Acta Geographica Sinica ›› 2009, Vol. 64 ›› Issue (9): 1134-1142.doi: 10.11821/xb200909011

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Re-evaluating Schaefer and His Criticizing on Exceptionalism in Geography: A Case Study on the Innovation of Methodology

YE Chao,CAI Yun-long   

  1. College of Urban and Environmental Sciences,The Center for Geographical Science Study,Peking University,Beijing 100871,China
  • Received:2009-06-01 Revised:2009-06-29 Online:2009-09-25 Published:2009-09-25
  • Supported by:

    Innovation Method Fund of China, No.2007FY140800


Methodology is a key issue concerning the nature and development direction of geography. Case studies are an important method for methodological research. This paper takes "Exceptionalism in Geography: A Methodological Examination", a classical article in the history of geographical thought, and the debate caused by the article, as a case study. It re-examines and evaluates the background and significance of Schaefer-Hartshorne Debate and makes an in-depth analysis of the nature of the geographical methodology. The case study indicates that methodology is not a set of methods, but the scientism, logic and integration of methods. The basic nature of methodology is the evolutionary dynamics. The approaches to developing methodology in geography can be induced to the traditional type, the innovation type and the adaptation-based type, all of which are essential and equally important for geography. The development of methodology in geography experiences continuously a "negation of negation" dialectic process. Geographers should continue to pursue the methodological research. It is an ungent task for Chinese geographers to hunger for innovation of the methodological research, and a platform should be set up to discuss the methodology. This is the common responsibility of geographers.

Key words: methodology, geography, case study, exceptionalism, Schaefer-Hartshorne Debat