Theory and Concepts in Human Geography: Summative Resit

The purpose of this assignment is to develop your ability to recognize and evaluate the implications of a specific theory for a particular geographical topic or issue. You’ll remember that the difference theories make – the question of what a theory does – is the key theme that runs through the course and makes the course important for your degree programme. The assignmenthones in on your ability to work through the difference a theory makes to geographical thought and practice and requires you to be precise, critical and creative when using the theory.The Term 2 seminars are designed to provide support for your essay, and the teaching staff will be happy to give you specific advice about their block. Irrespective of which question you choose, your essay should attempt to do the following:

  1. Summarise the main principles of the theory your essay is focused on, including how the theory emerged in geography and the difference, if any, it has made to geography in general. Please note: whilst we talk about ‘the’ or ‘a’ theory, each theory you’ve encountered on the course has changed over time, has a series of internal differences, and has been used alongside other theories. You should try and find a way of acknowledging and working with this complexity in your essay. 
  2. Show an understanding of the main concepts that make up the theory and how those concepts are currently used, have changed and how they relate to other concepts. 
  3. Relate the principles and concepts of your chosen theory to the issue (whiteness, securityetc). You need to ensure this is done carefully, critically and creatively. Ask yourself; how is the issue usually understood in geography, and what difference has, might or should the theory make? The best answers will use specific concepts from a theory – as well as discuss in more general terms – to rethink the issue.
  4. Ensure you evaluate how the theory offers an understanding of the issue. This means you need to show an appreciation of the main criticisms of the theory – and of the use of the theory in geography – and relate those criticisms to how the theory offers an understanding of the issue you’ve decided to look at.   
  5. If you wish you may include examples within your answer to illustrate or develop the points you are making, although this is not obligatory. Examples can come from the published literature, but don’t have to. For example, you may find a newspaper article that directly relates to the topic of your essay, or equivalent.
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