Cox, Kevin R.
June 1976
Social Science Quarterly (University of Texas Press);Jun1976, Vol. 57 Issue 1, p182
Academic Journal
This article discusses the emergence of geography as a social science and the geographic contribution to an understanding U.S. society. The most central concept of geography is that of geographic location. In addition to their substantive attributes objects have positions not only in time but also in geographic space. They therefore have locations relative to one another in terms of distance, direction, accessibility, and contiguity. When a set of objects are considered with respect to their properties of relative location, it will be possible to characterize any locational order they have in terms of such concepts as localization, segregation, region, compactness, centrality, and density. The terms in each dichotomy allow one to characterize different phases in the development of geography as a social science. Distinctive contributions of any social science to an understanding of U.S. society fall into two major categories: those describing whatever order happens to exist; example, the isolation of predictabilities or descriptive regularities; and those which address themselves to the development of theory to account for whatever descriptive regularities have been isolated.


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