‘One just better understands.....when standing out there’: Fieldwork as a Learning Methodology in University Education of Danish Geographers

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Abstract

The process of becoming a geographer is by no means simple and incorporates huge amounts of disciplinary embodiment. This paper provides an example of how this is enacted by exploring the perceptions of fieldwork within the education of Danish geographers. Firstly, the history of education of Danish geographers is unfolded. Secondly, it is shown that despite quite different organisational structures, in terms of the way that fieldwork is introduced and the educational structure in general; only little variations in learning objectives can be identified between the three Danish universities that educate geographers. Thirdly, based on an empirical study of Danish university geographers, we find three different perceptions of fieldwork as a learning methodology: fieldwork as an outdoor laboratory, fieldwork as sensuous realisation and fieldwork as a meta-theoretical practice. The results show that these three perceptions are not allocated to different academics or traditions, meaning that the individual researcher often encompasses more than one view of fieldwork either in relation to his or her own research or in relation to the education of future geographers. The categories of fieldwork presented, therefore, do not support the often claimed dichotomy between physical and human geography. Instead, the openness of geography as a synthesis discipline is found.
Original languageEnglish
JournalReview of International Geographical Education Online
Volume3
Issue number1
Pages (from-to)8-25
Number of pages18
Publication statusPublished - 3 May 2013

Keywords

  • Perceptions of fieldwork,
  • learning methodology,
  • university level,
  • Denmark

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