In This Article Expand or collapse the "in this article" section Cultural Geography

  • Introduction
  • Country Overviews
  • Textbooks
  • Handbooks and Readers
  • Dictionaries
  • Progress Reports
  • Journals
  • Traditional Cultural Geography
  • New Cultural Geography
  • Cultural Turn
  • Doing Cultural Geography

Related Articles Expand or collapse the "related articles" sectionabout

Forthcoming Articles Expand or collapse the "forthcoming articles" section



Geography Cultural Geography
Lily Kong, Junxi Qian
  • LAST REVIEWED: 15 April 2021
  • LAST MODIFIED: 26 September 2022
  • DOI: 10.1093/obo/9780199874002-0003


Since the early 1990s, cultural geography has become one of the most vibrant branches of human geography. Indeed, the influence of the cultural is so pronounced in human geography that it is not always clear if some of the scholarly work constitutes cultural geography or simply a “culturalization” of other subdisciplines. The lines between cultural and social geography are particularly unclear. For example, research on sexuality, diaspora, transnationalism, disability, and so forth clearly has social dimensions as well as cultural ones. Given the ambiguities and the enlarged sphere of cultural influence, the approach adopted here in introducing research and publications in cultural geography respects the following principles. First, it is historically sensitive; that is, the works introduced begin with traditional cultural geography and move on to new cultural geography. Similarly, numerous concepts introduced below have been central or fashionable for cultural geographers at different times in the development of the subdiscipline (for example, sense of place preceded ideology, hegemony, and resistance, which in turn preceded performance, performativity, embodiment, affect, and emotion). Second, it is philosophically situated, meaning the works introduced are organized within a framework of the larger philosophical shifts in human geography. Third, it is focused in terms of its scope, some might even say narrow, concentrating on expressions that are clearly cultural (e.g., literature, art, music, digital culture, etc.) rather than social or social-cultural (e.g., disability, gender, sexuality, diaspora), which are more often examined in the context of social geography.

Country Overviews

The works in this section offer overviews of the development of social and cultural geographies in a total of twenty-two countries or regions. All were written in the late 1990s and the new millennium, and all seek to reflect contemporary developments as well as the histories of social and cultural geographies. They demonstrate the geographies of knowledge and knowledge production. Kitchin 2007 brings together essays that first appeared in the journal Social and Cultural Geography, at which point a submission on China’s cultural geography was not available. This area is covered in Kong 2010 and later in Zhu, et al. 2014 from an insider’s perspective. The journal Social and Cultural Geography also published a number of essays under the category “country report” and reviews the developments of social and cultural geography in multiple contexts beyond the Anglo-American core of knowledge production. Interested readers can revisit these essays.

  • Kitchin, Rob, ed. Mapping Worlds: International Perspectives on Social and Cultural Geographies. London: Routledge, 2007.

    Very useful overviews of the status of social and cultural geography research in twenty-one countries and regions. This is a good introduction to the geographical specificities of social and cultural geography.

  • Kong, Lily. “China and Geography in the 21st Century: A Cultural (Geographic) Revolution?” Eurasian Geography and Economics 51.5 (2010): 600–618.

    DOI: 10.2747/1539-7216.51.5.600

    Missing from Kitchin 2007 is an overview of the cultural geography in and of China. This piece offers an overview and critique.

  • Zhu, Hong, Xiaoliang Chen, and Junxi Qian. “Charting the Development of Social and Cultural Geography in Mainland China: Voices from the Inside.” Social & Cultural Geography 15.3 (2014): 255–283.

    DOI: 10.1080/14649365.2014.883423

    Supplements Kong 2010 by providing a summary of social and cultural geography in China from the perspective of those working within the Chinese academia.

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