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Quantitative Revolution in geography UPSC

Concept of Quantitative Revolution in geography:

From the late 1950s to the late 1960s, the use of computers, statistical and mathematical tools, maps, and the laws of physics increased to analyze human and natural phenomena, these phases or time periods were referred to Quantitative Revolution in geography. The main objective of using these tools is to identify mappable patterns for various human and natural activities.
For example,
Creating models for optimal location of industries using computers, maps, and laws of physics.
Creating mappable patterns of landslide zones or earthquake zones.

The quantitative revolution came in geography to modernize the learning process in geography and make use of geography in human development activities.

During the 1950s, there was a crisis in geography because of the following reasons:

  • Earlier, geography provided a limited scope of learning as the study of geography was limited only to the description of the earth's surface. The big question was, now we had studied the earth's surface, what will be next? what should be taught in geography?
  • In 1948, Harward University closed down its geography department due to the limited scope of study in geography.
  • The importance of geography was being questioned.
  • Geography was merely descriptive in nature and the use of statistics, data, mathematics, etc were nearly absent.
  • Most of the geographical theories were borrowed from other subjects. For example, the Malthusian theory of population is borrowed from an essay written by an English cleric, Thomas Robert Malthus. Nebular Hypothesis theory of the origin and formation of the solar system was taken from a philosophical subject.
Because of the above reasons, the use of statistical and mathematical techniques, maps, computers, and physics law in geography increased to make geography more objective, use of these techniques in geography is collectively known as the " Quantitative Revolution" in geography.

The following image explains the tools used in the quantitative revolution. 
Quantitative Revolution in geography UPSC
Quantitative tool

The Quantitative Revolution has created a race to create geographic models for each human activity, such as industrial models to find the optimal location of industry, focusing on locating industries where the cost of production is low and profits are maximized. 
Some basic assumptions are usually made while making the model; the following are basic assumptions - 
  • Man is considered a rational element who always tries to maximize profit. 
  • Man has infinite knowledge and every human has the same knowledge; there is no word like subjective decisions. 
  • The geographical area is an isotropic surface means there is no such physical barrier as mountains and oceans.
  • There is no place for some individual and social values in a model like culture, belief, custom, attitude, traditions, choice, religious values, and social values

Basis of the Quantitative Revolutions
The following geographical approaches are the basis of the quantitative revolution:

Methods used in Quantitative Revolutions 

Models developed under Quantitative revolution:

The following are some geographical models which come into importance during the quantitative revolution;
  • Christaller model of central-place theory
  • Weber's industrial location theory
  • Von Thunen crop intensity model 
  • Rank size rule and Primate city concept
  • The gravity model of Migration

Merits of Quantitative Revolution Methods: 

The following are some merits of Quantitative revolutions:
  • Techniques of Quantitative revolution are rational and are based on empirical observations that are verifiable.
  • It made geography easy and bring it closer to science and was implementable in the real world.
  • It reduces the ambiguity of observation as it does not accommodate the subjective nature of observation ( as it does not provide the importance of human and social values ).

Criticism of Quantitative revolution:

The following are some criticism of the quantitative revolution:
  • The quantitative revolution reduces the scope of geography to only spatial analysis and spatial geography.
  • Quantitative revolution creates a false sense of objectivity of human decision, but in the real world, there is the subjective decision as human knowledge and preference vary from human to human.
  • The decision of man is not always a profit motive as human decisions get also affected by affection, love, and other individual values.
  • The quantitative revolution supports capitalist views.

Try to solve the following questions
  • Discuss critically the manner in which the quantitative revolution provided the methodological foundation for models and modeling in geography. (UPSC 2018, 15 marks)
  • Trace the origin and progress of the Quantitative revolution in geography and bring out its merit and demerits (UPSC 2016, 15 marks)
  • Discuss the impact of the quantitative revolution on the scientific development of geography.  ( 63rd BPSC, 2019)
  • Critically compare quantitative and behavioral revolutions in geography and examine their role in the development of the subject.  ( 64th BPSC, 2019)
  • Critically examine the significance of the quantitative Revolution and its influence on the development of Geography. (UPSC 2022, 15 Marks)

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5 March 2022 at 14:38 ×

thank u so much...

Congrats bro Unknown you got PERTAMAX...! hehehehe...