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Dichotomy and Dualism in Geography |Perspectives in Human Geography | Human Geography |Geography optional notes

Dichotomy(विरोधाभास) and Dualism(द्वैतवाद ) in Geography

The literal meaning of dualism is two opposite views/aspects of the same subject. Dichotomy happened when two views emerged on the same subject.
Dualism is one of the main characteristics of geography which was introduced from the beginning.

There are five dichotomies and dualisms in geography:

  1. Contemporary vs Historical geography
  2. Physical vs Human geography
  3. Deterministic approach vs possibilistic approach
  4. Regional vs System approach
  5. Functional vs formal approach

Contemporary vs Historical geography:

Some geographers emphasized the importance of historical geography, as it deals with the geographical features of the past. The geographical features of the past need study in geography for the following reasons:
  • Every geographical area must have passed through some historical features before attaining its present features. And we get a lot of information from the study of historical-geographical features. For examples,
  • We get information about the physical and cultural landscape features of past and present through historical geography.
  • Through historical geography, we come to know that earlier human settlement was unplanned but over time we needed planned human settlement and today human settlements are more planned than before.
  • Past disaster data like submergence and emergence of islands, tsunami, earthquake destruction, etc. help us a lot in future planning and prevention of natural disasters.
  • Geographical areas develop over time, for example, mountains or areas of high relief change into areas of low relief and finally into areas without relief features such as peneplain, Pediplain, etc.

Some geographers emphasized the importance of studying contemporary geography, as the needs of the people have evolved and earlier the needs of the people did not match the present needs. Geographers consider studying historical data a waste of energy and time.
The study of contemporary geography is important for the following reasons:
  • Due to climate change, there is a need for sustainable planning and sustainable planning is a contemporary environmental issue.
  • Solid waste management, plastics, pollution are contemporary issues.
  • Due to technological advances, man can now create artificial environments, artificial minerals, and much more.
  • Therefore geographers should lay more emphasis on the study of contemporary geography.

Physical vs Human geography

Earlier geographers used to emphasize the study of physical geography. The school of thought on physical geography emphasized the study of geography as a separate entity where the influence of man is neglected.
  • Under physical geography, we study the physical features of the earth.
  • The study of landform [geomorphology], climate [climatology], vegetation, mountain formation, etc. comes under physical geography.

Human geography ideology emphasized the role of humans, culture, language, society, etc. in geography. under this:
  • In human geography, human activities are an integral part of geography. And laid more emphasis on the study of the interrelationship between man and the environment.
  • In physical geography, man is considered as a passive element, but in human geography, man is active, passive, or both. The same applies to the environment, nature can be active, passive, or both.
  • Under this, we study cultural geography, language, demography, economic growth and development, model theory related to industry and economic development, social studies.

Deterministic approach vs possibilistic approach

  • The deterministic approach of geography considered man to be a passive element in nature and nature determines the actions and behavior of man. Man does what nature wants.
  • The possibilism approach in geography, however, is an opposite view of determinism and considers man as an active element in nature and that the environment can be changed by human activities. Humans can change the environment by their actions.
For the deterministic approach of geography, please refer to the following page:

For the Possibilistic approach, please refer to the following page:

Regional vs System approach

In regional geography of thought emphasized the study of geography region-wise. In the system approach, more emphasized on laid to study the earth as a whole rather a region because everything on the earth are interrelated and if we study the earth as a whole then it will give the meaning full data.
For more please refer to the following page:

Functional vs formal approach

Regional geography also has dualism and dichotomy in the division of geographic space. What should be the basis of regional geography, functional or formal?
Formal fields are delimited on the basis of a single variable or well-defined variables and the area of ​​the formal field is fixed. For example, nation, state, district, etc. are examples of the formal region.

Functional areas are demarcated based on the influence surrounding the central point. The area of ​​a functional area is not fixed, for example, a language area, a cultural area, a city area, etc.

Previous year's question asked in UPSC mains geography optional paper.

  • Discuss the contemporary paradigms of Geography. (2017, 20 marks)
  • What do you understand by dichotomy and dualism in geography? ( 66th BPSC)
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Click here for Comments
6 June 2020 at 17:57 ×

For the Possibilistic approach, please refer the following page:
Which pages ??

8 June 2020 at 10:40 ×

Thanks, please refer to ..

11 January 2024 at 11:21 ×

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