Time geography – a didactic perspective and tool for contextual learning about globalization, commodity chains and sustainability

Authors: Åsa Westermark*, Jönköping University, Bodil Jansund, Gothenburg University
Topics: Geography Education
Keywords: time-geography, teaching, didactics, higher education, commodity chains, everyday life, sustainability, globalization,
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/12/2018
Start / End Time: 10:00 AM / 11:40 AM
Room: Bayside C, Sheraton, 4th Floor
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


There are many approaches in teaching about globalization and commodity chains. Depending on the points you want to make, you may identify either environmental, social, economic or political factors that come into play in the life path of a commodity. When referring to sustainability, we also should be able to capture the multidimensional and integrated aspects of these same factors. As geographers, additional aspects require attention, such as understanding how peoples’ everyday lives, living conditions, and business conditions are linked to context (places, resources, people, businesses, as well as social, economic and political structures at different geographical scales). For this reason, geography education, teachers, and students all require educational perspectives that include reasoning and tools to perform this kind of analysis. We argue that time geography has an inherent basic structure that enables such reasoning and contextual learning. Based on teaching experiences about globalization, sustainability and commodity chains with time geography as a frame of reference, we analyze 56 student exam papers regarding contextual learning. Particular interest is placed on how the students reflect on commodity chains and sustainability by identifying pockets of local order along the life path of commodity chains of multinational companies, as well as how individual’s’ everyday lives in different parts of the globe are connected through chains of relationships.

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