GeographyWhy It Matters
Why It Matters

Ever since humans sketched primitive maps in the dirt, the quest to understand our surroundings has been fundamental to our survival. Studying geography revealed that the earth was round, showed our ancestors where to plant crops, and helped them appreciate the diversity of the planet.

Today, the physical and social composition of the world is changing at an unprecedented pace, as a result of rising sea levels, deforestation, species extinction, rapid urbanization and mass migration. Modern technologies have brought people from across the globe into contact with each other, with enormous political and cultural consequences. As a subject concerned with how people, environments, and places are organized and interconnected, geography provides a critical window into where things happen, why they happen where they do, and how geographic context influences environmental processes and human affairs. These perspectives make the study of geography more relevant than ever, yet it remains little understood.

In this engrossing book, Alec Murphy explains why geography is so important to the current moment. He invites readers to ‘think geographically’, casting a new light on familiar problems.

Introducing Polity’s <i>Why It Matters</i> series: In these short and lively books, world-leading thinkers make the case for the importance of their subjects and aim to inspire a new generation of students.

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  • September 2018
  • 140 pages
  • 124 x 190 mm / 5 x 7 in
Available Formats
  • Hardback $45.00
  • 9781509523009
  • Paperback $12.95
  • 9781509523016
  • Open eBook $12.95
  • 9781509523047
About the Author
Alexander B. Murphy is Professor of Geography and Rippey Chair in Liberal Arts & Sciences at the University of Oregon. He is a leading advocate for the study of geography at high school and university level, and the recipient of numerous awards for both teaching and research, including a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Association of American Geographers. He is the author of over 100 scholarly articles and several books that have been translated widely. He has travelled and conducted research on five continents.
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“This is a wonderful brief guide to the uses of geography as a field of study at a time when it is all too necessary.”
John Agnew, UCLA

“In a world of increasing specialization, it is crucial to understand the connections between spaces, places, and nature, between war, climate change, and economic inequality. This must-read book provides a riposte to all those who criticize geography as a generalist subject.”
Linda McDowell, University of Oxford

“I train geography teachers, so in reviewing this book I find myself asking, ‘should my trainees read this?’ The answer is a resounding yes... Murphy provides a timely reminder of why geography matters now more than ever.”
David Mitchell, Journal of Social and Cultural Geography

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