Geographic Determinism

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Geographic Determinism


a non-Marxist sociological concept that attempts to explain phenomena of social life in terms of the particular characteristics of natural conditions and the geographic position of a country or region.

Exponents of geographic determinism see the geographic environment or its individual elements as the determining force in the development of human society. Marxism-Leninism demonstrated the unsoundness of geographic determinism and defined the true laws of social development and the relationship between human society and the geographic environment.

In its initial phase geographic determinism played a progressive role, although it contained some reactionary ideas in embryonic form—specifically, it accepted the backwardness of peoples living under different climatic conditions and explained slavery and despotism in terms of natural conditions. In the transitional period from feudalism to capitalism geographic determinism reflected the struggle of the rising bourgeois class against feudalism. Later, geographic determinism began to be used in justification of colonial exploitation and wars of conquest. Geographic determinism was made use of especially widely in the period of imperialism, when the pseudoscientific concept of geopolitics was widespread. The positions of geographic determinism in this period were defended by many bourgeois geographers, including E. Huntington (USA) and H. Mackinder (Great Britain). G. V. Plekhanov, exaggerating the role of the geographic environment in the history of Russian development, paid tribute to geographic determinism. A form of geographic determinism is environmentalism, which has become widespread in the USA.


References in periodicals archive ?
The author follows Japan from its origin myths up to the present time, adding elements of geographic determinism and cultural anthropology as well as his own experiences.
Too bad that that inspiration can't be found amid Morris's geographic determinism.
As such, this book is not an exercise in geographic determinism but a complex intervention into the agonizing social and political history of integration and race formation in the United States.
Chit Hlaing's useful chapter, 'Some remarks upon ethnicity theory and Southeast Asia, with special reference to the Kayah and the Kachin', draws broader linkages to theories of ethnicity in that it helps to interrogate notions of geographic determinism and ethnic exclusivity which are commonly held by students new to Southeast Asian studies.
13) The logic of geographic determinism leads to the conclusion that, for example, all peoples living in the Sahara and the Sonoran deserts would respond to their similar physical environments in similar ways.
It is not simply geographic determinism to suggest that those who live in similar topography have similar concerns.
The Egyptian political culture is by nature authoritarian, according to the geographic determinism of its ancient riverine culture (Hamdan, 1993), and it tends to reinforce the status quo rather than produce change or challenge the political leadership.

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