Geography and Environmental Studies in Australia: Symbiosis for Survival in the 21st Century?
This paper presents the results of a detailed survey into the reasons for the spate of mergers between Geography and Environment Studies that took place in Australian universities from 1989 to 1999. The results, from a 1998 survey, suggest that the development of a symbiotic relationship between the two areas of study is merely a veneer masking a complexity of underlying factors. These include financial reasons, internal university politics, staff changes and mobility, and only in some cases, a genuine academic rationale for a merger. The paper concludes that the superficial appearance of a symbiosis between Geography and Environment Studies generally masks an opportunistic pragmatism which is very site specific in its complexity. The result has been a series of departmental mergers which, although providing a firmer financial footing, raise questions about the academic implications for the development of both study areas as we move into the third millennium.
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