Ibadan Journal of the Social Sciences
Volume 3, No. 2, 2005
Pages 42-50

DOI: 10.36108/ijss/5002.30.0240

The Universalistic and Contextualizing Movements in Geography

S.l. Okafor

Department of Geography University of Ibadan


The universalistic and contextualizing movements are the dominant epistemological Traditions in geography, especially human geography. Contextuulization is an approach that regards time-space settings as important ill the production of landscapes of human activity and in the past this approach focused on the description 0f places. On the other hand, the universalistic movement took geography away from its earlier concern with the description of places into attempts at uncovering universal laws of spatial organization, in keeping with the scientific method. This movement led to the devaluation of place in geographical analysis. The failings and unfulfilled expectations 0f the universalistic movement led to a return to contextualization as a result of which greater attention is again being paid to local milieu in accounting for spatial variations of human activities. The new emphasis on diversity and difference which the contextualizing movement makes possible provides an opportunity for addressing specifically African issues in spite 0/ the hegemony 0/ Western intellectual traditions.


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