University of Helsinki, Faculty of Science Previous Contents Next

6.4 Methods of synthesis

The aim of studying a place geographically is to give a synthetic account of it. Geography thus shares with history the mode of knowing called 'seeing things together' (Mink 1966, cit. Entrikin 1991: 128). It is distinct from the analytic perspective that prevails in the natural sciences. J. Nicholas Entrikin proposes that geographers should use the narrative-like synthesis that historians already do. He argues for that by saying that 'all geographical studies of place incorporate the concept of change through time' (Entrikin 1991: 129). He is certainly right but I still doubt if one can achieve the placeness of place by using temporally oriented mode of synthesis. His aim, gaining a sense of both being 'in a place' and 'at a location' (Entrikin 1991: 134) will not be achieved without a more geographical methodology.

In this study, narrative-like synthesis is used only to reveal the temporal aspects of placeness. The narrativity is, however, deeply entreched in placeness. It is manifest for instance in terms of univocality (see Norberg-Schulz 1997: 135), the manner how different parts of a place belong together, to the same narrative.

The placial aspects of the placeness of place, on the other hand, are approached by method which I decide to call 'enrichment of concepts'. In the first part of this study I present the theoretical framework of studying places. Theories presented there are used in the following two parts to analyse first, the naturalistic, and second, the existential realm of a particular place, i.e. Roseau.

The fourth part of the study is that of synthesis. There again, I deal with the very same theories and concepts that I touched upon in the first part. Actually, in the analytical sections the concepts of theoretical framework are cited only occasionally. They implicitly guide the analysis but are explicitly treated again, however, not before the synthesis. The difference between the first and the fourth part is, however, that during their voyage through the analytical parts of the study these concepts have been enriched by the particularity of the studied place. Thus in the fourth part, place is no longer regarded per se, but how it manifests itself in Roseau.

In Chapter 14 (Districts of Roseau) I make a partial synthesis by describing the properties of the studied districts. Term 'district' is used only for methodological reasons to avoid confusion with the concept of 'place' that in this study is primarily reserved for the city of Roseau as a whole. Places, however, exist in different scales, and in a smaller scale the districts are places as well.

In Chapter 15 (Roseau as a place), Roseau is treated in its placeness. There, the naturalistic and existential realms of place are combined to create one realm of place. In the world outside this study, however, they were never separated. The empirical richness gathered in the analytical sections of the study enables also the introdution of some new insights into the originl theories.

Chapter 16 (Discussion) will deal with an evaluation of how I managed to do what I set out to do.

University of Helsinki, Faculty of Science Previous Contents Next