The idea of the region has been a central concept in the understanding of the natural environment, of human society and culture, and of their interactions, from the ancient Greeks to the present. In this book Paul Claval provides a critical introduction to the ways in which the concept of the region has been, is, and could be used to make sense of spatial organization and areal variation in human activities. He examines both economic and policy issues, and relates these to culture, regional identity and ecology.The book is divided into three parts. Part I provides a concise account of regional studies from the ancient Greeks to the present. It then outlines the main current issues in regional geography. Part II describes the main perspectives on the division of space, the different kinds and typologies of regions, and contrasting modes of regional representation. Paul Claval also examines here how ecological, economic, social, cultural, and political phenomena can be understood through their areal variations. Part III looks at how states and non-state societies organize themselves regionally and of the evolution in contemporary dynamics of such modes of organization.
The author shows how the perception, representation, imposition and claiming of regions changes from non-state societies, through traditional to industrial societies, and considers the merging of territorial borders of a globalized world economy. This is a complete and penetrating survey of the regional concept as a key to the geographical imagination. Written by France's most prominent geographer, it draws equally on Anglo-American intellectual traditions, and is illustrated by a wide range of examples drawn from all over the world.
Paul Claval is Emeritus Professor at the University of Paris IV, Sorbonne. He is the author of over twenty texts spanning human, social, economic and cultural geography. He is regarded as France's leading contributor to the history and philosophy of geographical thought and its relationship to the natural and social sciences generally.
List of Figures. Translator's Preface. Introduction. Part I: The Regional Approach: 1. The Development of Regional Studies. 2. The Regional Approach. 3. Methods of Regionalization. Part II: Factors of the Division and of the Regional Organization of Space: 4. The Ecological Foundations of Regional Geography. 5. The Economic Foundations of Regional Geography. 6. The Social and Cultural Dimensions of Regional Geography. 7. Regional Consciousness and Identity. 8. The Region and Political Life. Part III: The Forms and the Evolution of Regional Organization: 9. The Evolution of Forms of Regional Organization, Societies within a State. 10. The Regional Organization of Traditional Societies. 11. Forms of Regional Organization Stemming from the Industrial Revolution. 12. Globalization and the New Territorial Order. Conclusion. Index.
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