Applications of Stream of Consciousness in Modern Geographic Research


Stream of consciousness is a literary technique that gained popularity in the modernist period of literature in the early 20th century. It is a writing style that aims to reflect the inner thoughts and feelings of a character in an unstructured and spontaneous manner. However, this technique is not limited to literature and has found its way into various fields, including modern geographic research.

In the past, geographic research was predominantly focused on the physical features of the Earth, such as landforms, climate, and biodiversity. However, with the advancement of technology and a greater understanding of human-environment interactions, there has been an increasing emphasis on the human experience of place and space. This shift in focus has opened the door for the use of stream of consciousness in geographic research.

One of the main applications of stream of consciousness in modern geographic research is in the field of cultural geography. Cultural geography studies the ways in which cultures shape and are shaped by their physical environment. Stream of consciousness provides a unique perspective in this field as it allows researchers to delve into the subjective experiences of individuals and how they perceive and interact with their surroundings.

For example, a cultural geographer could use stream of consciousness to study the impact of urbanization on the sense of place in a particular neighborhood. By analyzing the unfiltered thoughts and perceptions of residents living in the area, the researcher could gain a deeper understanding of how the changes in the physical landscape affect the cultural identity and attachment of the community.

Moreover, stream of consciousness has also been used in the field of human-environment interactions. This field examines the reciprocal relationship between humans and their environment, exploring how humans shape the environment, and how the environment influences human behavior and decision-making.

Stream of consciousness can provide valuable insights into the emotions and thoughts that drive human actions in relation to their environment. For example, a researcher studying the effects of climate change on small island communities could use this technique to explore the psychological impact of rising sea levels on the residents. By tapping into the stream of consciousness of the locals, the researcher could understand their fears, concerns, and attitudes towards climate change and how it influences their decisions on whether to adapt or relocate.

Furthermore, stream of consciousness has also been utilized in the field of behavioral geography. This field focuses on the spatial patterns and processes of human behavior. The use of this technique in behavioral geography allows researchers to understand the individual’s subjective experience of their environment and how it influences their behavior.

For instance, a researcher could use stream of consciousness to examine the reasons behind the choice of a particular mode of transportation by individuals. By gaining insight into the unfiltered thoughts and perceptions of individuals, the researcher could uncover the conscious and unconscious factors that influence mode choice, such as convenience, cost, and environmental concerns.

In addition to these applications, stream of consciousness has also been used to study the relationship between memory and place, the role of emotions in shaping our spatial experiences, and the influence of culture on the perception of place.

In conclusion, stream of consciousness has emerged as a valuable tool in modern geographic research, providing a deeper understanding of the human experience of place and space. By tapping into individuals’ unfiltered thoughts and perceptions, researchers can gain insight into the subjective experience of the environment and its impact on human behavior, culture, and memory. As geographic research continues to evolve, the applications of stream of consciousness will continue to play a significant role in uncovering the complexities of our relationship with the world around us.