Notes of Chapter 1 Geography as a Discipline Class 11th Geography

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’.

• To know about all the phenomena which vary over space.

• To learn about the diverse lands and people.

• To understand the changes which have taken place over time.

• To investigate into the causes responsible for creating such variations over time and space.

• To understand the globe converted into maps and have a visual sense of the earth’s surface.

What is geography?

• Geography is the description of the earth.
→ As the earth has variations in its physical, social and cultural features too.

• 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).

Study area of Geography

• Geography is different from other sciences in its subject matter and methodology but at the same time, it is closely related to other disciplines.

• Geographers do not study only the variations in the phenomena over the earth’s surface but also study the associations with the other factors which cause these variations.

• 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.

• 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 help of technology, human beings moved from the stage of necessity to a stage of freedom.

• As a social science discipline, geography studies the ‘spatial organisation’ and ‘spatial integration’.

Geography as a discipline is concerned with three sets of questions:

• 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?

• 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

• 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 an Integrating Discipline 

• Geography as an integrating discipline has interface with numerous natural and social sciences.

• Geography 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.

• Geography influences historical events.

• In traditional warfare, countries with large size in area, gain time at the cost of space.

• 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.

Physical Geography and Natural Sciences

• All the branches of physical geography, have connection 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.

• The cartographic and quantitative techniques require sufficient proficiency in mathematics, statistics and econometrics.

Geography and Social Sciences

• 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.

• Geography and Civics: 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.

• Geography and Economics: Economics deals with basic attributes of the economy such as production, distribution, exchange and consumption are part of economic geography.

Branches of Geography (Based of Systematic Approach)

1. Physical Geography
(i) Geomorphology
(ii) Climatology
(iii) Hydrology
(iv) Soil Geography

2. Human Geography
(i) Social/Cultural Geography
(ii) Population and Settlement Geography (Rural and Urban).
(iii) Economic Geography
(iv) Historical Geography
(v) Political Geography

3. Biogeography
(i) Plant Geography
(ii) Zoo Geography
(iii) Ecology /Ecosystem
(iv) Environmental Geography

Branches of Geography (Based on Regional Approach)

1. Regional Studies/Area Studies Comprising Macro, Meso and Micro Regional Studies
2. Regional Planning Comprising Country/Rural and Town/ Urban Planning
3. Regional Development
4. Regional Analysis

There are two aspects which are common to every discipline, these are:
(i) Philosophy
(a) Geographical Thought
(b) Land and Human Interaction/Human Ecology
(ii) Methods and Techniques
(a) Cartography including Computer
(b) Quantitative Techniques/Statistical Techniques
(c) Field Survey Methods
(d) Geo-informatics comprising techniques such as Remote Sensing, GIS, GPS, etc.

Physical Geography and Importance

Physical geography includes the study of:
• lithosphere (landforms, drainage, relief and physiography)
• atmosphere (its composition, structure, elements and controls of weather and climate; temperature, pressure, winds, precipitation, climatic types, etc.)
• hydrosphere (oceans, seas, lakes and associated features with water realm)
• biosphere ( life forms including human being and macro-organism and their sustaining mechanism, viz. food chain, ecological parameters and ecological balance).

NCERT Solutions of Chapter 1 Geography as a Discipline

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