How do we define a noun? A noun is a person, place or thing. Well, what is a pronoun? Traditionally, a pronoun modifies a noun but according to MerriamWebster’s dictionary, a pronoun is used as a “substitute” for a noun. In reading Valentine’s book, there is a complex issue universal idealism of social geography. Social geography has to do with the study of people and their environment with an emphasis on the social factors. This tells us that each person belongs to a community (or culture) that shares certain values or belief that makes him or her unique. However, instead of studying and embracing the community, Valentine wants a “fully realized community” (pg. 111) because it embraces historicity, identity, mutuality, pluralism, autonomy and integration. Like Merriam-Webster, Valentine is substituting community for a “fully realized community.”
I get it…we all want inclusion because we think people want it so we try to suggest modes of equality. Do we really desire equality? Or, do we covet that which we deemed more significant than us? Everything is based on perception. Can a noun stand on its own or does it need modification by a pronoun or even a description by an adjective? If I wanted to stay within the context of my community, I would never have left Jamaica. However, there are those in Jamaica, like my mother who has no desire to leave her community. In fact, my brother refused to migrate to America because he felt like what he had was superior to what I thought would be a greater opportunity. Do we say rich California and poor New Hampshire? No, we call them states of America regardless of the social factors.
Valentine states that after the Second World War, “the emphasis on the description of uniqueness was replaced by a concern with similarity” because positivist wanted to uncover universal spatial laws. They were using quantitative methods to predict human patterns of behavior and this is always the challenge. We have a flawed belief that integration solves everything. The prison systems understand isolation so while we could say, “they’re all prisoners,” sometimes there has to be a separation based on personal choices made (cause and effect).
Look, I go to a large church and it is sometimes challenging to find volunteer musicians. We launched a new campus that is much smaller (about 300 people). In three weeks, some of our former musicians that wanted to worship at a smaller church returned and now I have too many musicians at the new campus. Notice how I said 300 people? Over 1,000 members live within five minutes of this new campus and yet 700 of them chose to drive an extra thirty minutes to be in a larger setting. According to Valentine, this would be the ultimate sin for those people to leave their community and go somewhere else. I spent 17 years planting small churches and some of them never grew beyond 100 people. The reality is that people like their freedom to choose, regardless of our perception. This is simply people exercising freewill.
To force or suggest universalism is to revoke freedom of choice. Valentine presents a great theory that capsules all humans in eight scales (body, home, community, institutions, the street, the city, rural, and nation). We can choose to use social factors to define a person in each stage or each person can choose to use the eight stages to form a perception of how they want others to view them. “It takes a village to raise a child” and here I am. I’ve walked through each of those stages to define the person you see because I had a different perception than my family. We are both happy.
The very thing that seems obvious might not be a social reality. I am black (duh) and a Jamaican native so according to Valentine, I should be at a disadvantage based on scientific research. I never feel intimidated when I step into a room because I am a noun (Garfield) and refused to be replaced by a pronoun (him or he). Science is a process and like my life, it is flawed with challenges.