Contemporary Social Change as the Context for Geographical Enquiry: Towards a Reinvigoration of the Concept of Place

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Abstract

The nature of contemporary social change is explored by posing questions about the implications of neoliberalism, the character of leisure, the perils of materialism, and the shift from consumption to consumerism. Momentum is a powerful force in human affairs. Investigating its nature illustrates how the concept of equilibrium has been given undue emphasis in models of human behaviour. Momentum encourages ‘more of the same’ and is implicated in the way people fail to use leisure fully or effectively and in the way they subscribe to an emphasis on materialism and consumption as a path to happiness. Geography needs to engage with popular social scientific writing if it is to have a place in public intellectual debate. In many ways contemporary social change promises a reinvigoration of the concept of place and therefore challenges to both the substance and nature of geographical inquiry.

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