Hyphenated geographies: The deindustrialization of nature-society geography

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14 Scopus citations


As visions of ecological crisis mark the daily headlines, industrial spaces of intensive energy and material consumption become a more intense object of political and social concern. In this article, I attempt to situate geography's relative neglect of the ecological underpinnings of industrial capitalism within the context of the history of geographical thought. I argue that the ways in which geographers read the hyphen in the phrase " nature-society" reveals epistemological limits to their object of study. I then offer three dramatically different readings of the hyphen and discuss how they have affected the lineages and trajectories of geographical research-Barrows's human ecology, Sauer's cultural landscape, and critical theories of social nature. I conclude by suggesting that geography needs to let go of its empirical and conceptual fixation on " nature"

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)74-89
Number of pages16
JournalGeographical Review
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2010


  • Carl O. Sauer
  • Harlan H. Barrows
  • History of geographical thought
  • Nature-society geography

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Earth-Surface Processes


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