berry1964 - APPROACHES TO REGIONAL ANALYSIS A SYNTHESIS...

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In my dictionary I fnd a synthesis defned as “a complex whole made up oF a number oF parts united.” 1 The suggestions oF complexity and unity are bothersome, however, because the synthesis oF approaches to regional analysis presented in this paper is simplistic at best, and we have all Found that the parts hardly seem united at times. There is perhaps only one advantage to be gained From the simplifcation—that poorly developed or new approaches to studying the geography oF an area 2 may be identifed more readily. The paper begins with certain assertions concerning geography’s role among the sciences. A synthesis oF apparently dichotomous approaches to geographic understanding is then proposed 3 , and the concluding remarks are directed to the question oF new approaches. The route towards such new approaches begins with analysis oF the inadequacies oF the proposed synthesis, and continues with discussion oF possible solutions to the inadequacies via generalizations produced in General Systems Theory. 4 GEOGRAPHY AMONG THE SCIENCES James Conant describes science as an interconnected series oF concepts and conceptual schemes that have developed as a result oF experimentation and observation and are FruitFul oF Further experimentation and observation as man explores his universe. He characterizes the methods oF exploration—scientifc method--as comprising speculative general ideas, deductive reasoning, and experimentation. Like all brieF statements on any subject, these are ambiguous and incomplete outside oF the expanded context given them by the author. They do provide a useFul setting For the frst thesis oF this paper, however, that: Geographers are, like any other scientists, identifed not so much by the phenomena they study, as by the integrating concepts and processes that they stress . 5 James Blaut expresses the point nicely, saying that the objects dealt with by science are not natural entities, ultimate objects, but are rather sets oF interlocking propositions about systems. 6 Systems may be viewed in a variety oF way and hence the variety oF propositions that may be developed concerning them. The particular set oF propositions stressed by any science depends upon its point oF view, the perspective in looking at systems that it instills in its members as they progress From novices to accepted membership in that select proFessional core that serves as guardian and proponent oF the viewpoint. As Kenneth Boulding has said, subjects “carve out For themselves certain elements oF the experience oF man and develop theories and patterns oF research activity which yield satisFaction in understanding, and which are appropriate to the special segments.” 7 Within this context, our second and third theses are thus that: The geographic point oF view is spatial and that: The APPROACHES TO REGIONAL ANALYSIS: A SYNTHESIS BRIAN J. L. BERRY University oF Chicago All discord, harmony not understood. Alexander Pope, Essay on Man, 1:289 1 The OxFord Universal Dictionary on Historical Principles
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berry1964 - APPROACHES TO REGIONAL ANALYSIS A SYNTHESIS...

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