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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
“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.
Type: Proceedings
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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