NCERT Class 12 Geography Part 1 Chapter 1: Human Geography Nature and Scope YouTube Lecture Handouts

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NCERT Class 12 Geography Part 1 Chapter 1: Human Geography Nature and Scope

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Components of Geography

  • geography as a field of study is integrative, empirical, and practical.

  • Life forms and physical forms – physical and human geography

  • Physical geography studies physical environment and human geography studies “the relationship between the physical/natural and the human worlds, the spatial distributions

  • of human phenomena and how they come about, the social and economic differences between different parts of the world

Human Geography

  • Wide-ranging debates started whether geography as a discipline should be a law making/theorising (nomothetic) or descriptive (idiographic). Whether its subject matter should be organised and approach of the study should be regional or systematic

  • Geography and Biology - We often talk of the ‘face’ of the earth, ‘eye’ of the storm, ‘mouth’ of the river, ‘snout’ (nose) of the glacier, ‘neck’ of the isthmus and ‘profile’ of the soil. Similarly regions, villages, towns have been described as ‘organisms’. German geographers describe the ‘state/country’ as a ‘living organism’. Networks of road, railways and water ways have often been described as “arteries of circulation”

  • “Human geography is the synthetic study of relationship between human societies and earth’s surface”. Ratzel

  • Synthesis has been emphasised in the above definition.

  • “Human geography is the study of “the changing relationship between the unresting man and the unstable earth.” Ellen C. Semple

  • Dynamism in the relationship is the keyword in Semple’s definition.

  • “Conception resulting from a more synthetic knowledge of thephysical laws governing our earth and of the relations between the living beings which inhabit it”. Paul Vidal de la Blache

  • Human geography offers a new conception of the interrelationships between earth and human beings.

  • Houses, villages, cities, road-rail networks, industries, farms, ports, items of our daily use and all other elements of material culture have been created by human beings using the resources provided by the physical environment.

Naturalisation of Humans and Humanisation of Nature

  • Human beings interact with their physical environment with the help of technology. It is not important what human beings produce and create but it is extremely important ‘with the

  • help of what tools and techniques do they produce and create’. Technology indicates the level of cultural development of society.

  • Human beings were able to develop technology after they developed better understanding of natural laws. For example, the understanding of concepts of friction and heat helped us discover fire. Similarly, understanding of the secrets of DNA and genetics enabled us to conquer many diseases.

  • Naturalisation of Humans: Nature is extremely important to develop technology and technology loosens the shackles of environment on human beings

  • This type of interaction between primitive human society and strong forces of nature was termed as environmental determinism. At that stage of very low technological development we can imagine the presence of a naturalized human, who listened to Nature, was afraid of its fury and worshipped it. The physical environment for such societies becomes the “Mother Nature”.

  • Humanisation of Nature: With social and cultural development, humans develop better and more efficient technology. They move from a state of necessity to a state of freedom. They create possibilities with the resources obtained from the environment. The earlier scholars termed this as possibilism. Nature provides opportunities and human being make use of these and slowly nature gets humanised and starts bearing the imprints of human endeavour.

  • Griffith Taylor introduced another concept which reflects a middle path (Madhyam Marg) between the two ideas of environmental determinism and possibilism. He termed it as Neodeterminism or stop and go determinism. The concept shows that neither is there a situation of absolute necessity (environmental determinism) nor is there a condition of absolute freedom (possibilism). It means that possibilities can be created within the limits which do not damage the environment and there is no free run without accidents. The free run

  • which the developed economies attempted to take has already resulted in the green house effect, ozone layer depletion, global warming, receding glaciers and degrading lands. The neo-determinism conceptually attempts to bring a balance nullifying the ‘either’ ‘or’ dichotomy.

Human Geography through the Corridors of Time

  • The process of adaptation, adjustment with and modification of the environment started with the appearance of human beings over the surface of the earth in different ecological niches.

  • Concerns of human geography have a long temporal continuum though the approaches to articulate them have changed over time.

  • Travellers and explorers used to disseminate information about the areas of their visits. Navigational skills were not developed and voyages were fraught with dangers. The late fifteenth century witnessed attempts of explorations in Europe and slowly the myths and mysteries about countries and people started to open up

  • Welfare or humanistic school was concerned with the different aspects of social well-being of the people. These included aspects such as housing, health and education.

  • Radical school of thought employed Marxian theory to explain the basic cause of poverty, deprivation and social inequality. Contemporary social problems were related to the development of capitalism.

  • Behavioral school of thought laid great emphasis on lived experience and also on the perception of space by social categories based on ethnicity, race and religion, etc.

Developments in Human Geography

  • Colonial Period – Exploration and Description – imperial and trade interests

  • Colonial Period – Regional Synthesis – region as a part of whole

  • 1930s through InterWar Period – Areal Differentiation – uniqueness and difference of region

  • Late 1950s to 1960s – Spatial Organization – quantitative and statistical techniques – quantitative revolution

  • 1970s – Emergence of radical, humanistic and welfare schools – discontented with quantitative revolution

  • 1990s – Post Modernism in geography – universal theories to explain human conditions were questioned – emphasis on understanding local context

Fields in Human Geography

  • Social Geography – behavioral, social welfare, leisure, cultural, gender, historical and medical

  • Urban geography – urban planning and studies

  • Political geography – electoral and military

  • Population geography – demography

  • Settlement geography – regional planning (urban and rural)

  • Economic Geography – resource, agriculture, industry, marketing, tourism and international trade

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