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A Century of British Geography$
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Ron Johnston and Michael Williams

Print publication date: 2003

Print ISBN-13: 9780197262863

Published to British Academy Scholarship Online: January 2012

DOI: 10.5871/bacad/9780197262863.001.0001

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Physical geography and geography as an environmental science

Physical geography and geography as an environmental science

(p.93) 3 Physical geography and geography as an environmental science
A Century of British Geography

Ken Gregory

British Academy

The evolution of physical geography in Britain over the last 100 years cannot be divorced from developments elsewhere, and by the year 2000 it had become increasingly difficult to distinguish physical geography from other disciplines. Some periods have shown a net gain, during which British physical geography assimilated and responded to trends developed elsewhere, whereas in others British trends provided a lead (especially reflecting the inspiration given by particular individuals) that has been perceived to be internationally influential. Whereas nineteenth-century geography was more holistic in character, it is ironic that for much of the twentieth century it became increasingly reductionist, with the development of many separate sub-fields succeeded by trends, very evident at the millennium, of a discipline seeking holism again — clearly linking with environmental science. The foundations of twentieth-century British physical geography included a major component derived from geology.

Keywords:   Britain, physical geography, geography, environmental science, geology

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