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Place

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

The idea of place is at once simple and yet very enigmatic. The term is used daily in the English-speaking world, and it is hard to get beyond the commonsense level, in which most people think of it as any meaningful location. It has become a significant theme in many disciplines, but human geography has long claimed place as a central concept, although even among geographers there is little agreement about the meaning of the term and how it should be used in scholarly discourse.

Before the mid 1960s, the central word used in geography to identify areas was region rather than place. Academic geography came to be dominated by a search for similarity, generality, and pattern, often referred to as spatial science. But the concept ...

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