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As geografias da geografia

The geographies of geography

As geografias da Geografia
Les géographies de la géographie
Raimundo Nonato Junior
Cet article est une traduction de :
As geografias da Geografia [pt]
Autre(s) traduction(s) de cet article :
Les géographies de la géographie [fr]


Présentation de la rubrique « Les géographies de la géographie » de la revue Confins, qui expose les éléments fondamentaux de la recherche, les fondements et les premières considérations théorico-méthodologiques à cet égard. Cet article introductif lance la provocation épistémologique du projet, qui vise à analyser la présence de la géographie dans le monde à partir de la diversité des publications qui présentent « ce qu’est la géographie (et comment elle est faite) » dans différents contextes.

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1This issue of Confins is launching a new section entitled “The Geographies of Geography”. In it, we will present how knowledge in geography is present in the world through cartographies, images, institutions and characters that build geography around the globe.

2Thus, this is a space both epistemological, recovering classic and contemporary perspectives on “What is Geography” and how knowledge in this area is present in different parts of the world, reflecting on: “What kind of geography is done? How is it done? Where it is distributed and why geography is still a living and active area of knowledge in different spaces and scales.

3The aim is to map the geographies (spatial configurations) produced by geography ( geographical science) around the globe at different scales. In this way, we are interested in discussing very different perspectives on the presence of geographical knowledge in the contemporary world, from the traditional institutions that represent the field (associations, societies, clubs), starting from geography departments with different profiles (universities, institutes and schools), to the geographical experiences of groups with different ways of practicing, living, teaching or researching geography around the world (traditional communities, societies from different regional, environmental and social contexts). As one of the main objectives is the international dissemination of geographical experiences around the world, we have launched this presentation in the two official languages of the journal (French and Portuguese), as well as in English. Whenever possible, articles related to this section will be published in more than one language.

4In this introductory text to the section, we present a brief profile with the first elements on: the scientific positioning of geography we will take into account when starting the publications; the problem that this section will try to answer; and an initial overview of the reality to be studied. The theoretical deepening of this perspective of study will be part of the next publications, constituting an epistemology driven by the practice of the actions presented.

5This journey begins in 2024 and aims to take a long journey to show the multiple colors painted by geography on the map of the world.

Thinking about geography

6The world is a restless object of study. It turns in many directions. It is fascinating because of its capacity for transformation, adaptation and evolution. In it, the concept of space is represented both by the materiality of things (what we see, touch, measure) and by the poetics attached to each object (the dreams and values we ascribe to the objects of space). Moreover, the world is at once a hybrid object: it is always physical (because we never escape nature) and human (because what we know about the world is always our own interpretation). It is in this complex web that the concept of geography is produced in different approaches (Santos, 2014, Brunet, 2004, Claval, 2017, Monbeig, 1957), we can present them in at least three ways: acquaintance, knowledge and science.

7Geography as acquaintance is part of each of our lives, whether we study it or only understand it. This is because the practical dimension of this concept is linked to our survival as a species. The practical geography of our lives is with us from birth to death. It is represented by the spatial concepts forming the elementary structures of the psyche, of personal and group orientation, of the socialization of human beings from their childhood, of their environment and of all the landscapes, parts of the formation of a subject throughout his or her life. In this way, geography as acquaintance is the reading of the space making us subjects, parts of a totality in the world and the universe. It is an ancestral condition linked to the gregarious elements of the formation of the human species and its ability to situate itself in space, to locate itself, to circulate, to share, to dispute and to live through all the obstacles or advantages linked to our physical and social insertion.

8From the moment human subjects become interested in reading space and producing ideas, philosophies, memories and conjectures about it, we enter the dimension of geography as knowledge. In other words, it's a matter of looking at geographical objects as materials capable of making us think beyond our own experience and knowledge of the space we live in, and of relating it to others through a curious observation of the world. Thus, since our ancestors, many philosophies have been produced that try to explain “where” we are and what the connections are between “where”, “me”, “others” and “Nature”, producing a geography as a form of knowledge of/about/in the world. This knowledge continues to be produced in different groups of popular knowledge, civil society, social movements, corporate organizations and scientific institutions. In this sense, there is a dialogue with the premises of the “geography of knowledge” (Nonato Junior, 2016; Nonaka and Takeuchi, 2008; Nonato Junior et Le Tourneau, 2020) and the “geographical intelligence” manifested by the different groups and actors producing geographical knowledge (Nonato Junior, 2023). In this dimension, in addition to the interface with the natural and social sciences about the nature-society dimension, there is also an interface with environmental psychology with regard to human-environment interactions in their multiple forms of knowledge production and the constitution of subjects in symbiosis with geographical space (ObPALA, 2023).

9These institutions then produce the third perspective we have mentioned: geography as a science. The diversity of geographical science needs to be better understood by geographers if they are to formulate the best debate for their discipline in today's world. The multiple manifestations of regional, physical and human geography around the world make it one of the most challenging sciences. Any unity conceived in this field is already a mosaic of different ways of approaching the relationship between man and nature, as well as the different scientific methods and methodologies resulting from such studies. From the Equator to the polar ice caps, from the oceans to the continents, from human groupings to natural features, there is much to understand about the diversity and richness of geographical science.

10The importance of revisiting these three perspectives on geography (acquaintance, knowledge, science) is contained in the title “The geographies of geography” as it will relate experiences including all three situations. While in some articles we will present different scientific spaces and their perspectives, in others we will be able to evoke the geography carried on by different social groups, such as traditional peoples, based on knowledge not necessarily guided by scientific geography. This movement will be important in giving visibility to geographies practiced by non-hegemonic groups (and in non-hegemonic spaces), while also providing opportunities for democratization and diversity in the philosophical production of geography. Similarly, other publications could prioritize the institutionalization of the field globally, emphasizing its philosophical and associative potential as well as its dimension as knowledge. The three perspectives are interrelated, woven together like a woolen cloth, but they present nuances whose specificities must be considered.

Making silence speak

11Investing in a broad perspective to study a discipline always means trying to “make silence speak” (Chaui, 2000), in other words, to give voice to the silences about a particular field of knowledge. In the case of geography, even though this field of knowledge has a long tradition in different parts of the world, there is considerable silence in the world about the geographies of geography. Where is knowledge produced? How is this knowledge institutionalized, organized and manifested in different political and academic systems? From what perspective do different scientific educations construct different geographies within the same space? Or, more interestingly, how do all these geographies present elements converging in the same area, constituting a geography plural in its manifestations but singular in its epistemology? How do students from different parts of the world learn geography in University, school and other spaces? What are the social practices of geography beyond the scientific walls and create a landscape of this field of knowledge in the world? Who are the actors in the research and institutionalization of geography, as well as the events and organizations in the world we can present in order to better understand the diversity of the field and its constant updating? Which practices of the study of nature characterize the landscapes of geography in our time?

12These are some of the first questions considered in the next publications under this heading, in an attempt to bring some “sounds” into the “silence” hitherto prevailing on the geography of geography in the world. With a few musical phrases, may we be able to initiate elements of a song that will animate this silence and, who knows, may one day become a symphony of many movements.

Taking the first steps

13Great geographers have repeatedly taught us two important observations we want to take into account: “remember the classics and what they teach us” and (by appropriating these elements) “do the geography of your time”. In this way, there will be a constant circulation between the fundamental knowledge underpinning geographical thinking and the new ways of philosophizing, creating, innovating and challenging geographical science in different parts of the world (Théry et Mello-Théry, 2013). A first step will be to recognize to facts: 1) “geography exists” in every part of the planet, both as a natural fact and as a field of knowledge; 2) its cartography is alive and constantly changing in the world we live in.

14Among the general methodological guidelines for publications, we should consider the importance of cartography in its various manifestations, be they historical, thematic or systematic; the possibility of bringing the reader closer to the landscapes of the geographical experience presented; the value of creativity, the freedom of scientific, literary and imaginative creation of the works with a view to a pleasant and lively reading of the experiences, objective and not exhaustive; openness to innovation, new ways of conceiving the objects and systems of geographical science in the face of the technologies of our time, through its networks of territorial intelligence and the rescue of geographical epistemology, revisited from the different studies, guaranteeing the diversity of approaches.

Pulling back the curtain on the geographies of geography

15To inaugurate the publications in this area, the next issue will contain two articles. The first will give a general overview of the institutionalization of the field of geography in the world, showing a map of associations in the field and of higher education and research departments. The second article will present a first experience of geography education in a remote area of the world, discussing the profile of the education and how it articulates with the science of geography as a whole.

16Join us on this journey to discover the landscapes that make up the geographies of world geography.

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Brunet, R. Le Déchiffrement du Monde, Théorie et pratique de la géographie. Paris : Belin, 2017.

Claval, Paul. Géographie régionale : de la région au territoire. Paris: collection U, Armand Collin, 2004.

ChauiM., Convite à filosofia. 7. ed. São Paulo: Ática, 2000

Monbeig, P., Novos estudos de Geografia humana brasileira. São Paulo : difusão européia do livro, 1957.

Nonaka, I.; Takeuchi, H. Gestão do conhecimento. Porto Alegre: Bookman, 2008.

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Nonato Junior, R. « Geografia e Inteligência Territorial: conceitos, métodos e práticas aplicados à pesquisa em Segurança Hídrica », Confins [En ligne], 60 | 2023, mis en ligne le 06 octobre 2023. URL : ; DOI :

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ObPala – Observatorio de Psicologia Ambiental latino-americana. 1º Simpósio do Observatório de Psicologia Ambiental. UFRN, 2023.

Santos, Milton. A natureza do espaço : técnica e tempo, razão e emoção. 4 ed. 8 reimpressão. São Paulo, Editora da Universidade de São Paulo, 2014.

Théry, H.; Mello-Théry, N. A. et al. « Le terrain est un laboratoire, un voyage franco-brésilien au Mato Grosso » (avec Neli Aparecida de Mello-Théry, Andrea Cavicchioli, Vincent Dubreuil, Hervé Regnauld et Vincent Nedelec), In Le travail de terrain au Brésil, Guillaume Leturcq et Frédéric Louault (ed.), L'Harmattan, 2013.

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Raimundo Nonato Junior, « The geographies of geography »Confins [En ligne], 62 | 2024, mis en ligne le 30 mars 2024, consulté le 20 juin 2024. URL : ; DOI :

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Raimundo Nonato Junior

Universidade Federal do Rio Grande do Norte (UFRN),

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