Human Geography and the hinterland: The case of Torsten Hägerstrand’s ‘belated’ recognition

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Abstract

Seeing Human Geography as a nexus of temporally oscillating concepts, this paper investigates the dissemination of scientific ideas with a focus on extra-scientific factors. While scientific progress is usually evaluated in terms of intellectual achievement of the individual researcher, geographers tend to forget about the external factors that tacitly yet critically contribute to knowledge production. While these externalities are well-documented in the natural sciences, social sciences have not yet seen comparable scrutiny. Using Torsten Hägerstrand’s rise to prominence as a concrete example, we explore this perspective in a social-science case – Human Geography. Applying an STS (Science and Technology Studies) approach, we depart from a model of science as socially-materially contingent, with special focus on three extra-scientific factors: community norms, materiality and the political climate. These factors are all important in order for knowledge to be disseminated into the hinterland of Human Geography. We conclude it is these types of conditions that in practice escape the relativism of representation.

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Moravian Geographical Reports

The Journal of Institute of Geonics AS CR, v.v.i.

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