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moral geography


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Studies of the interactions and variations within morality, place, and space, such as the analysis of global variations in moral beliefs and practices; ‘perspectives on human geography with a normative emphasis’ (D. Smith2000). Smith stresses the need for geographers to engage with moral issues, asking: does distance diminish responsibility? Should we interfere with the lives of those we do not know? Is there a distinction between private and public space? Which values and morals, if any, are absolute, and which cultural, communal, or personal? And are universal rights consistent with respect for difference?

Castree (2007) Int. J. Reg. Res. 31, 4 argues that all workers, knowingly or not, operate with moral geographies: ‘moral geographies matter because they are the ethical basis for all worker solidarity and division, at whatever geographical scale happens to interest us.’ Whitehead (2003) Ethics, Place & Env. 6, 3 argues that, in addition to geographical space, geographical scale also plays a crucial role in the construction and maintenance of moral frameworks. See also R. Lee and D. Smith, eds (2004).

Subjects: Earth Sciences and Geography.


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