Introductory

  • Richard Muir
Chapter

Abstract

Political geography is simultaneously one of the most retarded and most undervalued branches of geography, and one that offers the greatest potential for both theoretical and practical advance. Many fundamental questions remain to be decided, and unanimity is lacking concerning definitions of the subject, the relative importance that should be attached to its political and geographical aspects and the value of quantitative approaches. There is even disagreement as to the causes of political geography’s backwardness, though only a minority of students would deny that the subject is in such a condition when compared to other branches of geography, many of which are of much more recent origin as coherent fields of study. The political-geographical malaise has led to a disregard for, or an awkwardness in the handling of political factors encountered in research by numerous regional and economic geographers, while the geographical preoccupation with (unattainable) objectivity and sometimes embarrassment when confronted with political realities has frequently led to subjectivity in the omission of relevant information of a political nature. Since of all geographers the student of the political branch will be the most exposed to accusations of partisanship, it is of particular importance that his explanations and findings should rest on a sound theoretical base and be supported by a well-stocked arsenal of relevant techniques and methodologies.

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Copyright information

© Richard Muir 1981

Authors and Affiliations

  • Richard Muir
    • 1
  1. 1.Cambridgeshire College of Arts and TechnologyUK

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