Human geography

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Original map by John Snow showing the clusters of cholera cases in the London epidemic of 1854,which is a classical case of using human geography

Human geography is the branch of social sciences that deals with the study of people and their communities, cultures, economies and interactions with the environment by studying their relations with and across space and place.[1] Human geography attends to human patterns of social interaction, as well as spacial level interdependencies, and how they influence or affect the earth's environment.[2][3] As an intellectual discipline, geography is divided into the sub-fields of physical geography and human geography, the latter concentrating upon the study of human activities, by the application of qualitative and quantitative research methods.

History[edit]

Geography was not recognized as a formal academic discipline until the 18th century, although many scholars had undertaken geographical scholarship for much longer, particularly through cartography.

The Royal Geographical Society was founded in England in 1830,[4] although the United Kingdom did not get its first full Chair of geography until 1917. The first real geographical intellect to emerge in United Kingdom's geographical minds was Halford John Mackinder, appointed reader at Oxford University in 1887.

The National Geographic Society was founded in the United States in 1888 and began publication of the National Geographic magazine which became, and continues to be, a great popularizer of geographic information. The society has long supported geographic research and education on geographical topics.

One of the first examples of geographic methods being used for purposes other than to describe and theorize the physical properties of the earth is John Snow's map of the 1854 Broad Street cholera outbreak. Though a physician and a pioneer of epidemiology, the map is probably one of the earliest examples of health geography.

The now fairly distinct differences between the subfields of physical and human geography have developed at a later date. This connection between both physical and human properties of geography is most apparent in the theory of environmental determinism, made popular in the 19th century by Carl Ritter and others, and has close links to the field of evolutionary biology of the time. Environmental determinism is the theory, that people's physical, mental and moral habits are directly due to the influence of their natural environment. However, by the mid-19th century, environmental determinism was under attack for lacking methodological rigor associated with modern science, and later as a means to justify racism and imperialism.

A similar concern with both human and physical aspects is apparent during the later 19th and first half of the 20th centuries focused on regional geography.The goal of regional geography, through something known as regionalization, was to delineate space into regions and then understand and describe the unique characteristics of each region through both human and physical aspects. With links to possibilism and cultural ecology, some of the same notions of causal effect of the environment on society and culture remain with environmental determinism.

By the 1960s, however, the quantitative revolution led to strong criticism of regional geography. Due to a perceived lack of scientific rigor in an overly descriptive nature of the discipline, and a continued separation of geography from its two subfields of physical and human geography and from geology, geographers in the mid-20th century began to apply statistical and mathematical models in order to solve spatial problems.[1] Much of the development during the quantitative revolution is now apparent in the use of geographic information systems; the use of statistics, spatial modeling, and positivist approaches are still important to many branches of human geography. Well-known geographers from this period are Fred K. Schaefer, Waldo Tobler, William Garrison, Peter Haggett, Richard J. Chorley, William Bunge, and Torsten Hägerstrand.

From the 1970s, a number of critiques of the positivism now associated with geography emerged. Known under the term 'critical geography,' these critiques signaled another turning point in the discipline. Behavioral geography emerged for some time as a means to understand how people made perceived spaces and places, and made locational decisions. The more influential 'radical geography' emerged in the 1970s and 1980s. It draws heavily on Marxist's theory and techniques, and is associated with geographers such as David Harvey and Richard Peet. Radical geographers seek to say meaningful things about problems recognized through quantitative methods,[5] provide explanations rather than descriptions, put forward alternatives and solutions, and be politically engaged,[6] rather than using the detachment associated with positivists. (The detachment and objectivity of the quantitative revolution was itself critiqued by radical geographers as being a tool of capital). Radical geography and the links to Marxism and related theories remain an important part of contemporary human geography (See: Antipode (Journal)). Critical geography also saw the introduction of 'humanistic geography', associated with the work of Yi-Fu Tuan, which pushed for a much more qualitative approach in methodology.

The changes under critical geography have led to contemporary approaches in the discipline such as feminist geography, new cultural geography, and the engagement with postmodern and post-structural theories and philosophies.

Fields[edit]

The primary fields of study in human geography focus around the core fields of:

Culture[edit]

Cultural geography is the study of cultural products and norms - their variation across spaces and places, as well as their relations. It focuses on describing and analyzing the ways language, religion, economy, government, and other cultural phenomena vary or remain constant from one place to another and on explaining how humans function spatially.[7]

This picture shows terraced rice agriculture in Asia.

Development[edit]

Development geography is the study of the Earth's geography with reference to the standard of living and the quality of life of its human inhabitants, study of the location, distribution and spatial organization of economic activities, across the Earth. The subject matter investigated is strongly influenced by the researcher's methodological approach.

Economic[edit]

Economic Geography: Shan Street bazaar, market in Myanmar

Economic geography examines relationships between human economic systems, states, and other factors, and the biophysical environment.

Health[edit]

Health geography is the application of geographical information, perspectives, and methods to the study of health, disease, and health care. Health geography deals with the spatial relations and patterns between people and the environment. This is a sub-discipline of human geography, researching how and why diseases are spread.[8]

Historical[edit]

Historical geography is the study of the human, physical, fictional, theoretical, and "real" geographies of the past. Historical geography studies a wide variety of issues and topics. A common theme is the study of the geographies of the past and how a place or region changes through time. Many historical geographers study geographical patterns through time, including how people have interacted with their environment, and created the cultural landscape.

Political[edit]

Political geography is concerned with the study of both the spatially uneven outcomes of political processes and the ways in which political processes are themselves affected by spatial structures.

Population[edit]

Population geography is the study of ways in which spatial variations in the distribution, composition, migration, and growth of populations are related to the natural of places.

Settlement[edit]

Settlement geography, including urban geography, is the study of urban and rural areas with specific regards to spatial, relational and theoretical aspects of settlement. That is the study of areas which have a concentration of buildings and infrastructure. These are areas where the majority of economic activities are in the secondary sector and tertiary sectors. In case of urban settlement, they probably have a high population density.[citation needed]

Urban[edit]

Urban geography a study of geography that highly emphasizes areas consisting of cities, towns, and places of similar high concentration of infrastructure. It also combines ideas from other branches of Human Geography to see how this changes the dynamic and development of an urban area.[9]

Philosophical and theoretical approaches[edit]

Within each of the subfields, various philosophical approaches can be used in research; therefore, an urban geographer could be a Feminist or Marxist geographer, etc.

Such approaches are:

List of notable human geographers[edit]

Carl Ritter - considered to be one of the founders of modern geography

Journals[edit]

As with all social sciences, human geographers publish research and other written work in a variety of academic journals. Whilst human geography is interdisciplinary, there are a number of journals with as human geography focus.

These include:

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Johnston, Ron (2000). "Human Geography". In Johnston, Ron; Gregory, Derek; Pratt, Geraldine; et al. The Dictionary of Human Geography. Oxford: Blackwell. pp. 353–60. 
  2. ^ Russel, Polly. "Human Geography". British Library. Retrieved 26 February 2017. 
  3. ^ Reinhold, Dennie (February 7, 2017). "Human Geography". www.geog.uni-heidelberg.de. Retrieved 2017-02-23. 
  4. ^ Royal Geographical Society. "History". Retrieved 9 March 2011. 
  5. ^ Harvey, David (1973). Social Justice and the City. London: Edward Arnold. pp. 128–9. 
  6. ^ Antipode: A Radical Journal of Geography (2009). "Antipode: A Radical Journal of Geography: Celebrating Over 40 years of Radical Geography 1969-2009". Retrieved 31 May 2010. 
  7. ^ Jordan-Bychkov, Terry G.; Domosh, Mona; Rowntree, Lester (1994). The human mosaic: a thematic introduction to cultural geography. New York: HarperCollinsCollegePublishers. ISBN 978-0-06-500731-2. 
  8. ^ Dummer, Trevor J.B. (2008-04-22). "Health geography: supporting public health policy and planning". CMAJ : Canadian Medical Association Journal. 178 (9): 1177–1180. doi:10.1503/cmaj.071783. ISSN 0820-3946. PMC 2292766Freely accessible. PMID 18427094. 
  9. ^ a b Palm, Risa (2016-09-05). "Urban geography: city structures". Progress in Geography. doi:10.1177/030913258200600104. 
  10. ^ ACME journal homepage. Accessed: May 18, 2015.
  11. ^ Global Environmental Change homepage

Further reading[edit]

  • Blij, Harm Jan, De (2008). Geography: realms, regions, and concepts. Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley. ISBN 978-0-470-12905-0. 
  • Clifford, N.J.; Holloway, S.L.; Rice, S.P.; Valentine, G., eds. (2009). Key Concepts in Geography (2nd ed.). London: SAGE. ISBN 978-1-4129-3021-5. 
  • Cloke, Paul J.; Crang, Philip; Goodwin, Mark (2004). Envisioning human geographies. London: Arnold. ISBN 978-0-340-72013-4. 
  • Cloke, Paul J.; Crang, Phil; Crang, Philip; Goodwin, Mark (2005). Introducing human geographies (2nd ed.). London: Hodder Arnold. ISBN 978-0-340-88276-4. 
  • Crang, Mike; Thrift, Nigel J. (2000). Thinking space. London: Routledge. ISBN 978-0-415-16016-2. 
  • Daniels, Peter; Bradshaw, Michael; Shaw, Denis J. B.; Sidaway, James D. (2004). An Introduction to Human Geography: issues for the 21st century (2nd ed.). Prentice Hall. ISBN 978-0-13-121766-9. 
  • Flowerdew, Robin; Martin, David (2005). Methods in human geography: a guide for students doing a research project (2nd ed.). Harlow: Prentice Hall. ISBN 978-0-582-47321-8. 
  • Gregory, Derek; Martin, Ron G.; Smith, Graham (1994). Human geography: society, space and social science. Basingstoke: Macmillan. ISBN 978-0-333-45251-6. 
  • Harvey, David D. (1996). Justice, Nature and the Geography of Difference. Blackwell Pub. ISBN 978-1-55786-680-6. 
  • Johnston, R.J. (2009). The Dictionary of Human Geography (5th ed.). Blackwell Publishers, London. 
  • Johnston, R.J (2002). Geographies of Global Change: Remapping the World. Blackwell Publishers, London. 
  • Moseley, William W.; Lanegran, David A.; Pandit, Kavita (2007). The Introductory Reader in Human Geography: Contemporary Debates and Classic Writings. Malden, MA: Blackwell Publishing Limited. ISBN 978-1-4051-4922-8. 
  • Peet, Richard, ed. (1998). Modern Geographical Thought. Oxford: Wiley-Blackwell. ISBN 978-1-55786-378-2. 
  • Soja, Edward (1989). Postmodern Geographies: The Reassertion of Space in Critical Social Theory. Verso, London. 

External links[edit]

Notes[edit]

·Urbanization is a major proponent to human and population geography, especially over the past 100 years as population shift has moved to urban areas. [1]

  1. ^ In only 200 years, the world's urban population has grown from 2 percent to nearly 50 percent of all people.