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History of geography

Regional geography is a study of regions throughout the world in order to understand or define the unique characteristics of a particular region which consists of natural as well as human elements. Attention is paid also to regionalization which covers the techniques of space delineation into regions.

Regional geography is also considered as a certain approach to study in geographical sciences (similar to quantitative geography or bunch of critical geographies). This approach to study was prevailing during the second half of the 19th and the first half of the 20th century also known as a period of prevailing regional geography paradigm when regional geography took the central position in geographical sciences. It was later criticised for its descriptiveness and the lack of theory (regional geography as an empirical approach of geographical sciences). Massive criticism was leveled against this approach in the fifties and during the quantitative revolution. Main critics were Kimble[1] and Schaefer[2].

Regional geography paradigm has had impact on many geographical sciences (see regional economic geography or regional geomorphology). Today's regional geography is still taught in some universities as study of the major regions of the world, such as Northern and Latin America, Europe, and Asia and their countries. In addition, the notion of a city-regional approach to the study of geography gained some credence in the mid-1990s after works by people such as Saskia Sassen, although it was also criticized, for example by Peter Storper.

Notable regional geographers were Alfred Hettner from Germany with his concept of chorology, Vidal de la Blache from France with the possibilism approach (possibilism as a softer notion of environmental determinism) and United States geographer Richard Hartshorne with his areal differentiation concept.

Some geographers have also attempted to reintroduce a certain amount of regionalism since the 1980s. This involves a complex definition of regions and their interactions with other scales.[3]


  1. ^ Kimble, G.H.T. (1951): The Inadequacy of the Regional Concept, London Essays in Geography, edd. L.D. Stamp and S.W. Wooldridge, pp. 1951-174.
  2. ^ Schaefer, F.K. (1953): Exceptionalism in Geography: A Methodological Examination, Annals of the Association of American Geographers, vol. 43, pp. 226-245.
  3. ^ MacLeod, G. and Jones, M. (2001): Renewing The Geography of Regions, Environment and Planning D, 16(9), pp. 669-695.

See also



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