Social Geography

Curriculum Guideline

Effective Date:
Course Code
GEOG 2213
Social Geography
Geography and the Environment
Humanities & Social Sciences
Start Date
End Term
Semester Length
Max Class Size
Contact Hours
Lecture: 4 hrs. per week
Method Of Instruction
Methods Of Instruction

This course will employ a variety of instructional methods to accomplish its objectives, including some of

the following:

  • Lecture
  • In class activities, such as mental maps
  • Field Work
  • Videos/DVDs/ digital media
  • Individual and/or Team Projects
  • Small Groups Discussions
  • Map Analysis
Course Description
Social geography is interested in the way that space and place mediate the production and reproduction of key social divides – such as class, race, gender, age, sexuality, and disability. Social geography essentially is the study of how society and space are mutually constituted. This course will discuss issues such as homelessness, sexuality, crime, racism, and key social institutions and places like the home, street, internet, and school that produce social norms and inequalities. A variety of questions may be explored such as: why is Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside often characterized as one of the worst neighbourhoods in Canada and, how does one’s identity shift between work, home, school, and other contexts and places?
Course Content
  1.  Introduction
    a. Traditions in social geography.
    b. Different paradigms within social geography
    c. Social geography and everyday life
    d. Restructuring society and space

    2. The Body
    a. “the geography closest in” (Rich, 1986)
    b. Body as surface
    c. Body as project
    d. Cartesian dualism

    3. Neighbourhood and Community
    a. Definitions and classifications
    b. Social construction of place
    c. Social meanings of the built environment
    d. Fragility of community

    4. Public/Private Space
    a. Urban morphology and the physical arrangement of cities
    b. Public space, private space, quasi-public space, and the public realm
    c. Homelessness and housing

    5. Urban Life
    a. Urban life in Western culture
    b. Social interaction and social networks
    c. Virtual geographies

    6. Place and Power
    a. Public institutions and private life
    b. Key actors in urban governance
    c. Community power and the local state
    d. Social justice

    7. Fear, Crime, and Disorder
    a. Geographies of fear and crime
    b. Spatialization of fear and crime
    c. Role of the built environment

    8. “Race” and Ethnicity
    a. Race vs. ethnicity
    b. Racism and discrimination
    c. Spatial segregation of minority groups
    d. Colonies, enclaves, and “ghettos”

    9. Identity and Struggles for Place
    a. Conflict and transgression
    b. Place and resistance
    c. Speaking from the margins

    10. Spaces of hope
    a. Social activism and civic responsibility
    b. Community-based action and advocacy
    c. “The Power of Place”

Learning Outcomes
  1. Synthesize the concepts, techniques and theories of social geography.
  2. Communicate effectively orally, graphically, in writing and using quantitative methods.
  3. Describe the development of social geography and explain the alternative paradigms of social geography
  4. Explain the concept of the spatial structuring of social differences and inequalities.
  5. Apply the concepts, methods and theories to different scales of geographic analysis.
  6. Describe and analyze the arrangements and patterns of different types of groups within a given society.
  7. Evaluate the most relevant issues and needs confronting different groups within a given society.
  8. Describe and analyze the concepts and spatial patterns of social transformation through the collection, interpretation and  presentation of relevant geographic data.
Means of Assessment

The evaluation will be based on course objectives and will be carried out in accordance with Douglas College policy.  The instructor will provide a written course outline with specific evaluation criteria during the first week of classes.


An example of an evaluation scheme would be:

Quizzes  30%
Poster presentation  25%
Project  15%
Preparation & participation   10%
Final exam  20%
Total 100%
Textbook Materials

Textbooks and Materials to be Purchased by Students


 A text or coursepack may be used. Texts will be updated periodically.  A typical example of a text would be:


Knox, P. and Pinch, S. (2009).  Urban Social Geography:  An Introduction.  Toronto, Canada: Prentice Hall.


Supplemental course materials may include:




Anderson, J. (2010). Understanding Cultural Geography: Places and Traces. London, UK: Routledge.

Casino Jr., V. (2011). A Companion to Social Geography. Malden, MA: Wiley-Blackwell.

 Casino Jr., V. (2009). Social Geography: A Critical Companion. Malden, MA: Wiley-Blackwell.

 Kitchin, R. (2007). Mapping Worlds: International Perspectives on Social and Cultural Geographies. London, UK: Routledge.

Moss, P. and K. Falconer, eds. (2008). Feminisms in Geography: Rethinking space, place and knowledges. Lanham, Maryland: Rowan and Littlefield.

 Panelli, R, (2004). Social Geographies: from Difference to Action. Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE

 Smith, S. (2010). The Sage Handbook on Social Geographies. Los Angeles, CA: SAGE.

 Valentine, G. (2001). Social Geography: Space and Society. New York, NY: Prentice Hall.



Marx, F. (director, producer, editor) (2004). Boys to Men [video recording]. Northampton, MA. Media Education Foundation.

Morris, S. (writer, director, & producer), Wise, T. (writer), Earp, J, (writer) (2014). White Like Me: Race, Racism, and White Privilege in America [video recording]. Northampton, MA.: Media Education Foundation.

Newsom, J.S. (writer, director, & producer) (2014). The Mask You Live In [video recording]. New York, NY: Virgil Films.