Geography’s phlogiston?

“Affect” is to early-21st century human geography what “phlogiston” was to late-18th century chemistry. Discuss.

An idle heretical thought for a Monday morning of marking… I’m not especially interested in rehashing the “emotion vs. affect” debate – just curious about how ideas take hold, get pushed, warped and then maybe break in favour of other ideas… I’m not saying that’s what’s happening with affect, but it’s a vaguely interesting thought experiment… I’m also not especially interested in the heated arguments that “affect” seems to attract… concepts are as good as the work they do, if they hide more than they explain, maybe its time for other concepts… that’s up to individual researchers probably.

It was actually while I was listening to Alice Evans talking to Ben Anderson in her podcast Four Questions that this thought began to crystallise… so, that’s the mark of a good podcast probably isn’t it..?

If I was a good ambitious REF-ready type I’m sure I’d write this up into an article or commentary for Transactions or something…

Back to marking (some good work)


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