Human Geography, Interactive Study Questions: Chapter 08

Click on each question to check your answer.

1. Briefly describe what is meant by “positionality” of the researcher.

The idea of positionality contests the positivistic claim that research can be value neutral. Post-modern perspectives claim that the researcher cannot be neutral and so, instead, it is important for the researcher to identify his or her own ideological preferences and identity and examine how this relates to the research subject.

2. How can gender be perceived in landscape?

Gender can be studied in landscape through the identification of the reproduction of gender roles and relationships. Symbols of patriarchy—male dominance over females—can be seen in cultural symbolism, such as the choice of statues or names of places. Further, gender can be perceived in the design of space in terms of how genders interact in these places and the associated power relations.

3. How do human geographers incorporate queer theory into their studies?

Queer theory is seen in human geography through the identification and study of the fluidity of sexuality in space. In particular, geographers might study the gradual identification of some parts of urban centres as a commercial area where gays and lesbians frequent. Further to this, researchers also study how these informal “gay” versus “straight” boundaries arise, and the opposition to the use of space outside this commercial district for gay and lesbian activities and celebration.

4. What is the difference between mass tourism and ecotourism?

Mass tourism is a form of mass consumption involving the purchase of commodities and the continual development of new attractions—often different sites are essentially similar, leading to the homogenization of place. Meanwhile, ecotourism wants participants to experience a distinctive ecosystem that is different from other places and to limit their consumption in an attempt to lessen tourist impact on land.

5. In what ways is ethnicity poorly defined?

One researcher examined 65 studies of ethnicity and found that 52 did not offer an explicit definition of ethnicity. Much confusion results from the fact that ethnicity is a concept that defines a social group not living in its homeland in which the members perceive themselves as sharing a common ancestry and culture and therefore different than others in the host country. This difference may be difficult to define and further confusion occurs when the terms “race” and “minority” are used in definitions, since these terms are highly contested in themselves.