The institutionalisation of geography as an academic discipline

Ron Johnston*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter in a book

1 Citation (Scopus)


Although geography has a long history as an intellectual activity in the United Kingdom, it was only institutionalised as a separate academic discipline in the country's universities at the end of the nineteenth century. Its growth was very slow during the first half of the twentieth century but then accelerated rapidly - despite some setbacks in the 1960s. The process of institutionalisation involved the creation of a community of geographers within the British academic system, whose presence was accepted (and occasionally promoted) by the representatives of other disciplines. This chapter discusses the institutionalisation of British geography as an academic discipline and the role of scholarly societies such as the Royal Geographical Society in the emergence of geography, teaching of geography in British universities, geographers' changing intellectual concerns and their reactions to the institutional setting, and the research orientation of geography.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationA Century of British Geography
PublisherOxford University Press
ISBN (Electronic)9780191734076
Publication statusPublished - 31 Jan 2012


  • British geography
  • Geographers
  • Institutionalisation
  • Research
  • Royal geographical society
  • Scholarly societies
  • United kingdom
  • Universities


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