Geography an Integrating Discipline


Geography as an Integrating Discipline

Geography as an Integrating Discipline

Geography is a discipline of synthesis. It attempts spatial synthesis, and history attempts temporal synthesis. Its approach is holistic in nature. It recognises the fact that the world is a system of interdependencies. The present world is being perceived as a global village. The distances have been reduced by better means of transportation increasing accessibility. The audio-visual media and information technology have enriched the data base. Technology has provided better chances of monitoring natural phenomena as well as the economic and social parameters. Geography as an integrating discipline has interface with numerous natural and social sciences. All the sciences, whether natural or social, have one basic objective, of understanding the reality. Geography attempts to comprehend the associations of phenomena as related in sections of reality. Figure 1.1 shows the relationship of geography with other sciences. Every discipline, concerned with scientific knowledge is linked with geography as many of their elements vary over space. Geography helps in understanding the reality in totality in its spatial perspective. Geography, thus, 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. A geographer is required to have a broad understanding of all the related fields, to be able to logically integrate them. This integration can be understood with some examples. Geography influences historical events. Spatial distance itself has been a very potent factor to alter the course of history of the world. Spatial depth provided defence to many countries, particularly in the last century. In traditional warfare, countries with large size in area, gain time at the cost of space. The defence provided by oceanic expanse around the countries of the new world has protected them from wars being imposed on their soil. If we look at the historical events world over, each one of them can be interpreted geographically.

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. Navigation technology helped European countries to colonise a number of countries of Asia and Africa, including India as they got accessibility through oceans. The geographical factors have modified the course of history in different parts of the world.

Every geographical phenomenon undergoes change through time and can be explained temporally. The changes in landforms, climate, vegetation, economic activities occupations and cultural developments have followed a definite historical course. Many geographical features result from the decision making process by different institutions at a particular point of time. It is possible to convert time in terms of space and space in terms of time. For example, it can be said that place A is 1,500 km from place B or alternately, it can also be said that place A is two hours away (if one travels by plane) or seventeen hours away (if one travels by a fast moving train). It is for this reason, time is an integral part of geographical studies as the fourth dimension.

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