Explanation of Cognitive Characteristics of the Relationship between Politics and Geographical Space in Post Positivism

Document Type : Research Paper


Assistant Professor of Political Geography, University of Yazd, Yazd, Iran


In human science, one concept may have different interpretations in different philosophical schools. Explanation of one concept or its relationship in different cognition schools has very great importance. From philosophical aspects in human science, theoretical structure has very fundamental role in cognition. In other words, ontology, cognition and methodology of one concept are deficient or uncompleted without determination of theoretical structure. In this field, in the geographical sciences, relationship between politics and space as a very important paradigm in the geography could be taken different meaning in different cognition schools. Space consists of mutual relation between human and environment. Geographical sciences analyze this space and its issues with human and physical dimension. Between different aspects of the geographical space, political dimension is more important. In other word, this dimension and its ideological framework for resolving the issues in the space could be varied in different cognitive methodologies. In geographical studies from the 1970s with the arrival of Marxist ideas in Geography, a number of geographers turn away from focusing on quantitative methods and ecological studies. In the Positivism school, space was considered as a perceptual thing. In other words, researcher should use their sense and their experience for detection of things in space. Before that, dominant methodological in geographical studies was defined in positivism school. In this school, researcher should not involve his ideology or his culture for discovering truth. While, in post positivism thinking quantities’ planning is not anything except "false consciousness". In post positivism school, meanings, ideas, and theories can obtain their objectivity and ostensible concept by dominant power and ideology. In this school, geographical spaces are also derived from dominant ideological power. In structuralism philosophy, major assumption is that invisible force in behind of any symbol in the space are emerged in any symbol in space. Thus, the space concept does not have actual objectivity. 
Since the 1970s a serious theoretical criticism has been conducted on the quantitative methodology in geography. At that time, the philosophy of geography was full of political and ideological conflicts. This condition was due to the cognitive shift in geographical sciences among the different dimensions of geographic space. The political dimension of space as one of the most important was more essential to resolve these challenges. Thus, in this research, we have struggled to understand the relationship between politics and geographical space in post positivism methodology to analyze the effectiveness of understanding this relationship in post positivism methodology.
This research has fundamental approaches in the philosophy of geography and for compilation of information we have referred to valid documents and bibliography.  In this study, we struggled with descriptive and analytical approaches. In first step we defined space concept and cognition. Then, the space definition has been compared with characteristics of post positivism cognition school. 
Results and discussion  
In the definition of geographical space concept, one of the important aspects of production and changes in the geographical space is resulted from political power. The politics and ideology as a process and geographical space as the form and context are always interconnected with each other. In other words, any action that advertently or inadvertently conflicts with political power would be considered as political action and therefore spatial structure is the production of political processes. Generally, the main functions of post positivism for understanding the relationship between politics and geographic space is as follows:
1- Changing in geographic space phenomena are affected largely by political power and patterns of society. Although the trend of geographical space cannot be studied from just one-dimension. However, the discourse not merely considers abstract ideas, in realistic approaches they are as previous existence that takes precedence over any other discovery. Thus, any phenomenon into geographical space is dependent on a discourse. On the other hand, coordination between different levels of space planning regardless of dominant power cannot be achieved in a sustainable way.
2- The study Method for relationship between politics and geographical space is far from qualitative method and there is no character reproducibility on that, because space is affected by the changing ideologies and political actors. The change of power and discourse cannot be predicted. Thus, changes in spatial phenomena cannot be identified and predicted and incommensurability of discourses in different historical periods is one of the inevitable consequences. Therefore, in future studies, a genealogy approach is needed for recognition of relationship between politics and space in trans-positivism.  In this approach, there isn’t accurate knowledge about the future of geographical space changes as a result of political power transition. In this context, recognizing changes in various aspects of geographic space-based genealogy of power is carried out through the following steps. A) Breaking points of discourse should be determined until its historicity. B) Time period should be determined when the discourse has impacts with current framework on the other aspect of geographical space.    
Space is a major paradigm in geographical sciences and different aspects of geographical sciences examine the relations between human and environment that produce the space. The space has different meaning in distinct cognition schools. In other words, every school for resolve the issue in the space could make different solutions. So, solutions that presented by post positivism are distinct from those presented by other methodologies. The evolution of human wisdom considers the action as the only way to overcome on the issues in the geographical space. So, studies between politics and space are obtained only by authority and the rule of one politically supported class would be politically dominant over the other social classes.  As a result, for studying the ideology and political construction effects on other dimensions of geographical space, we should use post positivism methodology.


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Volume 51, Issue 2
July 2019
Pages 249-267
  • Receive Date: 01 January 2017
  • Revise Date: 10 June 2017
  • Accept Date: 10 June 2017
  • First Publish Date: 22 June 2019