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Issue Date: 19-Jul-2006
Journal: Proceedings of the Conference THE CULTURAL TURN IN GEOGRAPHY, 18-20th of September 2003 - Gorizia Campus
Part I – Cultural Geography: the Theoretical Approach
Abstract: “Diversity is at the heart of geography - from the varieties in continents and climates to the interrelationships between natural resources and how people live...All of us yearn for a world in which our views, our cultures, our beliefs, our fundamental rights, are respected no matter who we are, how we look, or where we come from”. This is how Mary Robinson, then UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, addressed delegates at the 29th International Geographical Congress in Seoul, 14-18, 2000, upon receipt of the Earth and Humanity Medal 2000 by the International Geographical Union. A few weeks later, scholars from all over the world assembled in Rome to explore the potential role of universities in the quest for a “new humanism”. “Renaissance humanism”, one speaker recalled, “set up a new idea of truth as a dynamic statement, not previously defined or constructed, but something to be discovered and then applied... the joint venture of new scientific discovery with the humanistic approach to mankind's problems enabled the university to nourish innovation and offer a rigorous critique of institutions and social relations”( Bricall, 2000). It was such “airing” of university life, in his view, that was sadly lacking today. Does the “cultural turn”, evident in geography and in a variety of other fields, herald such fresh air? It has certainly sharpened understandings of human behaviour in space, time and place; it has unmasked the myriad ways in which values and meanings are socially constructed; it has undermined previous hegemonies of orthodoxy and method and evoked a more general awareness of reflexivity in disciplinary thought and practice. In many ways the cultural turn has uncovered forgotten aspects of geography, signalling a re-turn to some of the unresolved challenges of the past. Given the challenges facing the discipline at the opening of this Third Millenium, it might be useful to reflect generally on developments during the previous century, and to identify ways in which the cultural re/turn might equip us to confront these challenges.
ISBN: 88-8303-180-6
Rights: © Copyright 2003 Edizioni Università di Trieste - EUT
Appears in Collections:The cultural turn in geography

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