Both human geography and sociology emerged in their modern forms in the nineteenth century and in the shadows of the natural sciences. This makes it possible to identify a number of connections — and even cross-fertilisations — between them; but in our view most of these have been stillborn. At the turn of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, for example, there was a formative exchange between Paul Vidal de la Blache and Emile Durkheim, the one concerned to establish la géographie humaine as a (natural) science of independent integrity, and the other just as keen to bring it within the sphere of his own morphologie sociale and make it subservient to the grander designs of the new science of sociologie. The differences between the two, in terms of both institutional setting and intellectual framework, were sufficiently great to proscribe any simple mapping of the one into the other; but their common commitment to the moral-purposive character of collective social life and to what would now be called its ‘contextuality’ was, potentially, of the first importance. Similarly, the founding fathers of location theory, whose writings were selectively drawn upon in the middle of the twentieth century to reconstitute human geography as a ‘spatial science’, were by no means strangers to social theory. The apparently motionless rings of von Thü nen’s model of agricultural land-use scythed their way into a wider discussion of the social relations between landlords and labourers in early nineteenth-century Europe, in which the ties between the spatial margins of production and agricultural wages are conspicuously informed by Hegel’s political philosophy.
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