Articles | Volume 72, issue 1
Standard article
30 Jan 2017
Standard article |  | 30 Jan 2017

Ökonomische und politische Prinzipien im Umbruch: die „Quantitative Revolution“ der Geographie als Spiegel bürgerlichen Bewusstseins

Ulrich Eisel

Abstract. The quantitive revolution in geography was the methodological expression of a shift in paradigm. Nomological thinking took over from the idiographic approach of classic geography. The classic paradigm had been that of a desirable identity of concrete working, active humans with their concrete natural surroundings: landscape was imagined as Lebensraum. The logic of industrial production processes contrasts with this; it creates an identity of scientifically analysed human work sequences with machines, and it thus represents a form of adapting to nature by abstracting holistically integrated ways of carrying out work. The geographical paradigm had no theoretical tools with which to approach this relationship between humans and nature. With regard to the theoretical ideas underlying it, this methodological change corresponds, on the one hand, to the transition from following a humanist concept of the individual, which guides idiographic thinking, to using a democratic concept of the individual, which correlates with the principles of experiment-based empirical sciences. On the other hand, geography's move towards an abstract concept of space reflects the degree to which industrial production methods are abstracted. The spatial approach, the behavioural approach, and humanistic geography are interpreted and contrasted with the idiographic paradigm within this coordinate system.