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《Geographical Research》 2018-10
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The overview of research areas of Chinese Mainland's social and cultural geography

CHEN Xiaoliang;ZHU Hong;School of Geographical Science, Center for Human Geography and Urban Development,Guangzhou University;  
The discipline of human geography in China has travelled a difficult and tortuous path towards development. Since the reform and opening-up policy, the sub-discipline of social and cultural geography has gradually revived in accordance with human geography's renaissance in academia, but its relatively marginal position has not significantly changed. This article provides an overview of the recent development of social and cultural geography in China with its focus on five bodies of work: cultural areas, cultural diffusion and cultural integration;geographies of ethnic cultures; cultural landscape and cultural economy; place and place-based politics; marginal social groups. Three characteristics of the social and cultural geography in the mainland of China emerged in the past few years.(1) The research paradigms become diverse.(2) The applications of theories become trans-disciplinary.(3) The research topics are expanded. In sum, since the 1990 s, the Western geographical studies have started to reform based on the "cultural turn". Within this new research paradigm, space and place become no longer empty container or entity but root in the specific social discourse, non-substance,flexible, and an essence dimension of the production of cultural meaning and social relations.At the same time, the critics of "logocentrism" on the perspective of post-modernism in the Western academia bring out the discussion of spatial heterogeneity, pluralism, justice and righteousness. The past two decades witnessed a growing concern of theoretical dialogues between Chinese and Anglo-American academia; many new thoughts and theories from AngloAmerican world were introduced to China. In this article, we argue it is urgent for us to start the constructive academic dialogues with Chinese characteristics. Besides, the empirical evidence should be situated in the perspectives of "human-place" thought and contribute to the theoretical debate rather than just case studies. Nevertheless, to transfer Chinese philosophy and practical theories into an important school and break the dual structure of binary oppositions, as well as to seek the diverse ways of explaining identities, we need to start from the perspective of criticism and self-reflexivity and deconstruct the Western knowledge and the hegemony of epistemology. Moreover, future studies of social and cultural geography should straddle on the interdisciplinary perspective and focus more on the present social issues.
【Fund】: 国家自然科学基金项目(41601133);; 国家自然科学基金重点项目(41630635)
【CateGory Index】: K901
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