Social Sciences and Humanity Studies Academic Blog

Geography and its Types

Posted in assignment, Media by Shekhar on February 18, 2009

(This text is the part of my Geography assignment during my 1st semester of Bachelor in Media Studies, Kathmandu University)

INTRODUCTION

DEFINITION

Fig showing the various related aspects, branches and visual description of geography

Fig showing the various related aspects, branches and visual description of geography

Geography comes from the Greek word “geographia” which   means earth description”. Traditionally it is defined as science that broadly deals with the structures and processes of the Earth’s physical and human environments and the interaction between the two, particularly in their spatial contexts. In today’s world geography no longer just mean only the description of the earth but also this involves explaining the processes operating below on and above the Earth’s surface an d the ways in which these process have created the landscapes around us and continue to change .In addition geography also clarifies why human structures and activities have developed in different ways in particular places. Geography is the detail and complex study of the natural and artificial process that are operating over the earth surface as well as inside the earth and space that operate over the earth over the time and again.

Geography is often called interdisciplinary because it draws on knowledge from other scientific disciplines: biology, sociology, meteorology, anthropology, psychology, and others.

Geography as an interdisciplinary subject

Geography as an interdisciplinary subject

Yet, the geographer’s focus is always spatial. Using models and theories; traditional tools, such as maps and field work; or by utilizing new technologies, including Global Positioning Systems, Geographic Information Systems, and remote sensing, geographers provide a unifying discipline with which students can better understand the world around them. Many geographers are applied practitioners, solving problems using a variety of tools, including computer-assisted cartography, statistical methods, remotely sensed imagery, the Global Positioning System (GPS), and geographic information systems. Geography is a synoptic science that uses the same elements as the other sciences but in a different context. It integrates data spatially, making elaborate use of maps as its special tool. Geography may be studied by way of several interrelated approaches, i.e., systematically, regionally, descriptively, and analytically


BRANCHES OF GEOGRAPHY

Modern geography has been divided conventionally into two main traditions: systematic and regional geography.

  1. Systematic geography: It is concerned with the formulation of general laws and principles and  is divided into two branches:

Physical geography and human geography

  1. Regional geography: It is concerned with the combination of physical and human -made features that characterize different region of the earth’s surface and that distinguish one form another.

(Note: In France and Germany regional concept of geography has maintained a rather stronger position, in part because of the different approach to the region in these countries)

Now we shall describe briefly about physical geography and human geography.

PHYSICAL GEOGRAHY: This branches of systematic geography is concerned with the physical environment, physical geography, encompasses a number of subjects areas with close links to other environmental discipline, notably geomorphology (study of evolution and configuration land reforms), climatology(study of  the long-term behavior of the atmosphere in specific areas), biogeography(study of the distributions of living and fossil species of plants and animals across the Earth’s surface as consequences of ecological and evolutionary processes), pedology(science that is concerned with the nature and arrangement of horizons in soil profiles; the physical constitution and chemical composition of soils; the occurrence of soils in relation to one another and to other elements of the environment such as climate, natural vegetation, topography, and rocks; and the modes of origin of soils. Pedology so defined does not include soil technology, which is concerned with uses of soils), hydrology (scientific study of the properties, distribution, and effects of water on the earth’s surface, in the soil and underlying rocks, and in the atmosphere).

(NOTE: let’s not be confused with various terminologies such as zoogeography, meteorology, paleontology, ecology, oceanography etc because they all are related physical geography)

HUMAN GEOGRAPHY: Human geography is a branch of geography that focuses on the study of patterns and processes that shape human interaction with the environment, with particular reference to the causes and consequences of the spatial distribution of human activity on the Earth’s surface. Geography is concentrated on the question “where”. Human geography, however, focuses on answering the “why” of “where”.

Human geography involves the study of people and their activities and structures, whether economic, social, cultural, or political. It also encompasses the ways in which people interact with the natural environment. At its simplest this involves the description, analysis, and mapping of where, for example, industries or towns are located, but human geographers’ concerns are generally far more complex than this. In particular, they seek to understand how and why human structures and activities have developed in particular ways in particular places. Like physical geography, human geography is divided into a number of specialized areas of research-economic, political, social, cultural, urban, and historical.

Focusing on scope of human geography, it encompasses human, political, cultural, social, and economic aspects of the social sciences. Human geography is methodologically diverse using both qualitative methods and quantitative methods, including case studies, survey research, statistical analysis, and model building among others.

Geographers have mentioned various discipline of human geography regarding the modern way of life and extreme demand with rapid development of technology and dependency of human society on electrical and mechanical devices. Some of them are listed below:

  1. Economic geography or developmental geography: the social science that deals with the production, distribution, and consumption of goods and services and with the theory and management of economies or economic systems.

2.      Cultural geography: Cultural geography is a relatively new sub-field within human geography. A very simple and broad definition of Cultural       Geography is the study of geographical aspects of human culture. Its area of study is broad which include various specific terminologies such as

Globalization as the process, in which connections around the world increase and cultures become more alike. Globalization is an example of cultural convergence different cultures blending together

v     Westernization or the fast interference of foreign cultural features such  as dress up, festivals, living demands and other aspects of human dimension

v     Theories of Cultural hegemony or cultural assimilation via cultural imperialism.

v      Cultural aerial differentiation as a study of differences in way of life encompassing ideas, attitudes, languages, practices, institutions, and structures of power and whole range of cultural practices in geographical areas .

3.      Environmental geography: Environmental geography is the branch of geography that describes the spatial aspects of interactions between humans and the natural world. It requires an understanding of the dynamics of geology, meteorology, hydrology, biogeography, and geomorphology, as well as the ways in which human societies conceptualize the environment.

4.      Feminist geography: A geography which questions the patriarchal and hierarchical assumptions on which geography is based, and emphasizes the oppression of women and the gender inequality between men and women, especially as expressed in gendered space .It comprises the study the ways in which environmental perception and the representation of space vary with gender, and claim that the very language of geography is gendered and sexist..

5.      Historical geography: It 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.

6.      Language geography: studies the geographic distribution of language or its constituent elements. There are two principal fields of study within the geography of language: the “geography of languages”, which deals with the distribution through history and space of languages, and “linguistic geography”, which deals with regional linguistic variations within languages.

7.      Religion geography: It is the study of the distribution of religions and how they got where they are, how they were created.

8.      Marketing geography: It is the study of where to put stores and retail chains to maximize exposure to the target audience.

9.      Political geography: The geography of states, federations, and sub state units. It is closely related to geopolitics, which is seen as the strategic, military and governmental application of political geographies.

In political geography we study how and why states are organized into regional grouping both formally and informally, the relationship between states and former colonies, the relationship between a government and its people, the functions and demarcation of boundaries.

10.              Population geography; It is the study of the ways in which spatial variations in the distribution, composition, migration, and growth of populations are related to the nature of places. Population geography involves demography in a geographical perspective. It focuses on the characteristics of population distributions that change in a spatial context. Examples can be shown through population density maps. A few types of

Maps that show the spatial layout of population are chloropleth, isoline, and dot maps. Demography studies:

v                 Study of people in their spatial distribution and density

v                 Increase or decrease in population numbers

v                 The movements and mobility of populations

v                 Occupational Structure

v                 Grouping of people in settlements

v                 The way from the geographical character of places e.g. settlement patterns

v                 The way in which places in turn react to population phenomena e.g. immigration and so on.

Note: The thinning of the ozone layer, the disposal of nuclear waste, homelessness, drug abuse, sea level rise and global warming, loss of biodiversity, the break-up of the Soviet Union, the break-up of the family. These are all critical problems facing the world today and none of them can be understood properly without an understanding of geography or geology

List of 122  different landscapes and geographic features present in the earth in alphabetical order

1)                  Alp, archipelago, arroyo, avalanche area etc

2)                  Badlands, bank, barrier, island, barrier, reef, basin, bay, bayou, beach, bluff bog, bowl, box, canyon, brook, brush, bush, butte etc

3)

Avalanche

caldera, canal, canyon ,cape, cave, cavern, channel, chasm ,chimney ,clearing ,cliff ,coast, coastal plain ,coastline continental ,shelf cove, crag, crater, creek ,crest, crevasse ,crevice etc

4)                  Dale, dell, delta, depression, desert, draw, drift, dune, everglade etc

5)                  Falls, field fissure, fjord, floating island, flood plain, foothills, ford, forest, fork, fountainhead, gap, geyser, glacier etc

6)                  Glade, glen, gorge, grassland, grotto, grove gulch, gulf, gully etc

7)                  Headland, headwaters, hedge, high seas, hill, hillside, hilltop etc

8)                  Hollow ice, cliff, ice face, ice field, iceberg, icefall, inlet, island, islets, isthmus etc

9)                  Jungle, knoll etc

10)              Lagoon, lake, ledge etc

11)              Mainland marsh meadow mesa mire moor moraine mound mountain mass mountain peak mountain range mountain slope mud

12)              Flat narrows neck oasis ocean orchard overhang overlook

13)              Pampas Park pass peak peninsula pike pinnacle pit plain plateau point pond pool prairie precipice promontory puddle

14)              Quicksand rain forest

15)              Range rapids ravine reef reservoir ridge rift rise river bed river mouth riverbank riverside rivulet

16)              salt lake sand bar sand dune sandbank sandbar scrub sea cliff seashore shallows shore shoreline sinkhole snow snowfield spring stand strait stream summit surf swamp

17)              Tableland tar pit thicket tidal basin tidal marsh tide pool timberland tower trench tributary tundra

18)              Underbrush

19)              Vale valley vista volcano

20)              Water hole waterfall waterfront waterspout wetlands whirlpool white water woodland woods.

Importance of studying of geography

The study of Geography encourages an understanding of physical and social processes in a variety of places and under varying environmental conditions. The concepts, skills, techniques and ways of thinking of the geographer enable students to understand the links between physical and social processes and the importance of place and space in creating major issues facing today’s society. Many of the problems associated with the physical environment require geological understanding, such as the disposal of radioactive waste, coastal protection and landslides. How are nuclear sites chosen, for example? Is the geological soundness a paramount factor or do local politics or the nature of the local economy play a part in the decision making process? Why are problems such as homelessness, drug abuse and single parenthood most acute in inner city areas – and why some cities more than others? Why will some low lying countries such as Bangladesh suffer more from global warming than equally low lying countries such as the Netherlands? These questions and many others simply cannot be answered without an understanding of geography.

Studying Geography and Geology prepares students for a wide range of careers in the private, public, academic and voluntary sectors. Geography is much more than precipitation cycles, podzolic soils, population pyramids and plate tectonics – it is the study of the relationships between the Earth’s landscapes, people, places and environments. In short, geography helps us to understand and explain the complex world we live in. The important role of geographical knowledge in understanding current local and global issues, such as climate change and world trade, is increasingly recognised by governments and businesses. Furthermore, the specific skills and expertise gained by geography graduates make them highly prized by employers.

OBJECTIVES:

Figs showing different people have different objectives on geography

Figs showing different people have different objectives on geography

After being acquainted with knowledge of geography we should be able to prepare written and verbal presentations that report their geographical discoveries through analyses of appropriate documents, primary data, and/or archival data. In technical styles we should prepare maps and other geographical graphics that report their discoveries through analyses of appropriate documents, primary data, and/or archival data.

Since the study of geography and geology relates so closely to real world issues, teaching and learning takes place not only in the classroom but also in “the field”. Fieldwork forms an important part of both degrees and takes place in a range of settings, from the local neighborhood, where students may monitor pollution levels or assess the degree of accessibility for disabled people, to volcanoes where geologists will study land deformation to try to predict future eruptions. All university courses incorporate field visits using sites in the British Isles and, in some cases, overseas. Working in the field not only develops appropriate skills and techniques but also enables students to work effectively in teams – just one more reason that Geography and Geology graduates are so employable. For instance climatology provide a comprehensive description of the Earth’s climate over the range of geographic scales, to understand its features in terms of fundamental physical principles, and to develop models of the Earth’s climate for sensitivity studies and for the prediction of future changes that may result from natural.

In addition, Geography and Geology courses provide access to a broad range of general careers, such as administration and management, the police and the armed forces, marketing and sales and, of course, teaching has always been a popular destination for geologist and geographer.

CONCLUSION:

Geography is a way of thinking, of asking questions, and of observing and appreciating the world around us. It gives us tools we need to move about in the world, to make wise decisions about our environment, and to relate more meaningfully to people from other lands and cultures. Geography was the biggest factor that controlled what you can ‘find’ and access. Even with the advent of faster, cheaper, easier communication methods, the tight coupling between serendipity and geography remained. Thus geography lies in the periphery of social science.

We should take geography as an academic and professional discipline offers important knowledge as well as analytical techniques which have application in solving important human problems.  We can explore spatial connectivity of human societies and environments at local, regional and global scales.

9 Responses

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