Coming Home

Document Type


Publication Date



This address argues that human geographers should be eclectic in method and open to a variety of data sources but should frame our research so as to integrate micro- and macro-level observations. To do this, we must focus on the mutual effects of agency and structure. We should under­ stand the interactions between people and environment as being neither random nor law-given but rather the combination of historical circumstance of both long and short duration, confining and yet not determining human behavior. This approach has the power to return geography to its intellectual home, an openness to the world in all its complexity. A case study of the response of Californians to earthquake hazards is used to illustrate insights that can be gained by adopting this research strategy.


Final manuscript of article published in:

Palm, Risa 1986. Coming Home. Annals of the Association of American Geographers 76(4): 469–479. DOI: 10.1111/j.1467-8306.1986.tb00130.x