Systematic vs Regional Geography

by stronged

Some messy notes I took on the tram the other day. Still getting my head around chorology and chronology. Trying to articulate these rich concepts by writing them out, I have found I have payed very little attention to the chronological aspects of this relationship. I had no real basis of information to work from as Tuan and Cresswell are more interested in the chorological side of things.

I then discovered Cresswell co-authored a book called Geographies of Mobilities: Practices, Spaces, Subjects with Peter Merriman. A fantastic read that discusses how places can also exist in a transitory sense. Cresswell and Merriman interpret Tuan’s notion that “place is pause” in a more cognitive sense; perhaps how Tuan originally conceived the concept.

Our habits and daily routines form certain flows of movement from place to place. However, within the transition from one place to the next one may take note of particular landmarks of interest that string together in a temporal system much like the connections formulated as a place. Even though each landmark may change in appearance over time, the consistent exposure to this system forms a type of place; one that is mobile. The mobility is physical, but what Tuan is perhaps referring to as “pause” is one’s consciousness or focus. This perhaps ties in with Hannah and Adrian’s idea of “noticing.” The act of noticing involves a moment of pause – observe, identify, act/form connections. I could tumble down a Deleuzian rabbit hole here as I see  his motor schema as a useful model to illustrate the act of noticing.

The idea of places also existing as mobilities also ties in well with Massey’s power-geometries, viewing place as in a constant state of flux. Depending on what ingredients are thrown into any given space, the outcome may dramatically alter. Cresswell also mentions Seamon’s schema as a useful way to understand how places are in a constant state of change. Seamon believes that multiple ‘body-ballet’s’ (a sequence of preconscious actions to perform a task) assemble to form a ‘time-space routine’ that in turn can form a ‘place-ballet’ that informs a sense of place.


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An image from Hartshorne’s The Nature of Geography that portrays the complex interrelations between the scientific aspect of geography, and the sociological aspects.

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