Sack, Robert David
Sack, Robert David
(Robert D. Sack)
Education: University of Minnesota, Ph.D., 1971.
Writer, editor, geographer, and educator. University of Wisconsin, Madison, Clarence J. Glacken and John Bascomb Professor of Geography and Professor of Integrated Liberal Studies.
Guggenheim fellowship, 1975-76; Fulbright Senior Research fellowship, 1979-80; Hilldale Award in the Social Studies, 1993; Honors Award for Distinguished Research, Association for American Geographers, 1994; American Academy of Arts and Sciences, fellow, 2006.
Conceptions of Space in Social Thought: A Geographic Perspective, University of Minnesota Press (Minneapolis, MN), 1980.
Human Territoriality and Space, Graduate School of Geography, Clark University (Worcester, MA), 1987.
Place, Modernity, and the Consumer's World: A Relational Framework for Geographical Analysis, Johns Hopkins University Press (Baltimore, MD), 1992.
Homo Geographicus: A Framework for Action, Awareness, and Moral Concern, Johns Hopkins University Press (Baltimore, MD), 1997.
(Editor) Progress: Geographical Essays, Johns Hopkins University Press (Baltimore, MD), 2002.
A Geographical Guide to the Real and the Good, Routledge (New York, NY), 2003.
Author, professor, and geographer Robert David Sack focuses his work on "how humans use the concepts of space and place to create connections between nature and society," commented a biographer on the University of Wisconsin Arts on Campus Web site.
In an intellectual atmosphere where there has been "renewed interest across a wide variety of disciplines in issues of consumption, popular culture, advertising, identity, and space," Sack's Place, Modernity, and the Consumer's World: A Relational Framework for Geographical Analysis "offers a fascinating and original contribution, illustrating how places of mass consumption are central to modernity," commented Deborah Leslie in Economic Geography. Divided into three parts, the book first presents epistemological and ontological issues. In the second part, Sack considers the types of places consumption creates. The third and last part looks at morality as it relates to place and consumption. Sack asserts that "consumption creates places that have the appearance of being unconnected or dissociated from anything else in place," Leslie noted. Sack also "rightly argues that, from the perspective of the consumer's world, it is impossible to understand the real effects that consumption has on other realms," Leslie stated. For this reason, consumers are often denied the background they need to consider the effects of their actions and what other results will occur as a result of their consumption of goods. Sack pays particular attention to advertising as the language of consumerism, and how advertising functions for producers, consumers, and the marketplace. With this book, Sack "offers an ambitious, thorough, and far-reaching analysis of the ethics and territoriality of consumption that is far removed from the characteristic dry treatises on consumer behavior," remarked Barney Warf in the Geographical Review.
Homo Geographicus: A Framework for Action, Awareness, and Moral Concern assembles a number of Sack's ideas from more than a quarter-century of writing on space and place, and adds as an underlying theme the idea that "our perspectives on the world in which we live relate to three realms of experience, which Sack categorizes as the forces of meaning, nature, and social relations," commented Hugh Mason in the Geographical Journal. Sack defines meaning as what we have in mind, but cautions that each individual constructs their world mentally rather than socially. "Sack then uses this framework to explore how the world is created, experienced, and transformed," Mason stated. Martin S. Kenzer, writing in the Geographical Review, observed that "this book represents a striking and very impressive amount of sustained thinking about the myriad nuances of the world (or worlds?) around us." Kenzer wrote of Sack: "At bottom, he has written an exhaustive treatise on the inherent centrality of place and, when all is said and done, has amply demonstrated that geography is in fact all about our place within places."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Economic Geography, April, 1994, Deborah Leslie, review of Place, Modernity, and the Consumer's World: A Relational Framework for Geographical Analysis, p. 200.
Ecumene, Anne Buttimer, May, 1998, review of Homo Geographicus: A Framework for Action, Awareness, and Moral Concern, p. 477.
Geographical Journal, November, 1999, Hugh Mason, review of Homo Geographicus, p. 328.
Geographical Review, January, 1994, Barney Warf, review of Place, Modernity, and the Consumer's World, p. 107; January, 1998, Martin S. Kenzer, review of Homo Geographicus, p. 166.
University of Wisconsin Department of Geography Web site,http://www.geography.wisc.edu/ (November 12, 2006), biography of Robert David Sack.
University of Wisconsin Arts on Campus Web site,http://www.arts.wisc.edu/ (November 12, 2006), biography of Robert David Sack.*