any analytical viewpoint that suggests that different patterns of human culture and social organization are determined by geographical factors such as climate, terrain, etc. The view has a long ancestry stretching back to the ancient Greeks. However, although many social theorists, e.g. MONTESQUIEU, have placed a strong emphasis on the importance of geography most see it as one factor influencing social arrangements, not usually a predetermining one. Compare CULTURAL MATERIALISM, WITTFOGEL.