인간생태학적 지역연구 방법론에 관한 고찰
A Study of Human Ecological Methodology in Regional Studies

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서울대학교 국토문제연구소
지리학논총, Vol.29, pp. 1-23
인간생태학지역연구통일적 맥락제한요인문화경관다규모 연구human ecologylimiting factorcultural landscapemultiple scale approach
There is a confusion in defining and conducting regional study. The most serious problem in regional study is that there is no generally accepted methodology for research. Although a 'new' regional geography has been suggested, it is still vague what the 'new' is. It also does not provide any efficient and generally acceptable methodology. The works of 'new' regional geography tend to be either an introduction of structuration theory or an application of social/cultural/spatial theories to smaller areas (locality Ilocale) .

The author, however, considers that a universal application of general theories to places is not ideal for the explantion of the reality, the life of people. Although structuration theory has some potential in explaining the lived world, its effectiveness can be much improved by the introduction of human ecological perspective. To conduct a successful regional study, one needs a coherent and concrete organizing concept which binds together vital aspects of people's life in the region and gives insights to the understanding of the region. The human ecological perspective provides a powerful tool and useful concepts for the coherent and profound explanation of the people's life within the context of human agency and environmental plasticity.

The author suggests to use the concept of limiting factor in finding the organizing concept. The logic is that as the most needed but unattainable resource(s) become(s) an obsession to people, finding the limiting factor is the key to the understanding of the life of the people. Observation of cultural landscape is the first step in the search for the limiting factor. It is also necessary to expand the concept of environment to non-physical--social, economic, and cultural-- environments to deal with the complex modern urban industrial society. It is also recommended to conduct a multiple scale study in order to understand the smaller parts within the context of the larger area and vice versa.
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College of Social Sciences (사회과학대학)Institute for Korean Regional Studies (국토문제연구소)지리학논총 (Journal of Geography)지리학논총 Volume 29/30 (1997)
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