GEOGRAPHICAL RESEARCH ›› 2012, Vol. 31 ›› Issue (5): 771-781.doi: 10.11821/yj2012050001

• Earth Surface Processes •     Next Articles

Causes and effects of dualism between regional geography and systematic geography

YE Chao1, CAI Yun-long2   

  1. 1. College of Geographic Sciences, Nanjing Normal University, Nanjing 210046, China;
    2. College of Urban and Environmental Sciences, Peking University, Beijing 100871, China
  • Received:2011-08-21 Revised:2011-12-05 Online:2012-05-20 Published:2012-05-20

Abstract: In the history of geography,one of the most excited methodological debates is the dualism between regional geography and systematic geography.It reflects different viewpoints among different geographers about the nature and methods of geography since the ancient times.The systematic geographers stress that geography is a science pursuing the general rules,but the regional geographers regard region as the centre of geographical research.There are some persistent debates on this kind of dualism from ancient Greece,and Schaefer-Hartshorne Debate displays the conflicts between regional geography and systematic geography reach the peak.Although Schaefer and Hartshorne formally oppose the kind of dualism that only underlines one,but ignores the other,the different preferences caused by their interest,values and the different attitudes to the history of geographical ideas finally lead to the real dualism.By contrast,the influences of Hart-Golledge Debate are smaller,and it is like an epilogue.Thereafter,with the rise of the methodological pluralism and postmodern geographies,the dualism between regional geography and systematic geography becomes more unimportant than ever.The history of the dualism shows value becomes one of the most important factors in the course of defining what geography is.More and more scholars begin to hold a kind of standpoint admitting the different values have their rationality and logic after the Second World War,and it becomes a common consensus on popular trends and general rule,especially with the development of postmodern geographies.The possible reasons why these debates in Chinese geography are hard to be found are: the academic orientation of pragmatism that lay particular stress on those geographical knowledge and techniques that can be quickly applied to solve the 'practical' issues,the special social and economic contexts,the academic evaluated system,and the eclectic attitudes to connecting regional geography to systematic geography.

Key words: regional geography, systematic geography, dualism, Schaefer-Hartshorne Debate, Hart-Golledge Debate