The role of geography in public debate

Alexander B. Murphy, H. J. de Blij, Billie Turner, Ruth Wilson Gilmore, Derek Gregory

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

55 Scopus citations


Many geographers work on matters of great relevance for the issues facing society, but geography is rarely invoked in public debates over matters of contemporary concern. As a result, geographical perspectives are often missing from public discourse, and outmoded conceptions of geography are reinforced. This forum considers the importance and challenge of addressing this state of affairs. Four distinguished geographers who have been involved in different ways with the effort to raise geography's profile consider the possibilities and limitations of enhancing geography's public profile. Consideration is given to the prospects for raising the discipline's visibility in high-profile public venues, the role of geography in organized international research endeavors, the challenge of linking what geographers do to social activism, and the importance of questioning the unproblematized geographical ideas and discursive norms that already circulate in the public arena.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)165-193
Number of pages29
JournalProgress in Human Geography
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 2005


  • Geographic understanding
  • Geography's public presence
  • Institutional position
  • Social relevance

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geography, Planning and Development


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