Physical Vs Human Geography Dualism Notes by NETSET CORNER

Physical Vs Human Geography Dualism Notes by NETSET CORNER

[1] Physical v/s Human Geography Dualism

Greeks were the first who started branching of geography into physical and human geography.

Physical Geography

Physical geography is defined as study of natural environment. It comprises of Climatology, Hydrology, Oceanography, Geomorphology, Pedology etc.

Hecataeus, Immanuel Kant, Humboldt and Darwin were primarily interested in physical geography. Varenius in his ‘Geographia Generalis’ was the first to highlight the differences in characteristics of physical and human geography. ‘Physical Geography’ by Mars Somerville and ‘Physiography’ by Henery Huxley highlights their inclination towards physical geography.

Later on Koppen, Davis, Martonne, Mill, Jafferson and Dokuchaive put great emphasis on landforms and climate as major concerns of geography. Davis introduced the concept of normal cycle of erosion.

Ratzel and Semple believed that physical environment determines lifestyle of people. Semple asserted that ‘man is the product of earth surface’. Huntington considered weather and climatic conditions as prime reasons for shift in centres of civilisation.

Mackinder, Chisholm and Herbertson also recognised physical geography as main field of geography.

Supporter: Hecataeus, Immanuel Kant, Humboldt, Darwin, Ratzel, Semple, Koppen, Davis, Martonne, Mill, Jafferson and Dokuchaive- all belonged to school of Physical Geography.


Human Geography

Human Geography is defined as study of impact and behaviour of people and how they relate to physical world. It comprises cultural geography, social geography, political geography, economic geography, urban geography and population geography.

Herodotus, a Greek geographer, emphasised human aspect in geography. Strabo, Ritter, Ratzel and Febvre considered man as an agent who brings change in the landscape.

According to Vidal de la Blache, in an area of human settlement, nature changes significantly because of presence of man and these changes are greatest where the level of material culture of community is highest.

Mark Jafferson brought the idea of ‘central places’, ‘the primate city’ and ‘the civilising rails’ in the field of human and urban geography.

The followers of human geography worked to establish a man nature mutual relationship in which each of the two is dependent on the other.

Supporter: Herodotus, Strabo Ritter, Ratzel and Febvre, Vidal de la Blache, Mark Jafferson all belonged to school of Human Geography.


Geography does not fall into two groups i.e. physical and human. These two are just the two extremes of a continuum. This division is artificial and illogical. It is just a consequence of historical development of the discipline. Hartshorne asserted that if geography is divided into physical and human phenomena, then the rest of the work is made illogical.


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