Chapter :1 Human Geography Nature And Scope

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What is Human Geography?

Human geography studies the inter-relationship between the physical environment and sociocultural environment created by human beings through mutual interaction with each other. You human beings on nature for resources which sustain them. The physical environment for such societies becomes the “Mother Nature”.

Nature of Human Geography

  • Human Geography studies the inter-relationship between the physical environment and socio- cultural environment created by human beings through mutual interaction with each other.
  • The elements like villages, cities, road-rail networks, etc and all other elements of material culture have been created by human beings using the resources provided by the physical environment. Thus, In the saying of Ellen Semple “Human geography is a study of changing relationship between unresting man and unstable earth”.

Naturalisation of Humans and Humanisation of Nature

  • Humans interact with their physical environment with the help of technology. This indicates the level of cultural development.
  • The interaction of primitive societies with the physical environment is termed as environmental determinism which is naturalisation of humans.
  • With the development of technology, humans began to modify nature and created cultural landscape. This is called possiblism or humanisation of nature.
  • A middle path of neo determinism was introduced by Griffith Taylor which means that neither is there a situation of absolute necessity (environmental determinism) nor is there a condition of absolute freedom (possibilism).

History of Human Geography

  • The emergence of human geography started with the interaction, adaptation, adjustment and modification between the humans and the environment.
  • Before the age of discovery, there was very little interaction between different societies but in the late 15th Century information about the unknown societies were made available now. Exploration by travellers expanded the area of human geography and interacted with different societies.
  • With this, new approaches can across like welfare or humanistic school of thought, radical school of thought and behavioural school of thought.

Field and Sub-fields of Human Geography

  • Human geography is inter-disciplinary in nature and develops vast linkages with other sister disciplines in social sciences.
  • The fields and sub-fields of human geography explains every aspect of all elements of human life on the surface of the earth.

Definition of Human Geography

According to E.C.Semple, “Human Geography is a study of the changing relationships, between the unresting man and the unstable earth”.

Scope of Human Geography

  • Each of the physical, biological and social sciences has its own philosophy, methodology, and scope.
  • For example, economics deals primarily with the production, movement, and consumption of goods and services; geology is concerned with the composition and interior of the earth’s crust; demography pertains to the characteristics of the human population, and zoology and botany examine the animals and plants kingdoms respectively.
  • Similarly, geography examines numerous tangible and intangible natural and man-made phenomena
  • In human geography, the major thrust is on the study of human societies in their relation to the habitat or environment. Dealing with the spatial distribution of societies, human geography covers a very wide field or its scope is enormous
  • It embraces the study of human races; the growth, distribution, and density of populations of the various parts of the world, their demographic attributes and migration patterns; and physical and cultural differences between human groups and economic activities.

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