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Jan. 15-17.docx

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GEOG 2260
Alexander Legwegoh

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Jan. 15-17 Philosophy & Approaches Methodological Choices are Philosophical Choices - Debates on: o Ideology – why should we know? o Epistemology – how do we come to know? o Ontology – what can be known? o Methodology – rules for knowledge building? - Doing research = engaging in these debates - Different methodological approaches stem from different philosophical positions - Philosophy is to research AS grammar is to language - Knowledge is dynamic & cumulative Philosophy Debates - Naturalism vs. Anti-Naturalism o Can society be studied via natural science approaches? - Realism vs. Anti-Realism o Is there a “real” world out there? - Structure vs. Agency o Is society shaped by social structures OR through human agency OR both? Research Approaches: Positivist - Determine laws to explain/predict human behaviour via observable data & value-free research - Methods: closed-question surveys, statistics - Cultural geography example: o Establishing laws of cultural influence by testing relationship between culture & educational achievement Research Approaches: Interpretivist - Reconstruct “individual worlds” through describing human action, meaning, values - Methods: in-depth interviews, ethnography, participant observation - Cultural geography example: o Describing cultural meanings of & experiences with art Research Approaches: Critical (Marxist) - Explain society through focus on political-economic structures - Methods: observation, secondary sources - Cultural geography example: o Explain marginalization within capitalist labour market that limits socio-economic growth base on gender, race or cultural identity Research Approaches: Critical (Feminist) - Explain society through focus on gender relations of power - Methods: varied, mixed - Cultural geography example: o Explore men & women’s identity politics, explaining differences via gendered system  Listen to people’s different experiences Research Approaches: Critical (Post-Structuralism) - Explain society by deconstructing multiple messages & recognizing difference o More concerned with language, text and power - Methods: textual content-analysis - Cultural geography example: o Explore social construction of race, taking it out of the normalized socio-spatial- historical contexts Research Approaches: Critical (Post-Colonialism) - Explain society by paying attention to the materiality of colonial and postcolonial processes - Methods: textual and visual content-analysis of colonial and postcolonial representations - Cultural geography example: o Explore how the social constructions of people in the third world is based on Eurocentric protocol of knowledge production In summary… - How you position yourself in philosophical debates influences how you do research - Diversity of research approaches are key to knowledge building Politics & Ethics Politics of Research (Institutional Factors) - Must recognize underlying social, political, economic trends influencing science - Pressure regarding research topics and results o Publication, granting industries, government agendas Politics of Research (Individual Factors) - Self-reflexivity o Acknowledging subjectivity o Research as experienced - Relations of power o Relationship between researcher and researched AND historical/material context o Reciprocal, as
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