Behaviouralism in Geography Study Material by NETSET CORNER

Behaviouralism in Geography Full Notes

[2] Behaviouralism

The behavioural approach in geography was introduced in 1960s to analyse the man-environment relationship. It was developed as the opposition of quantitative and positivism approaches.

Behaviouralism emphasised the role of cognitive (subjective) and decision-making variables in mediating the relationship between environment and spatial behaviour.

It is largely inductive. This approach has been adopted since the time of Immanuel Kant. Reclus, Sauer and Wright too advocated behavioural approach for interpretation of man-nature interaction. The followers of behavioural geography do not recognise man as a rational person or an ‘economic man’ who always tries to optimise his profits. Most of his decisions are based on behavioural environment and not on real environment. Behavioural environment refers to the reality perceived by individuals and not actuality.

Objectives of Behavioural Approach:

[1] To develop models for humanity which were alternative to spatial location theories developed through quantitative revolution.

[2] To define subjective environment which determines the decision making process of man.

[3] To emphasise individuals and small groups and not population.

[4] To generate primary data about human behaviour and not to rely heavily on the published data.

[5] To adopt an inter-disciplinary approach for theory building and problem solving.

The Basic Philosophy of Behaviourlism Approach:

The behavioral geographer recognizes that man shapes as well as responds to his environment & man and environment dynamically interrelated.

The behavioral geographer argued that environment cognition (perception) upon which people act may well differ markedly form the true nature of the real environment of real world.

Space (Environment) thus can be said to have a dual character-

[1] as an objective environment– the world of actuality- which may be gauged by some direct means (senses)

[2] as a behavioral environment-  the world of mind (Mental Map) – which can be studied only by indirect means.
{Note: Mental Map Concept Developed by P. Gould, R. White and Lynch also associated with mental map concept}

Criticism of Behavioural Approach:

[i] They gave more emphasis to individuals rather than to society.

[ii] The lack of theories came in the way of qualitative research.

[iii] The researcher was never sure about the reliability and authenticity of their findings as the results cannot be tested with the help of quantitative techniques.


Key Points on Behaviouralism –

[1] The behavioral approach in geography was introduced in 1960s.

[2] It was developed as the opposition of quantitative and positivism approaches.

[3] Propounder: Kirk & Wolpert

[4] Concept of Mental Map Developed by P. Gould, R. White and Lynch also associated with mental map concept.


N.B- Notes will be updated time to time

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