Geography and ethics

Iain Hay, Luke Dickens

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingEntry for encyclopedia/dictionarypeer-review


Ethics traditionally involves systematic intellectual deliberations on morality. Increasingly since the early 1980s geography has embraced the conceptual and practical relationships between ethics and the discipline. Geographers have, for example, taken up careful examination of the moral significance of concepts such as place, location, proximity, and distance and engaged in foundational debates regarding the pursuit of social and spatial justice. Conceptual work has also included examination of the moral relations between self/other that a long tradition of cosmopolitan ethical thought necessarily calls into question; and between human and natural worlds looking, for example, at environmental caretaking for future generations. Among the more applied ethical issues taken up in the discipline are the ethics of mapping the social and physical world and, more recently, grappling with the ever more complex ethical implications of working with and on new spatial and digital technologies. This article reviews major resources for much of this conceptual and practical work in geography and builds generally on the work of scholars in the field as well as more directly upon the helpful and thoughtful comments of Clive Barnett (University of Exeter), Mark Israel (Murdoch University), and Jeff Popke (East Carolina University) as well as two anonymous referees.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationOxford Bibliographies
EditorsBarney Warf
PublisherOxford University Press
Number of pages3
Publication statusPublished - 27 May 2020


  • Ethics
  • Geography
  • deliberations on morality
  • social and spatial justice
  • spatial and digital technologies
  • Clive Barnett
  • Mark Israel
  • Jeff Popke


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