Tropical Geography ›› 2022, Vol. 42 ›› Issue (5): 706-715.doi: 10.13284/j.cnki.rddl.003482

Previous Articles     Next Articles

Knowledge Visualization Analysis of International Economic Geography Research

Yarong Zhan1,2(), Renxu Gu1,2()   

  1. 1.The Institute of Urban Development, East China Normal University, Shanghai 200241, China
    2.School of Urban and Regional Science, East China Normal University, Shanghai 200241, China
  • Received:2021-06-14 Revised:2021-08-30 Online:2022-05-26 Published:2022-05-26
  • Contact: Renxu Gu;


Economic geography is a subject whose research field and direction are changing. Its development track and research topics are influenced by the social development environment in which scholars live. The global economy is in a period of dramatic change, and the research perspectives and topics of economic geography have been changing particularly rapidly, with the constant emergence of new research results and new research characteristics and development trends. Therefore, it is necessary to sort out and analyze the research achievements of international economic geography and explore its development context and latest research frontiers. This paper takes 7,260 studies in the Web of Science core collection, from 1982 to 2020, as the sample literature, visualizing the intellectually-based research hotspots and frontiers of international economic geography with the help of the Citespace tool. It is expected to provide scientific reference for constructing the theory of economic geography with Chinese characteristics and promoting the international influence of Chinese economic geography. Our findings reflect the following. First, over the past 40 years, economics and economic geography have been the main knowledge sources of international economic geography. In addition, they have absorbed the research content of political economy, ecology, and other disciplines, which reflects their increasingly strong interdisciplinary nature. The intellectual base reflects changes in the economic geography research trend, basically following new regionalism, social turn, cultural turn, relational turn, and mobility turn. Since the 21st century, classical literature, under the context of relational and evolutionary economic geography, has been the main source of knowledge. Second, innovation and growth have always been the two core areas of research; hot issues such as globalization, cities, clusters, networks, the labor force, and policy have also attracted scholarly attention. Recent research points to hot keywords including resilience, global production networks, financial geography, global cities, inequality, and entrepreneurship. To some extent, these research hotspots represent the problems faced in the current stage of social development. Third, this research frontier is strongly problem-oriented, which is mainly based on the industrial development practice of western developed countries. In the era of global urbanization in the 21st century, urban issues and governance, industrial clusters, and knowledge have become research hotspots. Since 2010, the spatial evolution process of economic activities has attracted more attention, and research on its driving mechanism has been increasingly in-depth. Finally, the international economic geography research space is extremely uneven, which is closely related to the process of global social and economic development. The UK and US have always occupied a hegemonic position in the field of economic geography, even if the tentacles of mainstream economic geography begin to extend beyond Europe and America, most countries are still on the fringes of academic discussion. In general, international economic geography shows an obvious trend toward digital and sustainable transformation, and the COVID-19 pandemic has also had a certain impact on the direction of the discipline. Drawing on the international research experience, China's economic geography should strengthen theoretical innovation and put forward a theoretical system with Chinese practical characteristics, promote the cross and integration of various disciplines, and strengthen the interpretation of the geographical significance of social economic activities from the perspective of sociology.

Key words: economic geography, evolutionary turn, knowledge visualization, CiteSpace

CLC Number: 

  • K902