Geography and powerful knowledge: a contribution to the debate

Alaric Maude

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    66 Citations (Scopus)


    This paper is a contribution to the debate on powerful knowledge in geography that began in a 2015 issue of IRGEE and was continued by Frances Slater and Norman Graves in 2016. It addresses some of the questions raised by Slater and Graves. First, it suggests an alternative way of describing and identifying powerful knowledge than the one in their commentary, a way that defines powerful knowledge by the intellectual power it gives to those who have it rather than by how it is produced. Second, the paper tries to answer their question about specifying what powerful knowledge in geography actually is, by using the alternative interpretation to propose five types of knowledge that may be considered both powerful and geographical. Third, the paper responds to their question about how does the concept help teachers decide what and how to teach, by showing how the five types can be used to structure the teaching of a unit in the Australian school geography curriculum.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)179-190
    Number of pages12
    JournalInternational Research in Geographical and Environmental Education
    Issue number2
    Publication statusPublished - 3 Apr 2018


    • GeoCapabilities
    • geographical education
    • geographical knowledge
    • Michael Young
    • powerful geographical knowledge
    • Powerful knowledge


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