Four Tradition of Geography The Four Traditions of Geography has many different assumptions and aspects of geography; aspects ranging from basic mapping and geometry, to the impact on nature of humans and the processes of the earth itself. Geographers can study and explain their research by selecting a certain tradition that leads to many different fields of geography. “There are four traditions whose identification provides an alternative to the competing monistic definitions that have been a geographer’s lot” (Pattison 1964). The following discussion treats the traditions in this order: (1) a spatial tradition, (2) an area studies tradition, (3) a man-land tradition and (4) an earth science tradition” (Pattison 1964).
Pattison is exploring all the categories of geography and he is explaining how these different traditions can uncover the meanings of different studies of geography. “Going further one can uncover the meanings of “systematic geography,” “regional geography,” “urban geography,” “industrial geography,” etc. ” (Pattison 1964).
Spatial tradition is an area of concentration that relies on geometry and movement.
It also is the study of mapping as seen in the ancient Greece recordings of such, and it also deals with the GIS system. GIS is any system that captures, stores, analyzes, manages, and presents data that are linked to a location. It explores the central place theory and how it is used in geography. Central place theory is the geography theory that seeks to explain the number, size and location of human settlements in an urban system.
Area Studies, just like the spatial tradition it has roots from many, many years ago.
The Greek philosopher, Strabo, wrote an encyclopedia about geographical knowledge. “He is Strabo, celebrated for his Geography which is a massive production addressed to the statesmen of Augustan Rome and intended to sum up and regularize knowledge not of the location of places and associated cartographic facts, as in the somewhat later case of Ptolemy, but of the nature of places, their character and their differentiation” (Pattison 1964). The area-studies tradition was tended to be excluded from early American professional geography. Today, it is beset by certain champions of the spatial tradition who would have one believe that somehow the area studies way of organizing knowledge is only a subdepartment of spatialism” (Pattison 1964). It concentrates on the descriptions of regions in order to differentiate them from other regions and areas. Being able to understand geography in these terms can reveal the deepest knowledge of the world’s environment.
The Man-Land tradition describes the human impact in nature and also the impact of nature on humans, and it also defines the nature disasters our world takes on. Social Darwinism simply grabbed a theory from the biosciences and applied it to social happenings without the lengthy process of trial and error for social data which led to environmentalism. Environmentalism is a broad philosophy and social movement regarding concerns for environmental conservation and improvement of the environment. Man-Land gives us the basic perception on the environment and what is happening to it. The earth science tradition, embraces the study of the earth, the waters of the earth, and the atmosphere surrounding the earth and the association between the earth and the sun” (Pattison 1964). On two different hands of the topic, it is being used and then it is not being used. “On one hand, it is not always elected as the best tradition as it has been decreasing in use from past decades, while on the other one knows that college departments rely substantially, for justification of their role in general education, upon curricular content springing directly from this tradition” (Pattison 1964).
It also acknowledges the human impact on the planet but mainly focuses on the planet itself and its physical processes. Geology, mineralogy, paleontology, glaciology, and meteorology all have rooted out of these studies. From reading “Four Traditions of Geography” and “In Search of Synthesis,” Area Studies tradition is my personal preference on this matter. Gober talks about the many different specialties that lie in between human and physical geography, and I grasped that I am more of a physical, on-hands doing person.
With human geography you study societies as a whole and I am more interested in urbanization of the earth and how we can use the land we have in a fashion that is basically perfect. I am interested in the different regions because I am really fascinated in real estate and I figure I would learn a whole lot about the physical aspect of geography. I feel that I could really excel in real estate with this kind of learning. The Four Traditions of Geography has different definitions and aspects of geography.
With the information given, people are given the opportunity to understand what geography is all about and be able to break geography down and select a certain practice from the very selective topic. “It is hoped that through a widened willingness to conceive of and discuss the field in terms of these traditions, geography will be better able to secure the inner unity and outer intelligibility” (Pattison 1964). William D. Pattison, The Four Traditions of Geography, (1964).