A classic that wasn’t: Statistical Geography and paths only later taken

Ron Johnston*, Kelvyn Jones

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

9 Citations (Scopus)
420 Downloads (Pure)


Science is a cumulative activity, a body of knowledge sedimented in its publications, which form the foundation for further activity. Some items attract more attention than others; some are largely ignored. This paper looks at a largely overlooked book – Statistical Geography – published by three US sociologists at a time when geographers were launching their ‘quantitative revolution’. There was little literature within the discipline on which that revolution could be based, and a book with that title could have been seminal. But it was not, and as a consequence – as illustrated with three examples – major issues in spatial analysis were not addressed in the revolution’s early years. The paper explores why.

Original languageEnglish
Number of pages17
JournalProgress in Human Geography
Publication statusPublished - 27 Jan 2019


  • Statistical Geography
  • quantitative revolution
  • scientific progress


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