Whither Geography?

Author: Harman, Jay R.

Source: The Professional Geographer, 1 November 2003, vol. 55, no. 4, pp. 415-421(7)


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I argue that scientific disciplines are esteemed, supported, and patronized largely to the degree to which they are perceived as providing a “return” on invested societal resources. This “return” takes the form of scholarly products that help answer deep human questions or otherwise materially benefit members of the society whose resources they are. Such a view implies that disciplines exist in a “market” in which members compete for these limited resources by delivering products seen as valuable. In such a market, disciplinary relevance and survival are ultimately tied to decisions individual scholars practicing within the disciplines make about which research they pursue, the greater the perceived “return” the better for the long-term health of the discipline.

Keywords: geographic discipline; scholarly products

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/0033-0124.5504001

Affiliations: Michigan State University

Publication date: November 1, 2003

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