geographical determinism


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geographical determinism

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.
References in periodicals archive ?
The danger of a simplistic geographical determinism in the spiritual life is that it makes everything too easy.
Thus the mechanism of geographical determinism itself is being threatened since the environment is being destroyed.
Cook admits to being influenced by Diamond's geographical determinism with Holocene climatic conditions opening a window of opportunity that humans exploited in order to evolve genetically and culturally.
Other traditions promote self-actional causes in cultural idiosyncrasies and individual uniqueness (e.g., Great Culture and Great Man histories), and object to "geographical determinism" and the vision of humans as "passive robots helplessly programmed by climate, flora, and fauna" (p.
McNeill prefaces this book with a quotation from Fernand Braudel about Braudel's passionate love the Mediterranean, which the author evidently shares, just as he shares generally the latter's geographical determinism. Yet he never pursues some of Braudel's most brilliant and suggestive insights into the mountains of the Mediterranean, such as the idea of "mountain liberty," developed in the first few pages of Braudel's opus.(1) But McNeill's book has other virtues, and will be of interest to historians and geographers of the Mediterranean world.
To say so does not require subscribing to any suprahistorical geographical determinism. It does mean recognizing the impact of conspicuous geophysical facts on agricultural, industrial, commercial, and settlement patterns.
This obviously smacks of geographical determinism (albeit of a nuanced variety), and Morris is also fully aware that some will dislike his resort to 'brute material forces' when explaining the twists and turns of human history.
We are only ourselves to the extent that we are works of bricolage, a mystical fusion of geographical determinism, genetic inheritance, and cultural-historical transmission.

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