Please have a look at the note below on geographical thoughts. I have written down a random note on 'German School of Geography'. Please let me know if any improvement or culling can be done. Thank you IA. (^__^)
Friedrich Ratzel's Contributions
-Universally recognized as the the father of human geography, Ratzel was primarily concerned with the natural sciences for whom geography offered a connection between the natural sciences and the study of man. He was influenced by Darwin's Theory of Evolution of species. Ratzel compared the mode of life of different tribes and nations, and made a systematic study of human geography.
- In his book 'Anthropogeographie', he focused on the effects of different physical features and locations on the lifestyles of the people. The first volume of the book was organised in terms of physical features and their influence on human culture. The second volume analyzed human activities and human cultures in relation to the physical environment. Ratzel's work was based on the concept that physical environment controlled human activities.
- Influenced by Darwin's theory of evolution, Ratzel suggested that group of human beings must struggle to survive in particular environment as much as plants and animals do. This was known as 'Social Darwinism'.
- In 'Political Geography', Ratzel compared the state to an organism and emphasized that like some simple organism, a state must either grow or die, and that it could never stand still. This philosophy of lebensraum ('living space') claimed that superior people or nations have the right to expand their territory at the expense of inferior neighbours, reflecting the internal strength of the superior people. Superior people ruling over inferior people was, thus, a natural organic necessity. This philosophy created the controversy of superior and inferior races which fueled the German policies in late 1930s.
- While discussing the effect of environment on human society, Ratzel explained that human societies made progress in stages and that it was not necessary that all societies pass through the same stages of economy.
Kriticism: Ratzel's effort to build a fundamental unity in diversity was challenged by George Gerald who held the view that geography is the study of earth-body as a whole without reference to man.Gerald held that exact laws could be made only if man was excluded from geography because behavior of man was highly unpredictable. However, this radical viewpoint was mooted by Ratzel who averred that man was an important ingredient of geography and that, in diverse physical conditions, man always adjusted himself. Therefore to understand geography in totality, it was essential to synthesize diverse physical and cultural phenomenon.
PS: Was it too long? :-o