Unpacking geography: a brief history, 1973–2013


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In this paper I describe the changing use of the figurative term ‘unpack’ in Anglo-American geographical writing between 1973 and 2013. I present the results of a survey of the term's occurrence, across four decades, in five leading geography journals. I conclude by discussing the implications of ‘unpack’ as a critical instruction and reflecting on what that term's deployment reveals about the prioritisation of scholarly activities in geographical research.