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Publication Detail
Decolonizing Geography and Access to Powerful Disciplinary Knowledge
  • Publication Type:
    Journal article
  • Publication Sub Type:
    Article
  • Authors:
    Standish A
  • Publisher:
    Bilingual Publishing Co.
  • Publication date:
    30/11/2019
  • Journal:
    Journal of Geographical Research
  • Volume:
    2
  • Issue:
    3
  • Status:
    Published online
Abstract
This article engages with and aims to advance the debate about Decolonizing geography, examining its approach to knowledge and its implications for the discipline. Decolonizers draw heavily upon social constructivist and historically-rooted notions of knowledge which emphasize its embeddedness in power relations. While shedding light on the social and political conditions under which knowledge is produced is valuable, its context-dependent view of knowledge limits its scope to account for disciplinary knowledge. Taking a particularistic epistemology which conflates knowledge with experience is insufficient to explain the historical evolution of theoretical and disciplinary frameworks. Denying the potential for and even the desirability of context-independent (theoretical) knowledge Decolonizing geography can be read as post-disciplinary and post-universal, potentially denying that geography can offer all students, regardless of their background, access to powerful knowledge and insights. Here, social realism is proposed as an alternative approach to knowledge which accounts for both the social context of knowledge production and its distinctive epistemic qualities. An epistemological framework for geography is examined which demonstrates the relationship between propositional (conceptual), contextual and procedural knowledge, and why all three are essential for the student of geography.
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