Chapter

The institutionalisation of geography as an academic discipline

Ron Johnston

in A Century of British Geography

Published by British Academy

Published in print September 2003 | ISBN: 9780197262863
Published online February 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191734076 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.5871/bacad/9780197262863.003.0003

Series: British Academy Centenary Monographs

The institutionalisation of geography as an academic discipline

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Although geography has a long history as an intellectual activity in the United Kingdom, it was only institutionalised as a separate academic discipline in the country's universities at the end of the nineteenth century. Its growth was very slow during the first half of the twentieth century but then accelerated rapidly — despite some setbacks in the 1960s. The process of institutionalisation involved the creation of a community of geographers within the British academic system, whose presence was accepted (and occasionally promoted) by the representatives of other disciplines. This chapter discusses the institutionalisation of British geography as an academic discipline and the role of scholarly societies such as the Royal Geographical Society in the emergence of geography, teaching of geography in British universities, geographers' changing intellectual concerns and their reactions to the institutional setting, and the research orientation of geography.

Keywords: British geography; United Kingdom; universities; institutionalisation; scholarly societies; Royal Geographical Society; geographers; research

Chapter.  21504 words. 

Subjects: Population and Demography

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