First Problem Area: Coherence of Basic Assumptions and Concepts

  • Kirsten von Elverfeldt
Part of the Springer Theses book series (Springer Theses)


The term ‘system’ is largely accepted as interpretation pattern within geomorphology, which is reflected in the amount of publications within which system theory serves as theoretical reference point. A search within the ISI Web of Science points to a strong increase of geomorphological system theoretical research within the 1990s and the first decade of the twenty first century (This search does not claim completeness and only serves as an indicator for a development. Furthermore, only those articles were captured that utilize “system” within title, abstract, or keywords). From 1960 to 1989 the amount of publications that referred to “geomorph” and “system” (The search algorithm was ‘geomorph*’ AND ‘systems’, and for the determination of the reference frame ‘geomorph’, respectively.) was only 28 of 903 (<5%). Within the following decades, however, system-theoretical studies showed an increase in numbers: approx. one-third of all geomorphological papers showed reference to systems in some form [27% (971 of 3,656) of the publications within the 1990s and 31% (2,205 of 7,044) from 2000 to 2009]. Although the reliability of these numbers is limited and, consequently, they are not supposed to stimulate any further analyses, it can be shown on a random basis that the theoretical foundation as well as the definitions and basic assumptions are rarely, if at all, reflected and analysed. This can be seen as an indication that systems are seen as given and ‘natural’ or obvious.


Debris Flow System Boundary Implicit Theory Environmental Relation Morphological System 
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

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Kirsten von Elverfeldt
    • 1
  1. 1.Institut für Geographie und Regionalforschung, Fakultät für WirtschaftswissenschaftenAlpen-Adria-Universität KlagenfurtKlagenfurtAustria

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