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The Four Traditions of Geography

  1. The Human-Environment Tradition
  2. The Regional Tradition
  3. The Spatial Tradition
  4. The Physical Geography Tradition


    The Human-Environment Tradition-  One of the oldest approaches to geography
Definition of geography:  the study of the inter-relationships between nature and society . The human-environment tradition redefined itself as the study of human impact ON Nature rather than the other way around:  
 
The Regional Tradition-
Definition of geography:  the study of areal differentiation

Implied tasks:  the definition and description of regions in order to differentiate them from other regions and areas
 
Implied function of a geographer:  to become a walking encyclopaedia about everything going on in a given area (example in class:  what you'd need to know to be a regional geographer of California)
 
The regional tradition was perhaps the dominant one in American geography from about the 1920s to about the mid-1950s

 
The Spatial Tradition-
Definition of geography:  the study of the spatial distributions of particular phenomena.
 
This tradition encourages the kind of specialization that can get you to the research frontier in a particular topic.
 
In other words, it supports the scientists' job of producing and testing new knowledge, which is why this tradition is particularly attractive to the   "Joe Science" types in geography.
 
 Since the focus of this tradition is the spatiality of particular phenomena, it has developed a huge arsenal of quantitative spatial analytic techniques, 
including GIS:  this is the most computerized, mathematical, and "high-tech" tradition in the discipline
 
The spatial tradition rose to dominate geography, especially much of human geography, in the wake of the Schaeffer article, and it enjoyed this 
dominance from the late 1950s to the mid-1970s and remains a very healthy and employable tradition in the field

 
The Physical Geography Tradition-
 Definition of geography:  the study of Planet Earth as the home of humanity
 
 One of the oldest approaches to geography
 
It acknowledges the human impact on the planet to an extent not seen in most other natural sciences, but the focus remains on the planet itself and its physical processes









 
 
 
 
 

Red Rose, Growing

The Relation between The Four Traditions And China

In reference to the four traditions of geography China is closely related to the Human Land Tradition; simply because China is a largely populated country and with its ranging climate from tropical to subtropical that allows humans to be able communicate and bring out the best in the people of China. As far as the Regional Geography Tradition, it is related to China, because China is as stated before compared to the United States However, its regions are different from those in the United States. Lastly, China is also closely related to the Spatial Tradition and the Physical Geography Tradition, because China is impacted largely by humans, and it has a lot of physical characteristics that allows the tourists to be able to differentiate the country from others. Not to mention they have a language of there own (csulb.edu).

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Email: pward1@mytsu.tnstate.edu

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