Chapter 2: People, Places, and Patterns

Chapter 2
People, Places, and Patterns
Geography in International Studies
What is Geography?
• Geography is a core discipline of international
• Geo meaning “Earth”
• Graphy refers to “writing”
• Two main areas of study:
– Physical
• Examines the environment
– Human
• Arrangement of Activities of people
Development of Geography
• The classical Greeks and Chinese were the first to
understand and study geography
• Arabs continued the study of geography
• With the Renaissance, Europe relearned Geography
through encounters with the Arabs
• Modern geography is said to embody six elements:
Space: patterns of human activity across the Earth
Place & Region: focuses on characteristics of places
Physical: understand processes of the environment
Human: understand human influence on Earth
Environment: interrelationships between people and
– Uses: past, present, and future
Components of Geography
• Three main components of a geographical way
of thinking:
– Space
• Location
• Spatial interaction
• Spatial organization
– Region
• Formal
• Functional
– Environment
• Location: answers the question “where?”
– Nominal: Oxford, OH
– Relative: Ohio is West of New York
– Absolute: Oxford, OH is at 39o30’N Lat, 84o45’W Long
• Spatial Interaction: why and how….
– People move
– Resources move
– Ideas move
• Spatial Organization: reveals how people have
delineated various territories
[Figure 2.1. Hong Kong. The harbor is the reason for Hong Kong. Photo S. Toops]
• Formal
– Human characteristics
• Language, religion, etc.
– Physical
• Climate, landform, etc.
• Functional
– Defined by network, focal point, or node
• River system
• Trading system
• World Regions: Europe, Africa, etc.
– Formal and functional
[Figure 2.2. Zurich. The largest city and financial center of Switzerland. Photo S. Toops]
[Figure 2.2. Zurich. The largest city and financial center of Switzerland. Photo S. Toops]
[Figure 2.3 Istanbul. Asia is in the background, Europe is in the foreground, in between is the
Bosporus, the historical divide between Europe and Asia. Photo S. Toops]
• Environmental determinism
– People acting in a certain way according to their environment
– Now considered mutually interactive
• Human determinism
– People control their environment
• Environmental possibilism
– Physical environment cannot determine what we can do but it can
limit what we can achieve
• Resources
– Renewable
• Recyclable: aluminum, paper
• Continuous flow: solar power, hydropower
• Short term: timber, soil, water
– Non-renewable: fossil fuels ( coal, oil)
[Figure 2.4. Hunza. Pakistan. The Hunza Valley is irrigated from the glaciers in the surrounding mountains.
Photo: S. Toops]
[Figure 2.5. Farm in Iowa. A piece of land, a farm, a home, a place, a geography. Photo S. Toops]
Maps: Tools for International Studies
• Maps are forms of communication that express ideas
about the world
– Specialized picture of mathematical precision
• Fundamentals
– Scale: relationship between length of an object on a map
and length in the real world
– Centering and Orientation: can be centered anywhere on
– Projection: the way the Earth’s surface is distorted in a map
• Technological advancements: satellites
– Geographic information system (GIS)
– Remote sensing
[Map 2.1 World Map – Mercator Projection]
[Map 2.2 World Map – Robinson Projection]
Lying with Maps
• Maps are sometimes used for other purposes
than just displaying a place
• Propaganda
– Used during war to influence
– Political views
• Can you think of any ways in which a map is
used for some other purpose than as a means
to find a place?
• Geography is critical in international studies
– Analyze space, regions, and environments of Earth
• Geographical methods used by businesses, nonprofit organizations and governmental
– State Department
• Geography is helpful in everyday life
• Geography matters

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