, and it cannot ignore the physical environment. It begins with the visible features of the earth's surface, but quickly transcends them and attempts to understand the values that motivate the human behavior that is related to them. Exploration, or fieldwork, is a basic research technique in geography, and the most geographic hypotheses are generated by field observation and by cartographic analysis. Effective communication is a difficult and demanding art that regional geographers must master. The frontiers of regional geography lie in our great cities.
In the last century, geography as a discipline has witnessed a rift between spatial-analytical geographies and social-cultural geographies, resulting in lasting effect on the discipline. In this article, I explore how the social-theory/spatial-analysis split in geography arose. I argue that, instead of insisting on a unitary identity for the discipline, forging productive relations between different traditions, specialties and subfields seems to be a more viable strategy for enhancing the status of geography. I consider some possibilities for reconnecting social- cultural and spatial-analytical geographies by revisiting the relations between epistemology and method in geography. I suggest that there can be both positivist and non-positivist use of quantitative/GIS-based spatial analysis and qualitative methods, which makes the mixed-use of the two methods possible. Then I examine the notion of hybridity and its potential for redressing this polarizing tendency in the discipline, and summarize the existing practice of hybrid geographies. There are at least three common practices towards hybrid geographies. The most common hybrid practices are those that use quantitative or GIS methods to address issues informed by critical geographies. Another type seeks to cross the boundary between geo-spatial technologies and a qualitative understanding of the lived experiences of individuals in various cultural contexts. And the third type attempts to integrate critical social theory and spatial analytical methods. As a conclusion, I offer some thoughts on the possibility of a "post-social-theory, post-spatial-analysis" future for geography. This means a future in which social- cultural geographies and spatial-analytical geographies are no longer represented as the conflicting poles. And I point out that the major challenge for geography as a discipline is how to cherish the diversity and richness of perspectives while enhancing its status in the academic community and society.
As a disciplinary of studying the spatial and temporal changing regulation of natural and human elements on the earth surface, geography has the attributes of natural science and social science. Facing the worldwide scientific problems of global change and sustainable development, geographers all over the world are taking the opportunities to meet the challenges. The present study fields include interfaces' physical, chemical, biological and human processes, the interaction mechanism of multiple processes, and regulations of coordination between human activities and environment. The train of thought pattern-structure-process-mechanism runs through modern geographical study. As the accumulation of onsite data and the use of high-tech and new methods, quality and quantity of experimental data have been improved. Modern geographical study is expanding to micro and macro scale. It has the main characteristics of modern science. Generally, branch geography study has been deepened and regional comprehensive study has been enhanced. After 1949, Chinese geographical study has made good progress in a comprehensive study of physical geography, land surface natural process study, urban and regional development study and some basic practical studies serving society.
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Abstract Mainstream neoclassical economic geography and its Marxist critique have largely failed to incorporate active conceptions of working class people in their explanations of the location of economic activities. Neoclassical approaches tend to conceive of workers simply as factors of location, whereas Marxist approaches primarily focus on how capital structures the economic landscape in its search for profit and frequently relegate labor to the status of “variable capital.” Both approaches present Geographies of Labor. They have not really examined how workers try to make industrial landscapes. In contrast, I argue that workers have an interest in how the economic geography of capitalism is made; consequently, they seek to impose what we might call “labor's spatial fix” and so play an active role in the unevenly developed geography of capitalism. Examining how workers try to develop their own spatial fixes allows us to incorporate a more active sense of workers as geographical agents into understandings of the production of space under capitalism. Recognizing that workers' efforts to create “labor's spatial fix” are significant allows us to theorize how workers attempt to make space as an integral part of their social existence (a Labor Geography ) and so to write less capital-oriented economic geographies.
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