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Idiographic

  • By: Barney Warf
  • In: Encyclopedia of Geography
  • Edited by: Barney Warf
  • Subject:General Geography, Earth & Environmental Science

The term idiographic refers to the unique aspects of individual areas, that is, those that cannot be understood easily, if at all, on the basis of general rules of inference or deduction. Much of geography has traditionally been concerned with the idiographic in the context of regions and places, long mapping the unusual, colorful, and extraordinary. However, the uniqueness of places has also long been at the center of significant philosophical debates about how to study geography.

The tradition of chorology or areal differentiation, which predominated in the early 20th century, was epitomized by Richard Hartshorne, who maintained that geography is an integrative science concerned exclusively with the unique. In this perspective, regions form the highest form of geographic understanding. Idiographic perspectives hold that each region ...

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