スウェーデンにおける人文地理学の展開 [in Japanese] Development of Human Geography in Sweden [in Japanese]
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Despite its population of only 8.7 million, Sweden boasts of human geography which is highly respected around the world. The Lund school is known worldwide as having laid the cornerstone for theoretical and quantitative geography. There are also numerous Swedish human geographers of high stature in the International Geographical Union (IGU), as well as international research coordinators for such organizations as the United Nations, the World Bank, and UNESCO. Within their own country, Swedish human geographers have come to occupy important posts such as government legislators, university presidents, and directors of research institutes. Many human geographers also work in government and commune planning departments, and their opinions and advice for the formulation of regional policy are widely reported in the media. In Sweden, human geography is maintaining considerable influence in national and regional planning.<BR>Swedish human geography is an applied social science which seeks to resolve problems and issues. Not only are research themes and interests closely related to social conditions and policies, as one would expect, but even theories and methods developed by human geographers sometimes have such a relationship. The mass migrations to the cities in the 1950s led to the development of population movement theories, urban spatial structure theories, and predictions of future traffic flow, as well as research in the optimal placement of public and private facilities. The National Settlement Strategy, a plan formulated in the early 1970s, strengthened urban systems theory, central place theory, and industrial location theory, among others. The emergence and development of computer cartography in the 1960s was supported by the government's "geo-coding" policy for real estate and resident registration. And the Social Democratic Party's long-term policy to achieve an equal and just society which respects individual rights has always had a relationship with the development of temporal geography.<BR>We can therefore see that the theories and models of Swedish human geography have been created not by superficial considerations but through verification research, that is, they have been inductively derived by compiling the results of numerous case studies. Theories and models are, in effect, little more than methods, the development and use of which have provided effective means for solving problems. In the 1960s, human geography in Sweden was not absorbed in the quantitative spatial sciences which were sweeping the world at the time, because the boom in theoretical and quantitative geography did not happen here. The original quantitative methods and theories developed in Sweden were received with acclaim by international geographical circles, yet all the while the research of the Swedes themselves was not concerned with techniques and models but with processes and the structure of social space.<BR>This likely has something to do with Sweden's low population and population density. Or perhaps it could be a reflection of the respect of the Swedish people for individuals and individual rights. Rather than macro research, which concerns itself with regional and distributional differences, Swedish human geographers prefer research of small regions at the non-aggregate level. This trend is believed to have been gradually strengthening in recent years against the backdrop of the diffusion of decentralization policy and the maturation of the individual-and consumer-oriented societies. Fields in which interest is particularly high and which will probably become more active in the coming years include environmental issues, preservation of the cultural landscape, community research, gender geography, international economic geography, and Third World studies.
- J. Geogr.
J. Geogr. 105(4), 411-430, 1996-08-25
Tokyo Geographical Society