, Volume 31, Issue 3, pp 247–250 | Cite as

Spatial imaginary and geography: A plea for the geography of representations

  • Bailly Antoine S. 


After twenty years of work on the geography of representations, how is it still possible to define geography as “the science of space”, ie as direct knowledge of material reality? This conception of the discipline — based on Cartesian precepts of evidence (eg the observer's independent certainty), reductionism (ie a disaggregation into sets of simple elements), causality (ie the presupposition of a linear linkage between cause and effect) and exhaustiveness (ie the certainty that nothing essential has been omitted) — has been thrown into question by the geography of representations' holistic approach. How can our scientific practices be separated from our interior existence with its affective and emotional aspects? Is not scientific action an extension of being? Mustn't the geographer, above and beyond the observation of concrete phenomena, also understand the subtle and complex — at times random and hidden — links which unite human beings and their life-space, be it from the viewpoint of the poet, or of all those who take alternative approaches to geography? What I would like to demonstrate is (1) how in an historically and socially given environment, the individual constructs his own reality in linking together the structural, functional and symbolic; (2) how the representation of the landscape is related to our existential experience; and (3) how the imaginary and the real are connected in each place.


Environmental Management Holistic Approach Scientific Practice Scientific Action Material Reality 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 1993

Authors and Affiliations

  • Bailly Antoine S. 
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of GeographyUniversity of GenevaGenevaSwitzerland

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