The SAGE Handbook of Geographical Knowledge is a critical inquiry into how Geography as a field of knowledge has been produced, re-produced, and re-imagined. It comprises three sections on Geographical Orientations, Geography’s Venues, and Critical Geographical Concepts and Controversies. The first provides an overview of the genealogy of ‘geography.' The second highlights the types of spatial settings and locations in which geographical knowledge has been produced. The third focuses on venues of primary importance in the historical geography of geographical thought.

Environmental Determinism

Environmental determinism


While environmental determinism can conveniently be described as the claim that human activities are controlled by the environment, such definitional clarity masks historical complexity. Sometimes the behaviour in question is attributed to the configuration of topographic features like rivers, mountains, valleys, deserts, plains, and so on; sometimes climatic conditions are identified as the critical explanans; sometimes the local character of soil is taken to be the critical determining environmental factor. And of course even these causal explanations may be more finely tuned – the role of a tropical sun, or long-term climatic change, or persistent drought may be called upon to explain one aspect or another of human culture.

At the same time, the range of human phenomena – at markedly different scales ...

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