- Anne Buttimer, University College Dublin, Ireland and Tom Mels, University of Kalmar, Sweden
Swedish society has recurrently shown a keen geographical sense, meticulously documenting all matters relating to environments, resources and human activities through space and time from the sixteenth century on. Throughout the twentieth century in particular, Sweden won international acclaim for its groundbreaking geographic work on spatial planning, climate change, time-space modelling and landscape history by the likes of Ahlmann, De Geer, Enequist, Hägerstrand, Kant, Olsson and William-Olsson. More recently, with the rising tide of post modernity and multiple processes of globalization, there has been a good deal of debate about novel lines of enquiry into nature and culture, issues of gender, identity and diversity, justice and environmental concern; all of these have sparked a renewed interest in the history and philosophy of the field.
Following on from Anne Buttimer's renowned Geography and the Human Spirit, this book not only offers the first book length contextual account of the development of geographic thought in Sweden, but also provides a narrative thread which traces continuity and change in both cognitive styles and professional practices of geography in general.
Contents: Science, Society and Sources of Geography in Sweden (Sixteenth to Twentieth Centuries): Introduction; From Vasa Empire to patriot nation; Modernity and model welfare state; Saecuritas I: welfare for all (1920s–World War II); Saecuritas II: toward a new Swedish geography (late 1940s to mid-1970s); Chiasmus (mid-1970s–2000). On the Disciplining of Geography in Sweden: Introduction; An interview with Torsten Hägerstrand; Meaning, metaphor, milieu and horizon: reflections on career experiences; Apprenticing for Geography in Twentieth Century Sweden: 1890–2000; Geography as social science: concluding reflections; Bibliography; Appendix A: doctoral dissertations in Swedish Geography 1884–2000; Index.
About the Author: Anne Buttimer is Professor Emeritus of Geography at University College Dublin, Ireland, and has previously held research and teaching positions in Belgium, Canada, France, Scotland, Sweden and the USA. She was invited to Sweden first in 1973 and her interactions with Swedish colleagues continue to this day. She was Visiting Fulbright Professor of Social Ecology at Lund University in 1976 and was full-time researcher there during 1977-1979 and 1982-1988.
Tom Mels studied human geography and environmental science at the University of Utrecht, the Netherlands. He completed his doctoral thesis at Lund University in 1999 and is currently a lecturer of human geography at the University of Kalmar, Sweden. In the academic year 2001-2002, he visited the Geography Department at University College Dublin for post-doctoral research. His research interests include critical geographies of landscape and nature.
Reviews: ‘For the last half century, Sweden has been a global epicentre for stirring up innovation waves in human geography. For any one who wants to understand the deep roots of the “Swedish phenomenon”, this thoughtful book by Buttimer and Mels – with unique contributions by the late Torsten Hägerstrand – is a must.’
Peter Haggett, University of Bristol, UK
‘Rooted in the meeting and blending of two of the most brilliant and influential minds in geography of the last half century, this opus is nothing less than a path-breaking post-disciplinary history of a discipline – a masterpiece in the contextual analysis of the geohistory of thought. It links the making of geography as discipline to the making of geographies in the real world, packed with matter and meaning, the places in which we make our lives. Fascinating, refreshing, in places exciting, this book deserves a much wider audience than geographers and historians of science. The challenging vista it opens up to paths ahead should interest everyone concerned about the role of science in navigating our common future.’
Eric Clark, Lund University, Sweden
‘This is a wonderfully expressive history of a discipline in its context…fascinating, illuminating and inspiring. As an intellectual history of the development of the discipline of geography in the context of its Swedish time and its Swedish place, it is superb.’ Geography
‘During the past decades some books and a number of articles…dealing with the history and development of geography in Sweden have been published, but the book under review is without doubt penetrating geography in Sweden in a deeper and more profiled way than the other publications…It contributes new knowledge on the general subject of geographical thought and the special subject of the making of geography in Sweden. The authors have managed to produce a qualified and interesting book.’
Geografiska Annaler B: Human Geography
'…By Northern Lights provides a detailed account of the history of Swedish geography, which has been long-overdue and should long stand as a reference not only on geography in Sweden but the practice of the historiography of geography.'
'I have no doubt that this book should be of great interest to any geographer interested in the intellectual history of the discipline.'
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