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The Hettner-Hartshorne connection: reconsidering the process of reception and transformation of a geographic concept

Author(s): Francis harvey | Ute Wardenga

Journal: Finisterra : Revista Portuguesa de Geografia
ISSN 0430-5027

Volume: XXXIII;
Issue: 65;
Start page: 131;
Date: 1998;
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Keywords: Hettner | Hartshorne | Allgemeine Geographie | Landerkunde | idiographic | nomothesis | Hartshorne-Schaefer debate

This contribution examines the process of reception and transformation of a geographic concept on the exemple of the connection between Alfred Hettner and Richard Hartshorne. The first part sketches the development and structure of Hettner's theoretical construction of geography. This examiation shows that commonly held perceptions until now are the results of a reception that only partially, and in parts erroneously, represent Hettner's thinking. The second part illustrates how Richard Hartshorne received Hettner's concept. Hartshorne, like Hettner's German colleagues, did not grasp the underlying meaning of Hettner's work. However, in contrast to many German geographers, he did understand important aspects of Hettner's approach, like, for exemple, the relational approach to the "region", the problem of regionalization,and the relationship between idiography and nomothesis. The third part shows how German geographers' understanding of Hettner's concept was influenced by the Hartshorne-Schaefer debate in the 1970s.
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