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Book Sections Year : 2022

A social history of quantitative geography in France from the 1970s to the 1990s

An overview of the blossoming of a multifaceted tradition

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Olivier Orain

Abstract

This chapter focuses on the history of the French “géographie théorique et quantitative” from its rise at the beginning of the 1970’s to its “climax” in the middle of the 1990’s, with a double emphasis on the social features of the movement and its singularities. The social and epistemological history that is provided is deliberately collective, because the movement was mostly supported by groups imbued with a collective spirit partly inherited from the events of May 68. As French geography isn’t well known abroad, providing a comprehensive and rather large narrative seemed a mandatory task for an international audience. First we try to explain why a “scientific revolution” occurred in the 1970’s, when different trends became explosive. Then we analyze these “revolutionary” seventies, keeping in mind that the actors remained a minority and that nothing like a replacement of the Vidalian paradigm occurred. Lastly, we explore the climax (1981-1996) when “spatial analysis” seemed to assume leadership over the whole of French geography.
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Dates and versions

halshs-03688549 , version 1 (05-06-2022)

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Olivier Orain. A social history of quantitative geography in France from the 1970s to the 1990s. Gyuris; Michel B.; Paulus K. Recalibrating the Quantitative Revolution in Geography. Travels, Networks, Translations, Routledge, pp.102-117, 2022, 9780367640866. ⟨10.4324/9781003122104-7⟩. ⟨halshs-03688549⟩
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