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ROOTS: Rediscover the Origins Of Theoretical Space
Supporting Writing Sites:
Where did a particular location theoretical concept or idea come from? In this class project, we will look at the development of the ideas needed to create today's rather eclectic body of location theories and theories of spatial organization and behavior. Specifically, what did economists or geographers need to know or to contemplate in order to be able to theorize that a locational equilibrium would (or would not) result from a particular constellation of variables and assumptions, a spatial pattern would evolve or a specific social or institutional structure would have certain locational ramifications, etc.
Generally, there are two ways to account for the history of a discipline:
While the theoretical ideas covered in this class are not explicitly presented in a chronological order, you may wish to establish such a schematic chronology for different strands of locational thinking and to discover "Who inspired whom?" in the development of this body of theory over the past 200 years.
For our project, please select a location-theoretical concept (see list) which you feel you can (right-away or eventually) link to your area of interests. Then find an article (in an academic journal or edited book) published recently (start with the last 5 years), review this article and begin to
This (backward) tracing of ideas and contributions should enable you to find earlier literature. Select one article or book chapter each week for weekly reviews. These reviews should assess both, the general contribution of the piece to Location Theory or Economic Geography (and thereby contribute to your overview of the discipline AND the more specific contribution to the development of YOUR specific concept or its application to issues in Location Theory.
Otherwise, there are only few constraints to this project, since it is supposed to appeal to your imagination:
There is an almost infinite supply of sources available for this project. Certainly, your regular class readings will be useful. However, there are a few sources which are particularly bibliographic in nature and therefore more useful for tracing intellectual developments:
Classical and Neo-Classical Bodies of Location Theory
Notes on Further Readings
Notes on Further Readings
Behavioral, Organizational and Structuralist Approaches Useful references can also be found in these two lists:
Examples of Specific "Detective" Work in the Field of Economic Geography & Regional Science:
Other potentially useful historical accounts or summaries can be found in:
Some years ago, I compiled a "Locational Name-Dropping List" with names of people who contributed, directly or indirectly, to the development of spatial economic theory.
Since 1964, economists have been competing for Nobel Prizes. Looking through the list of award winners, one cannot but be amazed and gratified as to how many of them had a significant impact on Economic Geography in general and location theory in particular.
ECON 4033 History of Economic Thought. Spring 1995 D.E.R. Gay,
Classes such as this are frequently taught in Economics, less often in
Geography. For us, this class can serve two functions: It can serve as an
example as to how to link present ideas to historical VIPs. Since Location
Theory is to a large extent economic theory, we find the larger context
for our body of theory in Economics, in spite of the fact that we
hardly find references to location theory in Economics.
Presentation: Clearly, the most appropriate mode of presentation of this project would your direct contribution to the Resource Page in Economic Geography. Several undergraduate students in Economic Geography have recognized the value of learning the few fundamental skills needed to get a Home Page established. There is help available, I encourage you to seek it, let me know if you want to venture into something new and exciting. The presentation in "hard copy" is in many ways more difficult. I do not encourage you to write an essay-type paper, but to develop "blocks" (i.e. brief, crisp and concise statements about individual contributions to location theory or annotations to pieces in the literature constituting major stepping stones in the development of the body of theory which you are interested in. These "blocks" then could be linked by "annotated arrows", i.e. your "historical information map" could be introduced by a graphic scheme with names (theories or references to contributions) and arrows where the significance of names and arrows would both explained in extended footnotes or brief statements ("blocks") on separate pages.
Methodologies / Scientific Histories /Locational-Bibliographic Detective Work / Library Searches:
The Social science Citation Index covers journals online since 1980; however, cited literature goes, of course, back much further. "Provides access to current information and retrospective data from 1956 forward. As of January 1992, contains searchable, full-length, English-language author abstracts for approximately 60% of the articles in the database." For earlier (on-paper) coverage, please inquire at the Reference Desk in Suzzalo.
Although I have referred to "books", you may find other kinds of library material useful as well. "Journals" are magazines of a scholarly kind that publish essays about literature (or other fields of study) and there are thousands of them. Only a few, however, typically publish articles that touch directly on Sherlock Holmes,...
"One way to locate the resources that were used in a given piece of scientific work is to trace the citations to publications or to private communications it contains. To be sure, citations cannot be used blindly, because they may be merely pro forma, intended to acknowledge the existence of related projects in the same field, or to serve other, largely social purposes. ..." [p370]