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Social Geography

Course Code: GEOG 2213
Faculty: Humanities & Social Sciences
Credits: 3.0
Semester: 15
Learning Format: Lecture
Typically Offered: Winter
course overview

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”

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

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%

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.

course prerequisites

GEOG 1100

curriculum guidelines

Course Guidelines for previous years are viewable by selecting the version desired. If you took this course and do not see a listing for the starting semester/year of the course, consider the previous version as the applicable version.

course schedule and availability
course transferability

Below shows how this course and its credits transfer within the BC transfer system. 

A course is considered university-transferable (UT) if it transfers to at least one of the five research universities in British Columbia: University of British Columbia; University of British Columbia-Okanagan; Simon Fraser University; University of Victoria; and the University of Northern British Columbia.

For more information on transfer visit the BC Transfer Guide and BCCAT websites.


If your course prerequisites indicate that you need an assessment, please see our Assessment page for more information.