John Wiley & Sons Theory and Explanation in Geography Cover Grounded in a generous reading of a multitude of critical approaches in human geography and their di.. Product #: 978-1-119-84549-2 Regular price: $69.07 $69.07 In Stock

Theory and Explanation in Geography

Yeung, Henry Wai-chung

RGS-IBG Book Series

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1. Edition October 2023
336 Pages, Hardcover
Wiley & Sons Ltd

ISBN: 978-1-119-84549-2
John Wiley & Sons

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Grounded in a generous reading of a multitude of critical approaches in human geography and their diverse conceptions of theory, Theory and Explanation in Geography draws upon cutting-edge debates on the mechanism-based approach to theory and explanation in analytical sociology, political science, and the philosophy of social sciences to inform current and future geographical thinking on theory. Detailing why and how mid-range explanatory theories can be better developed through causal mechanisms and relational thinking that have been revitalized in the social sciences, this is an essential read for academics, geographers, and scholars seeking unique perspective on an important facet of the field.

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THEORY AND EXPLANATION IN GEOGRAPHY

"With this book Henry Yeung puts Geography back into the driver's seat of new theory development. Foregrounding mid-range theories and mechanism-based explanations, he offers a pragmatic approach that has the capacity to shape the wider social sciences for years to come. The timing of this intervention is pitch-perfect, as scholars search for ways to understand and intervene in an increasingly distrustful and polarized world."
--KATHARYNE MITCHELL, Distinguished Professor, University of California, Santa Cruz, USA

"In Theory and Explanation in Geography Yeung presents us with a rare thing - an argument for geographical theory with forms of causal explanation at its heart. The book is both modest and ambitious. Modest in its insistence on mid-level theory without a call for some new "turn" or advocacy for any particular approach. Ambitious in its insistence that existing theoretical traditions are inadequate or incomplete insofar as they lack causal explanatory power. Geographers will be inspired and/or infuriated by Yeung's arguments in this provocative and cogently argued call to theoretical arms for many years to come."
--Tim Cresswell, Ogilvie Professor of Geography, University of Edinburgh, UK

"Critical human geography possesses a distinctive theory culture--pluralist, creative, distributed, restless, contested--prone to "turning," wary of orthodoxies and fixed positions. In this original and provocative contribution, the leading economic geographer Henry Yeung steps out beyond his home turf to engage styles and practices of theorizing across this diverse field, carving out a new remit and rubric for middle-range theorizing."
--JAMIE PECK, Canadian Research Chair and Distinguished University Scholar, University of British Columbia, Canada

Grounded in a generous reading of a multitude of critical approaches in human geography and their diverse conceptions of theory, Theory and Explanation in Geography draws upon cutting-edge debates on the mechanism-based approach to theory and explanation in analytical sociology, political science, and the philosophy of social sciences to inform current and future geographical thinking on theory. This consolidated conceptual work represents an extension and much further development of the author's well-cited works on relational geography, critical realism and causal explanation, process-based methodology, globalization and the theory of global production networks, and "theorizing back" and situated knowledges that were published in leading journals in Geography.

The work has several chapters that identify new directions for Geography's current and future engagement with the wider social sciences and relevant research agendas in geographical thought. Its main chapters provide the necessary conceptual toolkits for mobilizing such an expanding research program in the 2020s and beyond. Compared to typical texts on geographical thought, this book is less retrospective and historical and more prospective in nature. Detailing why and how mid-range explanatory theories can be better developed through causal mechanisms and relational thinking that have been revitalized in the social sciences, Theory and Explanation in Geography is an essential read for academics, geographers, and scholars seeking unique perspective on an important facet of the field.

List of Tables ix

List of Figures x

Preface and Acknowledgement xi

1. Critical Human Geography Today: A Multitude of Approaches and Concepts? 1

Main Argument and Approach 5

Important Caveats: What This Book Is Not About 9

Key Considerations: Of/For Theory and Explanation 15

Chapter Outlines 20

Notes 26

2. Contemporary Geographical Thought: Theory and Explanation 36

Theory in Marxism 42

Theories in Poststructuralism and Post-Phenomenology/Posthumanism 44

Actor-Network Theory 45

Non-Representational Theory 50

Assemblage Theory 54

Post-Phenomenology and Posthumanism 62

Theories in Feminism and Postcolonialism 67

Feminist Theory 69

Postcolonial Theory 76

Notes 81

3. What Kind of Theory for What Kind of Human Geography? 95

Analytical Geographies: Theory and Explanation in Geography 97

From Concepts to Theories 99

From Theory to Explanation in Geography 103

Mid-Range Theories: Critical Realism, Causal Mechanisms, and Relational Thinking 107

What Realism -- Critical and/or Speculative? 109

Causal Mechanisms and Relational Thinking in Mid-Range Theories 116

Notes 121

4. Relational Theory 129

Relationality and Relational Thought in Contemporary Human

Geography 131

Relationality in Marxian and Institutional Geographies 134

Relational Thought in Poststructuralist, Feminist, and Postcolonial Geographies 139

Making Things Happen: Towards a Relational Theory 151

Rethinking Relational Thought: Relationality and Power 153

Causal Powers and Relationality in Relational Geometries 157

Notes 165

5. Mechanism and Process in Causal Explanation 173

Theorizing Mechanism in Causal Explanation 175

Reconceptualizing Mechanism, Process, and Context 178

Causal Theory and Actors 185

Processual Thought in Geography 188

From Process to Mechanism: Explanatory Theory/Theorizing in Geography 195

Why Neoliberalization? 196

Neoliberalization: What's in a Process and What Can Go Wrong? 199

Explaining Neoliberalism 'with Chinese Characteristics': How Might the Process-Mechanism Distinction Work? 203

Notes 207

6. Theorizing Globalization: Explanatory Theory, Situated Knowledges, and 'Theorizing Back' 212

Globalization as Geographical Processes 215

A Causal Theory of Global Production Networks: Explaining Globalization and Its Socio-Spatial Outcomes 221

Beyond Situated Knowledges: 'Theorizing Back' and Making Theory Work 228

Are Situated Knowledges Good Enough? 229

Theorizing Back: Strategic Coupling and Global Economic Geographies 235

Making Theory Work: The Trouble with Global Production Networks 240

Notes 245

7. What Kind of Geography for What Kind of Social Science? 252

Towards Analytical Geographies: Mid-Range Geographical Theories for Social Science 256

Beyond 'Academic Esotericism': Analytical Geographies for Public Engagement and Policy 261

Notes 266

References 269

Index 313
"With this book Henry Yeung puts Geography back into the driver's seat of new theory development. Foregrounding mid-range theories and mechanism-based explanations, he offers a pragmatic approach that has the capacity to shape the wider social sciences for years to come. The timing of this intervention is pitch-perfect, as scholars search for ways to understand and intervene in an increasingly distrustful and polarized world." - Katharyne Mitchell, Distinguished Professor, University of California, Santa Cruz, USA


"Critical human geography possesses a distinctive theory culture--pluralist, creative, distributed, restless, contested--prone to "turning," wary of orthodoxies and fixed positions. In this original and provocative contribution, the leading economic geographer Henry Yeung steps out beyond his home turf to engage styles and practices of theorizing across this diverse field, carving out a new remit and rubric for middle-range theorizing." - Jamie Peck, Canadian Research Chair and Distinguished University Scholar, University of British Columbia, Canada
Henry Wai-chung Yeung is Distinguished Professor in the Department of Geography and Co-Director of Global Production Networks Centre at the National University of Singapore, Singapore. He is the recipient of multiple research awards, including the 2022 Sir Peter Hall Award for Lifetime Contribution by the Regional Studies Association in the UK, the 2018 Distinguished Scholarship Honors by the American Association of Geographers, and the 2017 Murchison Award by the Royal Geographical Society, UK.

H. W.-c. Yeung, National University of Singapore, Singapore