Human geography: Nature and scope
Human geography deals with the relationship between the physical/natural and the human worlds, the spatial distribution of human phenomena and how they come about, and the social and economic differences between different parts of the world.
What is spatial distribution?
Spatial distribution in statistics is the arrangement of the phenomenon across the Earth’s surface and the graphical display of such an arrangement is an important tool in geographical and environmental statistics.
Definitions of Human geography:
Human geography is the synthetic study of the relationship between human societies and the earth’s surface – Ratzel
- In the above definition, synthesis has been emphasized.
Human geography is the study of “the changing relationship between the unresting man and the unstable earth. – Ellen C. Semple
- In the definition of Semple, the keyword is ‘dynamism in the relationship’.
Conception results from a more synthetic knowledge of the physical laws governing our earth and of the relations between the living beings which inhabit it. – Paul Vidal de la Blache
Nature of Human Geography:
Human geography studies the interrelation between the physical environment and the socio-cultural environment created by human beings through mutual interaction with each other.
(Elements of physical environments are: landforms, soils, climate, water, natural vegetation, flora, and fauna.)
It embraces the study of human races, growth, distribution, and density of population of various parts of the world, their demographic attributes and migration patterns, physical and cultural differences between human groups, and economic activities.
- With the help of technology, human beings interact with the physical environment.
- Human geography also covers the relationship between man and his natural environment, and the way in which the activities of humans are distributed.
- It also takes into account the mosaic of culture, language, religion, customs, traditions, types, and patterns of rural settlements, and the functional classification of towns.
Some important terms related to the nature of human geography:
Environmental determinism is also known as climatic determinism or geographical determinism. The interaction between primitive human society (with less knowledge of technology) and strong forces of nature was termed environmental determinism.
It is the study of how the physical environment predisposes societies and states toward particular development trajectories.
With social and cultural development, humans developed better and more efficient technology. They create possibilities with the resources obtained from the environment. This utilizing scope of the environment by humans with developed technology shows possibilism, as nature provides opportunities and human beings make use of these and slowly nature gets humanized and starts bearing the imprints of human endeavor.
The theory of Possibilism sets certain constraints or limitations, but culture is otherwise determined by social conditions.
Neo-determinism or Stop and go determinism:
Griffith Taylor introduced another concept that reflects a middle path between the two ideas of environmental determinism and possibilism. He termed it Neo-determinism or stop-and-go determinism.
- The concept shows that neither is there a situation of absolute necessity i.e. environmental determinism nor a condition of complete freedom i.e. possibilism.
- It means the possibilities can be created within the limits which do not damage the environment and there is no free run without accidents.
For example, the free run that the developed economy attempted to take already resulted in the greenhouse effect, ozone layer depletion, global warming, receding of glaciers, and degrading Iceland.
Neo-determinism conceptually attempts to bring a balance nullifying the either-or dichotomy.
Scope of Human geography:
In human geography, the major thrust is on the studies of human societies, in their relation to the habitat or environment.
- Human geography’s contents provide integration for all the social sciences, giving those science the spatial, temporal, and system viewpoint they otherwise lack.
- Human geography draws on other social sciences in the analyses identified with its sub-fields, such as behavioral, political, economic, or social geography.
- Its analyses of spatial systems make people more aware of the realities and the prospects of our own society in an interestingly competitive and troubled world.
Fields and sub-field of Human geography:
|Fields of Human Geography||Sub-field||Interface with sister Disciplines of Social sciences|
|Social Geography||–||Social Science – Sociology|
|Geography of Social
|Geography of Leisure||Sociology|
|Gender Geography||Sociology, Anthropology, Women’s Studies|
|Urban Geography||–||Urban Studies and Planning|
|Political Geography||–||Political Science|
|Military Geography||Military Science|
|Settlement Geography||–||Urban/Rural Planning|
|Economic Geography||Geography of Resource||Resource Economics|
|Geography of Agriculture||Agricultural Resource|
|Geography of Industries||Industrial Economics|
|Geography of Marketing||Business Studies, Economics, Commerce|
|Geography of Tourism||Tourism and Travel Management|
|Geography of International Trade||International Trade|
You can also read: 💡
- Continent Africa
- Important Mountain Ranges of the World
- List of Important Glaciers of Himalayan mountain
- List of main volcanoes in the world
- List of Mountain Passes of India
- Major rivers of the world
- Important lakes of the world
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