NCERT Textbook - Geography as a Discipline Humanities/Arts Notes | EduRev

NCERT Textbooks (Class 6 to Class 12)

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Humanities/Arts : NCERT Textbook - Geography as a Discipline Humanities/Arts Notes | EduRev

 Page 1


GEOGRAPHY AS A DISCIPLINE
This unit deals with
• Geography as an integrating discipline; as a science of spatial
attributes
• Branches of geography; importance of physical geography
UNIT
I
Page 2


GEOGRAPHY AS A DISCIPLINE
This unit deals with
• Geography as an integrating discipline; as a science of spatial
attributes
• Branches of geography; importance of physical geography
UNIT
I
Y
ou have studied geography as one of the
components of your Social Science course
upto the secondary stage. You are
already aware of some of the  phenomena of
geographical nature in the world and its
different parts. Now, you will study ‘Geography’
as an independent subject and learn about the
physical environment of the earth, human
activities and their interactive relationships.
Therefore, a pertinent question you can ask at
this stage is — Why should we study
geography? We live on the surface of the earth.
Our lives are affected by our surroundings in
many ways. We depend on the resources to
sustain ourselves in the surrounding areas.
Primitive societies subsisted on ‘natural means
of subsistence’, i.e.  edible plants and animals.
With the passage of time, we developed
technologies and started producing our food
using natural resources such as land, soil and
water. We adjusted our food habits and
clothing according to the prevailing weather
conditions. There are variations in the natural
resource base, technological development,
adaptation with and modification of physical
environment, social organisations and cultural
development. As a student of geography, you
should be curious to know about all  the
phenomena which vary over space. You learn
about the diverse lands and people. You
should also be interested in understanding the
changes which have taken place over time.
Geography equips you to appreciate diversity
and investigate into the causes responsible for
creating such variations over time and space.
You will develop skills to understand the globe
converted into maps and have a visual sense
of the earth’s surface. The understanding and
the skills obtained  in modern scientific
techniques such as GIS and computer
cartography  equip you to meaningfully
contribute to the national endeavour for
development.
Now the next question which you may like
to ask is — What is geography? You know that
earth is our home. It is also the home of many
other creatures, big and small, which live on
the earth and sustain. The earth’s surface is
not uniform. It has variations in its physical
features.  There are mountains, hills, valleys,
plains, plateaus, oceans, lakes, deserts and
wilderness. There are variations in its social
and cultural features too. There are villages,
cities, roads, railways, ports, markets and
many other elements created by human beings
across the entire period of their  cultural
development.
This variation provides a clue to the
understanding of the relationship between the
physical environment and social/cultural
features. The physical environment has
provided the stage, on which human societies
enacted the drama of their creative skills with
the tools and techniques which they invented
and evolved in the process of their cultural
development. Now, you should be able to
attempt the answer of the question posed
earlier as to “What is geography”? In very
simple words, it can be said that geography
is the description of the earth. The term
geography was first coined by Eratosthenese,
a Greek scholar (276-194 BC.). The word has
been derived from two roots from Greek
language geo (earth) and graphos (description).
GEOGRAPHY AS A DISCIPLINE
CHAPTER
Page 3


GEOGRAPHY AS A DISCIPLINE
This unit deals with
• Geography as an integrating discipline; as a science of spatial
attributes
• Branches of geography; importance of physical geography
UNIT
I
Y
ou have studied geography as one of the
components of your Social Science course
upto the secondary stage. You are
already aware of some of the  phenomena of
geographical nature in the world and its
different parts. Now, you will study ‘Geography’
as an independent subject and learn about the
physical environment of the earth, human
activities and their interactive relationships.
Therefore, a pertinent question you can ask at
this stage is — Why should we study
geography? We live on the surface of the earth.
Our lives are affected by our surroundings in
many ways. We depend on the resources to
sustain ourselves in the surrounding areas.
Primitive societies subsisted on ‘natural means
of subsistence’, i.e.  edible plants and animals.
With the passage of time, we developed
technologies and started producing our food
using natural resources such as land, soil and
water. We adjusted our food habits and
clothing according to the prevailing weather
conditions. There are variations in the natural
resource base, technological development,
adaptation with and modification of physical
environment, social organisations and cultural
development. As a student of geography, you
should be curious to know about all  the
phenomena which vary over space. You learn
about the diverse lands and people. You
should also be interested in understanding the
changes which have taken place over time.
Geography equips you to appreciate diversity
and investigate into the causes responsible for
creating such variations over time and space.
You will develop skills to understand the globe
converted into maps and have a visual sense
of the earth’s surface. The understanding and
the skills obtained  in modern scientific
techniques such as GIS and computer
cartography  equip you to meaningfully
contribute to the national endeavour for
development.
Now the next question which you may like
to ask is — What is geography? You know that
earth is our home. It is also the home of many
other creatures, big and small, which live on
the earth and sustain. The earth’s surface is
not uniform. It has variations in its physical
features.  There are mountains, hills, valleys,
plains, plateaus, oceans, lakes, deserts and
wilderness. There are variations in its social
and cultural features too. There are villages,
cities, roads, railways, ports, markets and
many other elements created by human beings
across the entire period of their  cultural
development.
This variation provides a clue to the
understanding of the relationship between the
physical environment and social/cultural
features. The physical environment has
provided the stage, on which human societies
enacted the drama of their creative skills with
the tools and techniques which they invented
and evolved in the process of their cultural
development. Now, you should be able to
attempt the answer of the question posed
earlier as to “What is geography”? In very
simple words, it can be said that geography
is the description of the earth. The term
geography was first coined by Eratosthenese,
a Greek scholar (276-194 BC.). The word has
been derived from two roots from Greek
language geo (earth) and graphos (description).
GEOGRAPHY AS A DISCIPLINE
CHAPTER
GEOGRAPHY AS A DISCIPLINE 3
Put together, they mean description of the earth.
The earth has always been seen as the abode
of human beings and thus, scholars defined
geography as, “the  description  of the earth as
the abode of human beings”. You are aware of
the fact that reality is always multifaceted and
the  ‘earth’ is also multi-dimensional, that is
why many disciplines from natural sciences
such as geology, pedology, oceanography,
botany, zoology and meteorology and a
number of sister disciplines in social sciences
such as economics, history, sociology, political
science, anthropology, etc. study different
aspects of the earth’s  surface. Geography is
different from other sciences in its subject
matter and methodology but at the same time,
it is closely related to other disciplines.
Geography derives its data base from all the
natural and social sciences and attempts their
synthesis.
We have noted that there exist variations
over the surface of the earth in its physical as
well as cultural environment. A number of
phenomena are similar and many are dissimilar.
It was, therefore, logical to perceive geography
as the study of areal differentiation. Thus,
geography was perceived to study all those
phenomena which vary over space.
Geographers do not study only the variations
in the phenomena over the earth’s surface
(space) but also study the associations with
the other factors which cause these variations.
For example, cropping patterns differ from
region to region but  this variation in cropping
pattern, as a phenomenon, is related to
variations in soils, climates, demands in the
market,  capacity of the farmer to invest and
technological inputs available to her/him.
Thus, the concern of geography is to find out
the causal relationship between any two
phenomena or between more than one
phenomenon.
A geographer explains the phenomena in
a frame of cause and effect relationship, as it
does not only help in interpretation but also
foresees the phenomena in future.
The geographical phenomena, both the
physical and human, are not static but highly
dynamic. They change over time as a result of
the interactive processes between ever
changing earth and untiring and ever-active
human beings. Primitive human societies were
directly dependent on their immediate
environment. Geography, thus, is concerned
with the study of Nature and Human
interactions as an integrated whole. ‘Human’
is an integral part of ‘nature’ and ‘nature’ has
the imprints of ‘human’. ‘Nature’ has influenced
different aspects of human life. Its imprints can
be noticed on food, clothing, shelter and
occupation. Human beings have come to terms
with nature through adaptation and
modification.  As you already know, the present
society has passed the stage of primitive
societies, which were directly dependent on
their immediate physical environment for
sustenance. Present societies have modified
their natural environment by inventing and
using technology and thus, have expanded the
horizon of their operation by appropriating and
utilising the resources provided by nature. With
the gradual development of technology, human
beings were able to loosen the shackles of their
physical environment. Technology helped in
reducing the harshness of labour, increased
labour efficiency and provided leisure to
human beings to attend to the higher needs of
life. It also increased the scale of production
and the mobility of labour.
The interaction between the physical
environment and human beings has been very
succinctly described by a poet in the following
dialogue between ‘human’ and ‘nature’ (God).
You created the soil, I created the cup, you
created night, I created the lamp. You created
wilderness, hilly terrains and deserts; I
created flower beds and gardens. Human
beings have claimed their contribution using
natural resources. With the help of technology,
human beings moved from the stage of
necessity to a stage of freedom. They have put
their imprints everywhere and created new
possibilities in collaboration with nature. Thus,
we now find humanised nature and
naturalised human beings and geography
studies this interactive relationship. The space
got organised with the help of the means of
transportation and communication network.
The links (routes) and nodes (settlements of all
types and hierarchies) integrated the space and
Page 4


GEOGRAPHY AS A DISCIPLINE
This unit deals with
• Geography as an integrating discipline; as a science of spatial
attributes
• Branches of geography; importance of physical geography
UNIT
I
Y
ou have studied geography as one of the
components of your Social Science course
upto the secondary stage. You are
already aware of some of the  phenomena of
geographical nature in the world and its
different parts. Now, you will study ‘Geography’
as an independent subject and learn about the
physical environment of the earth, human
activities and their interactive relationships.
Therefore, a pertinent question you can ask at
this stage is — Why should we study
geography? We live on the surface of the earth.
Our lives are affected by our surroundings in
many ways. We depend on the resources to
sustain ourselves in the surrounding areas.
Primitive societies subsisted on ‘natural means
of subsistence’, i.e.  edible plants and animals.
With the passage of time, we developed
technologies and started producing our food
using natural resources such as land, soil and
water. We adjusted our food habits and
clothing according to the prevailing weather
conditions. There are variations in the natural
resource base, technological development,
adaptation with and modification of physical
environment, social organisations and cultural
development. As a student of geography, you
should be curious to know about all  the
phenomena which vary over space. You learn
about the diverse lands and people. You
should also be interested in understanding the
changes which have taken place over time.
Geography equips you to appreciate diversity
and investigate into the causes responsible for
creating such variations over time and space.
You will develop skills to understand the globe
converted into maps and have a visual sense
of the earth’s surface. The understanding and
the skills obtained  in modern scientific
techniques such as GIS and computer
cartography  equip you to meaningfully
contribute to the national endeavour for
development.
Now the next question which you may like
to ask is — What is geography? You know that
earth is our home. It is also the home of many
other creatures, big and small, which live on
the earth and sustain. The earth’s surface is
not uniform. It has variations in its physical
features.  There are mountains, hills, valleys,
plains, plateaus, oceans, lakes, deserts and
wilderness. There are variations in its social
and cultural features too. There are villages,
cities, roads, railways, ports, markets and
many other elements created by human beings
across the entire period of their  cultural
development.
This variation provides a clue to the
understanding of the relationship between the
physical environment and social/cultural
features. The physical environment has
provided the stage, on which human societies
enacted the drama of their creative skills with
the tools and techniques which they invented
and evolved in the process of their cultural
development. Now, you should be able to
attempt the answer of the question posed
earlier as to “What is geography”? In very
simple words, it can be said that geography
is the description of the earth. The term
geography was first coined by Eratosthenese,
a Greek scholar (276-194 BC.). The word has
been derived from two roots from Greek
language geo (earth) and graphos (description).
GEOGRAPHY AS A DISCIPLINE
CHAPTER
GEOGRAPHY AS A DISCIPLINE 3
Put together, they mean description of the earth.
The earth has always been seen as the abode
of human beings and thus, scholars defined
geography as, “the  description  of the earth as
the abode of human beings”. You are aware of
the fact that reality is always multifaceted and
the  ‘earth’ is also multi-dimensional, that is
why many disciplines from natural sciences
such as geology, pedology, oceanography,
botany, zoology and meteorology and a
number of sister disciplines in social sciences
such as economics, history, sociology, political
science, anthropology, etc. study different
aspects of the earth’s  surface. Geography is
different from other sciences in its subject
matter and methodology but at the same time,
it is closely related to other disciplines.
Geography derives its data base from all the
natural and social sciences and attempts their
synthesis.
We have noted that there exist variations
over the surface of the earth in its physical as
well as cultural environment. A number of
phenomena are similar and many are dissimilar.
It was, therefore, logical to perceive geography
as the study of areal differentiation. Thus,
geography was perceived to study all those
phenomena which vary over space.
Geographers do not study only the variations
in the phenomena over the earth’s surface
(space) but also study the associations with
the other factors which cause these variations.
For example, cropping patterns differ from
region to region but  this variation in cropping
pattern, as a phenomenon, is related to
variations in soils, climates, demands in the
market,  capacity of the farmer to invest and
technological inputs available to her/him.
Thus, the concern of geography is to find out
the causal relationship between any two
phenomena or between more than one
phenomenon.
A geographer explains the phenomena in
a frame of cause and effect relationship, as it
does not only help in interpretation but also
foresees the phenomena in future.
The geographical phenomena, both the
physical and human, are not static but highly
dynamic. They change over time as a result of
the interactive processes between ever
changing earth and untiring and ever-active
human beings. Primitive human societies were
directly dependent on their immediate
environment. Geography, thus, is concerned
with the study of Nature and Human
interactions as an integrated whole. ‘Human’
is an integral part of ‘nature’ and ‘nature’ has
the imprints of ‘human’. ‘Nature’ has influenced
different aspects of human life. Its imprints can
be noticed on food, clothing, shelter and
occupation. Human beings have come to terms
with nature through adaptation and
modification.  As you already know, the present
society has passed the stage of primitive
societies, which were directly dependent on
their immediate physical environment for
sustenance. Present societies have modified
their natural environment by inventing and
using technology and thus, have expanded the
horizon of their operation by appropriating and
utilising the resources provided by nature. With
the gradual development of technology, human
beings were able to loosen the shackles of their
physical environment. Technology helped in
reducing the harshness of labour, increased
labour efficiency and provided leisure to
human beings to attend to the higher needs of
life. It also increased the scale of production
and the mobility of labour.
The interaction between the physical
environment and human beings has been very
succinctly described by a poet in the following
dialogue between ‘human’ and ‘nature’ (God).
You created the soil, I created the cup, you
created night, I created the lamp. You created
wilderness, hilly terrains and deserts; I
created flower beds and gardens. Human
beings have claimed their contribution using
natural resources. With the help of technology,
human beings moved from the stage of
necessity to a stage of freedom. They have put
their imprints everywhere and created new
possibilities in collaboration with nature. Thus,
we now find humanised nature and
naturalised human beings and geography
studies this interactive relationship. The space
got organised with the help of the means of
transportation and communication network.
The links (routes) and nodes (settlements of all
types and hierarchies) integrated the space and
FUNDAMENTALS OF PHYSICAL GEOGRAPHY 4
gradually, it got organised. As a social science
discipline, geography studies the ‘spatial
organisation’ and ‘spatial integration’.
Geography as a discipline is concerned with
three sets of questions:
(i) Some questions are related to the
identification of the patterns of natural
and cultural features as found over the
surface of the earth.  These are the
questions about what?
(ii) Some questions are related to the
distribution of the natural and human/
cultural features over the surface of the
earth. These are the questions about
where?
Taken together, both these questions take
care of distributional and locational aspects of
the natural and cultural features. These
questions provided inventorised information of
what features and where located. It was a very
popular approach during the colonial period.
These two questions did not make geography
a scientific discipline till the third question was
added.
(iii) The third question is related to the
explanation or the causal relationships
between features and the processes and
phenomena. This aspect of geography
is related to the question, why?
 Geography as a discipline is related to
space and takes note of spatial characteristics
and attributes. It studies the patterns of
distribution, location and concentration of
phenomena over space and interprets them
providing explanations for these patterns.  It
takes note of the associations and inter-
relationships between the phenomena over
space and interprets them providing
explanations for these patterns. It also takes
note of the associations and inter-relationships
between the phenomena resulting from the
dynamic interaction between  human beings
and their physical environment.
GEOGRAPHY AS AN INTEGRATING DISCIPLINE
Geography is a discipline of synthesis.  It
attempts spatial synthesis, and history
attempts temporal synthesis. Its approach is
holistic in nature. It recognises the fact that
the world is a system of interdependencies.
The present world is being perceived as a global
village. The distances have been reduced by
better means of transportation increasing
accessibility. The audio-visual media and
information technology have enriched the data
base. Technology has provided better chances
of monitoring natural phenomena as well as
the economic and social parameters.
Geography as an integrating discipline has
interface with numerous natural and social
sciences.  All the sciences, whether natural or
social, have one basic objective, of
understanding the reality. Geography
attempts to comprehend the associations of
phenomena as related in sections of reality.
Figure 1.1 shows the relationship of geography
with other sciences. Every discipline, concerned
with scientific knowledge is linked with
geography as many of their elements vary over
space. Geography helps in understanding the
reality in totality in its spatial perspective.
Geography, thus, not only takes note of the
differences in the phenomena from place to
place but integrates them holistically which
may be different at other places.  A geographer
is required to have a broad understanding of
all the related fields, to be able to logically
integrate them. This integration can be
understood with some examples. Geography
influences historical  events. Spatial distance
itself has been a very potent factor to alter the
course of history of the world. Spatial depth
provided defence to many countries,
particularly in the last century. In  traditional
warfare, countries with large size in area, gain
time at the cost of space. The defence provided
by oceanic expanse around the countries of
the new world has protected  them from  wars
being imposed on their soil. If we look at the
historical events world over, each one of them
can be interpreted geographically.
In India, Himalayas have acted as great
barriers and provided protection but the
passes provided routes to the migrants and
invaders from Central Asia. The sea coast has
encouraged contact with people from East and
Southeast Asia, Europe and Africa. Navigation
technology helped European countries to
colonise a number of countries of Asia and
Africa, including India as they got accessibility
Page 5


GEOGRAPHY AS A DISCIPLINE
This unit deals with
• Geography as an integrating discipline; as a science of spatial
attributes
• Branches of geography; importance of physical geography
UNIT
I
Y
ou have studied geography as one of the
components of your Social Science course
upto the secondary stage. You are
already aware of some of the  phenomena of
geographical nature in the world and its
different parts. Now, you will study ‘Geography’
as an independent subject and learn about the
physical environment of the earth, human
activities and their interactive relationships.
Therefore, a pertinent question you can ask at
this stage is — Why should we study
geography? We live on the surface of the earth.
Our lives are affected by our surroundings in
many ways. We depend on the resources to
sustain ourselves in the surrounding areas.
Primitive societies subsisted on ‘natural means
of subsistence’, i.e.  edible plants and animals.
With the passage of time, we developed
technologies and started producing our food
using natural resources such as land, soil and
water. We adjusted our food habits and
clothing according to the prevailing weather
conditions. There are variations in the natural
resource base, technological development,
adaptation with and modification of physical
environment, social organisations and cultural
development. As a student of geography, you
should be curious to know about all  the
phenomena which vary over space. You learn
about the diverse lands and people. You
should also be interested in understanding the
changes which have taken place over time.
Geography equips you to appreciate diversity
and investigate into the causes responsible for
creating such variations over time and space.
You will develop skills to understand the globe
converted into maps and have a visual sense
of the earth’s surface. The understanding and
the skills obtained  in modern scientific
techniques such as GIS and computer
cartography  equip you to meaningfully
contribute to the national endeavour for
development.
Now the next question which you may like
to ask is — What is geography? You know that
earth is our home. It is also the home of many
other creatures, big and small, which live on
the earth and sustain. The earth’s surface is
not uniform. It has variations in its physical
features.  There are mountains, hills, valleys,
plains, plateaus, oceans, lakes, deserts and
wilderness. There are variations in its social
and cultural features too. There are villages,
cities, roads, railways, ports, markets and
many other elements created by human beings
across the entire period of their  cultural
development.
This variation provides a clue to the
understanding of the relationship between the
physical environment and social/cultural
features. The physical environment has
provided the stage, on which human societies
enacted the drama of their creative skills with
the tools and techniques which they invented
and evolved in the process of their cultural
development. Now, you should be able to
attempt the answer of the question posed
earlier as to “What is geography”? In very
simple words, it can be said that geography
is the description of the earth. The term
geography was first coined by Eratosthenese,
a Greek scholar (276-194 BC.). The word has
been derived from two roots from Greek
language geo (earth) and graphos (description).
GEOGRAPHY AS A DISCIPLINE
CHAPTER
GEOGRAPHY AS A DISCIPLINE 3
Put together, they mean description of the earth.
The earth has always been seen as the abode
of human beings and thus, scholars defined
geography as, “the  description  of the earth as
the abode of human beings”. You are aware of
the fact that reality is always multifaceted and
the  ‘earth’ is also multi-dimensional, that is
why many disciplines from natural sciences
such as geology, pedology, oceanography,
botany, zoology and meteorology and a
number of sister disciplines in social sciences
such as economics, history, sociology, political
science, anthropology, etc. study different
aspects of the earth’s  surface. Geography is
different from other sciences in its subject
matter and methodology but at the same time,
it is closely related to other disciplines.
Geography derives its data base from all the
natural and social sciences and attempts their
synthesis.
We have noted that there exist variations
over the surface of the earth in its physical as
well as cultural environment. A number of
phenomena are similar and many are dissimilar.
It was, therefore, logical to perceive geography
as the study of areal differentiation. Thus,
geography was perceived to study all those
phenomena which vary over space.
Geographers do not study only the variations
in the phenomena over the earth’s surface
(space) but also study the associations with
the other factors which cause these variations.
For example, cropping patterns differ from
region to region but  this variation in cropping
pattern, as a phenomenon, is related to
variations in soils, climates, demands in the
market,  capacity of the farmer to invest and
technological inputs available to her/him.
Thus, the concern of geography is to find out
the causal relationship between any two
phenomena or between more than one
phenomenon.
A geographer explains the phenomena in
a frame of cause and effect relationship, as it
does not only help in interpretation but also
foresees the phenomena in future.
The geographical phenomena, both the
physical and human, are not static but highly
dynamic. They change over time as a result of
the interactive processes between ever
changing earth and untiring and ever-active
human beings. Primitive human societies were
directly dependent on their immediate
environment. Geography, thus, is concerned
with the study of Nature and Human
interactions as an integrated whole. ‘Human’
is an integral part of ‘nature’ and ‘nature’ has
the imprints of ‘human’. ‘Nature’ has influenced
different aspects of human life. Its imprints can
be noticed on food, clothing, shelter and
occupation. Human beings have come to terms
with nature through adaptation and
modification.  As you already know, the present
society has passed the stage of primitive
societies, which were directly dependent on
their immediate physical environment for
sustenance. Present societies have modified
their natural environment by inventing and
using technology and thus, have expanded the
horizon of their operation by appropriating and
utilising the resources provided by nature. With
the gradual development of technology, human
beings were able to loosen the shackles of their
physical environment. Technology helped in
reducing the harshness of labour, increased
labour efficiency and provided leisure to
human beings to attend to the higher needs of
life. It also increased the scale of production
and the mobility of labour.
The interaction between the physical
environment and human beings has been very
succinctly described by a poet in the following
dialogue between ‘human’ and ‘nature’ (God).
You created the soil, I created the cup, you
created night, I created the lamp. You created
wilderness, hilly terrains and deserts; I
created flower beds and gardens. Human
beings have claimed their contribution using
natural resources. With the help of technology,
human beings moved from the stage of
necessity to a stage of freedom. They have put
their imprints everywhere and created new
possibilities in collaboration with nature. Thus,
we now find humanised nature and
naturalised human beings and geography
studies this interactive relationship. The space
got organised with the help of the means of
transportation and communication network.
The links (routes) and nodes (settlements of all
types and hierarchies) integrated the space and
FUNDAMENTALS OF PHYSICAL GEOGRAPHY 4
gradually, it got organised. As a social science
discipline, geography studies the ‘spatial
organisation’ and ‘spatial integration’.
Geography as a discipline is concerned with
three sets of questions:
(i) Some questions are related to the
identification of the patterns of natural
and cultural features as found over the
surface of the earth.  These are the
questions about what?
(ii) Some questions are related to the
distribution of the natural and human/
cultural features over the surface of the
earth. These are the questions about
where?
Taken together, both these questions take
care of distributional and locational aspects of
the natural and cultural features. These
questions provided inventorised information of
what features and where located. It was a very
popular approach during the colonial period.
These two questions did not make geography
a scientific discipline till the third question was
added.
(iii) The third question is related to the
explanation or the causal relationships
between features and the processes and
phenomena. This aspect of geography
is related to the question, why?
 Geography as a discipline is related to
space and takes note of spatial characteristics
and attributes. It studies the patterns of
distribution, location and concentration of
phenomena over space and interprets them
providing explanations for these patterns.  It
takes note of the associations and inter-
relationships between the phenomena over
space and interprets them providing
explanations for these patterns. It also takes
note of the associations and inter-relationships
between the phenomena resulting from the
dynamic interaction between  human beings
and their physical environment.
GEOGRAPHY AS AN INTEGRATING DISCIPLINE
Geography is a discipline of synthesis.  It
attempts spatial synthesis, and history
attempts temporal synthesis. Its approach is
holistic in nature. It recognises the fact that
the world is a system of interdependencies.
The present world is being perceived as a global
village. The distances have been reduced by
better means of transportation increasing
accessibility. The audio-visual media and
information technology have enriched the data
base. Technology has provided better chances
of monitoring natural phenomena as well as
the economic and social parameters.
Geography as an integrating discipline has
interface with numerous natural and social
sciences.  All the sciences, whether natural or
social, have one basic objective, of
understanding the reality. Geography
attempts to comprehend the associations of
phenomena as related in sections of reality.
Figure 1.1 shows the relationship of geography
with other sciences. Every discipline, concerned
with scientific knowledge is linked with
geography as many of their elements vary over
space. Geography helps in understanding the
reality in totality in its spatial perspective.
Geography, thus, not only takes note of the
differences in the phenomena from place to
place but integrates them holistically which
may be different at other places.  A geographer
is required to have a broad understanding of
all the related fields, to be able to logically
integrate them. This integration can be
understood with some examples. Geography
influences historical  events. Spatial distance
itself has been a very potent factor to alter the
course of history of the world. Spatial depth
provided defence to many countries,
particularly in the last century. In  traditional
warfare, countries with large size in area, gain
time at the cost of space. The defence provided
by oceanic expanse around the countries of
the new world has protected  them from  wars
being imposed on their soil. If we look at the
historical events world over, each one of them
can be interpreted geographically.
In India, Himalayas have acted as great
barriers and provided protection but the
passes provided routes to the migrants and
invaders from Central Asia. The sea coast has
encouraged contact with people from East and
Southeast Asia, Europe and Africa. Navigation
technology helped European countries to
colonise a number of countries of Asia and
Africa, including India as they got accessibility
GEOGRAPHY AS A DISCIPLINE 5
through oceans. The geographical factors have
modified the course of history in different parts
of the world.
Every geographical phenomenon undergoes
change through time and can be explained
temporally. The changes in landforms, climate,
vegetation, economic activities occupations and
cultural developments have followed a definite
historical course. Many geographical features
result from the decision making process by
different institutions at a particular point of
time. It is possible to convert time in terms of
space and space in terms of time. For example,
it can  be said that place A is 1,500 km from
place B or alternately, it can also be said that
place A is two hours away (if one travels by
plane) or seventeen hours away (if one travels
by a fast moving train). It is for this reason,
time is an integral part of geographical studies
as the fourth dimension. Please mention other
three dimensions?
Figure1.1 amply depicts the linkages of
geography with different natural and social
sciences. This linkage can be put under two
segments.
Physical Geography and Natural Sciences
All the branches of physical geography, as
shown in Figure 1.1, have interface with natural
sciences. The traditional physical geography
is linked with geology, meteorology, hydrology
and pedology, and thus, geomorphology,
climatology, oceanography and soil geography
respectively have very close link with the
natural sciences as these derive their data from
these sciences. Bio-Geography is closely related
to botany, zoology as well as ecology as human
beings are located in different locational niche.
A geographer should have some proficiency
in mathematics and art, particularly in drawing
maps. Geography is very much linked with the
study of astronomical locations and deals with
latitudes and longitudes.  The shape of the earth
is Geoid but the basic tool of a geographer is a
map which is two dimensional representation
of the earth. The problem of converting geoids
into two dimensions can be tackled by
projections constructed graphically or
mathematically. The cartographic and
quantitative techniques require sufficient
proficiency in mathematics, statistics and
econometrics. Maps are prepared through
artistic imagination. Making sketches, mental
maps and cartographic work require
proficiency in arts.
Geography and Social Sciences
Each social science sketched in Figure 1.1 has
interface with one branch of geography. The
relationships between geography and history
have already been outlined in detail. Every
discipline has a philosophy which is the raison
d’etre for that discipline. Philosophy provides
roots to a discipline and in the process of its
evolution, it also experiences distinct historical
processes. Thus, the history of geographical
thought as mother branch of geography is
included universally in its curricula. All the
social science disciplines, viz. sociology,
political science, economics and demography
study different aspects of social reality. The
branches of geography, viz. social, political,
economic and population and settlements are
closely linked with these disciplines as each
one of them has spatial attributes. The core
concern of political science is territory, people
and sovereignty while political geography is
also interested in the study of  the state as a
spatial unit as well as people and their political
behaviour. Economics deals with basic
attributes of the economy such as production,
distribution, exchange and consumption. Each
of these attributes also has spatial aspects and
here comes the role of economic geography to
study the spatial aspects of production,
distribution, exchange and consumption.
Likewise, population geography is closely
linked with the discipline of demography.
The above discussion shows that
geography has strong interface with natural
and social sciences. It follows its own
methodology of study which makes it distinct
from others. It has osmotic  relationship with
other disciplines. While all the disciplines have
their own individual scope, this individuality
does not obstruct the flow of information as in
case of all cells in the body that have individual
identity separated by membranes but the flow
of blood is not obstructed. Geographers use
data obtained from sister disciplines and
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