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The Humanities Conference 2003

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Being Present in a Community of Others: John Macmurray, Place and the Humanities

Maxwell John Hope.

When John Macmurray (1995) defined what it is to be human as 'the capacity to be present in a community of others', he challenged the limited sense of rationality promoted by objectifying tendencies within contemporary societies, and, in so doing, put place and community and sustainability at the heart of the humanities.

This paper uses Macmurray's ideas to:
1. Clarify the link between place, selfhood and the humanities
2. Consider the contemporary forms of social change and rationality that threaten to undermine this sense of place and self.
3. Explore the role of a geographical education in preserving and promoting this sense of selfhood.
4. Distinguish between this preferred approach and a number of more impoverished senses of place and geographical education associated with the post modern turn

Macmurray, J. (1995) Persons in Relation, London, Faber and Faber.


Maxwell John Hope  (United Kingdom)
Senior Lecturer in Geography and Social Science
Department of Geography
Chester College of Higher Education

  • Place
  • Identity
  • Humanities
  • Rationality
  • Post Modernity
  • Community
Person as Subject
  • Macmurray, John

(30 min Conference Paper, English)