Possibilism in geography. What is possibilism theory in geography? 2022-12-14

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Possibilism is a philosophical approach in geography that emphasizes the role of human agency in shaping the spatial arrangements of human activity and the physical environment. This approach asserts that geographical phenomena are not determined by natural or physical laws, but rather by the choices and actions of human beings.

According to possibilism, geographical patterns and features are not fixed or predetermined, but rather are the result of the choices and actions of humans within the constraints and opportunities presented by the physical environment. For example, the distribution of cities and settlements is not determined by the presence of natural resources or physical features, but rather by the decisions of individuals and societies to locate and develop these settlements in certain places.

Possibilism acknowledges that the physical environment does play a role in shaping human activity, but it emphasizes the agency of humans in adapting to and altering their environment. It recognizes that the physical environment presents constraints and opportunities, but ultimately it is up to humans to make the most of these conditions.

One key aspect of possibilism is the idea of human creativity and innovation in shaping the landscape. This approach emphasizes the ability of humans to create new solutions and technologies that allow them to adapt to and shape their environment in ways that were previously unimaginable.

Possibilism has had a significant influence on the field of geography and has shaped the way in which geographers study and understand the spatial arrangements of human activity. It has also had important implications for how we approach issues related to environmental management, urban planning, and development.

Overall, possibilism offers a nuanced and dynamic perspective on the relationship between humans and their environment, recognizing the agency of humans in shaping their surroundings and the importance of considering both the physical environment and human agency in understanding geographical patterns and processes.

What does possibilism mean in human geography?

possibilism in geography

He argued that possibilists had developed their ideas in temperate environments such as north-western Europe, which offer several viable alternative forms of human occupance. In environmental determinism, human beings are treated as a passive elements. Thus, even Europeans who settled in tropical countries would end up like other people there, because the climate would affect them and they would pass the trait on to their children. Environmental determinists would have called these people "primitive," at the mercy of planetary forces. After the Second World War, the school of social determinism became quite popular in Austria, Holland and Sweden.

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What is possibilism theory in geography?

possibilism in geography

There is evidence showing that terrain, topography, temperature, rainfall, humidity, vegetation and soil, individually and collectively, affect social and economic institutions and thereby the mode of life of people, yet the role of man as a transforming agent of his physical surroundings is quite significant. Though a downfall can be for those from outside the city that may only work or attend school or another task which requires part-time access to the city. George Tathan—a leading historian of the 18th century—also explained the differences between peoples with reference to the differences between the lands in which they lived. Man makes his choice and man himself judges its relative wisdom or folly by reference to goals he himself has established. ADVERTISEMENTS: Subsequent geographers like Mackinder, Chisholm, Davies, Bowman, Robert Mill, Geddes, Sauer, Herbertson, Taylor, etc. Huntington divided the world in the mild and harsh climatic zones and established that the ancient civilizations Egyptian, Mesopotamian, Chinese, Indus flourished in the fertile river valleys of mild climates.

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Why is possibilism important in human geography?

possibilism in geography

Features of Possibilism Possibilism has several salient features. Thus, the short-statured races became tall-statured tones. Social geography deals with the spatial distribution of societies. Meaning given whatever environmental conditions we are able to overcome them through knowledge, skills, technology and money. Ian breezed right through Babcock Ranch with minor damage.

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Possibilism in Geography

possibilism in geography

Vidal is credited with introducing geographic possibilism and defined it in the sense that in a given natural environment, humans have a range of potential actions available to them, which they can deploy to overcome the natural limitations placed upon them. Eugenics involved breeding people for "superior" traits and stopping others from breeding, a genocidal practice in every state in the US as well as in Europe and elsewhere. What is also true is that as technology develops, the importance of the environment does not decrease but changes and becomes more complex. In practice, eclecticism distinguishes many of the works of bourgeois geographers who proclaim geographic possibilism to be their methodological base. Thus, man chooses, but only from the range which nature presents him. The geographers started to use the probability theory to determine the man and environment relationship and also to make a scientific study of the landscape.

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Dichotomy between Determinism and Possibilism of Geography

possibilism in geography

They have strong religious feelings and an intense love for family. What is the main idea of possibilism? The study of the influence exerted by these groups on landscape is reduced to the definition of purely external factors of the cultural landscape type and deployment of houses, land use, field patterns, etc. What is Possibilism in geography class 12? French historian Lucien Febvre was the first who coined the term possibilism and contrasted it with environmental determinism. Semple was the direct descendant of Ratzel. Social or cultural determinism thus does not adequately assess the environmental factors, i. How closely soil and vegetation influence the health and stature of peoples and animals has been explained by Karl Mackey. Similar natural conditions may call forth different reactions on the part of man, and within similar sets of conditions, different cultures can take place.

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Geographic Possibilism

possibilism in geography

Answer: With social and cultural development, humans develop better and more efficient technology. For example, the brown squirrels which migrate to Siberia turn grey and the colour of white cows in winters turns greyish. What is possibilism in geography class 12? Montesquieu pointed out that the people in cold climates are stronger physically, more courageous, frank, less suspicious and less cunning than those in the warm climates. Environmental Determinism: As stated earlier, the origin of environmental determinism lies in the work of Charles Darwin, whose seminal book Origin of Species 1859 influenced many scientists. The role of the environment is neglected, it may lead to environmental loss. The ratio between effort and return can be looked upon as the price nature exacts from man for the particular choice he makes; but recognition of this inequality of opportunities gives no clue as to what nature prefers, for the wise man to follow suit. The fact is, there are no separate races of ponies.


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Possibilism (geography)

possibilism in geography

If we compare the birth rate with the intake of animal proteins throughout the world, we find a clear correlation between the two factors, i. In France, Jean Brunhes was a strong supporter of possibilism. But such environments are rare: in most of the world as in Australia the environment is much more extreme and its control over human activity is enormous. Possibilism is theory that people can adjust or overcome an environment. Social determinism is thus also rigid like environmental determinism and therefore cannot be accepted in its crude form. This implies that the history, culture, mode of life, and the level of development of the societal groups and countries are exclusively or largely controlled by the physical environment.

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Possibilism: Examples and Definition

possibilism in geography

Meaning that people are as important as the environment when shaping culture. They said that the climate itself was a factor: it somehow made people less intelligent, a trait that then was heritable. For the last 12 months, the global media has been focused on a lot of bad news. Taylor 1880-1963 was even more careful to gather accurate data about environment and to relate these to his idea of human habitability, especially in Australia. There is little in their environment to stimulate them to change and little reaches them from the outside world.

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