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Unformatted text preview: j) ~b" ~t..' rj l. (/1'~~~~..J-;'~='-'t-~u- Ne.w~'. ~ Mc.~~-: b~ut< 1. f 1-:1/- /",'/1 f~:re"J~ u tJ~ Z. P Jf>1- / 16 CHAPTER 1 History,Development, and ~Nature of PoliticalGeography PRE.MODERN PHASE As an academic discipline, political geography is relatively new. It received recognition as an inde- pendent branch of geography only after the publication of Ratzel's Politische Geographie in 1897. But the theme that political geographers have traditional dealt with, is one of great antiquity. In that sense, political geography is as old as geography and political science. The relationship between States. and their natural conditions has always generated considerable philosophical interest among students of politics, history, and geography from the earliest times. A distinct feature of the earlier works on this subject was that the scholars working on this frontier were mostly speculative philosophers.Their objective was to seek out the caUsesof human organiza- tion in the elements of the physical environment at a stage in the development of knowledge when man's understanding of the nature of the physical environment was minimal. As a result, hypotheses' based on incorrect premises were often advanced. Very often,,a mere coincidence was mistaken for causal relationship. Nevertheless, the writings of these authors contain many brilliant conceptual hints, intermixed with generalizations based on crude deterministic doctrines, The wealth of hypotheses that these writings contain "provide a stimulating body of ideas for present students in the field, and which should make it unnecessary for them to spend much effort in that phase of investigation" (Hartshorne, 1935): From this point of view, one of the earliest political geographers was the Greek philosopher, Aristotle (383-322 B.c.). In his celebrated volume, Politics, he presented a model of the Ideal State in which the two chief ingredients were the size of population and the nature of territory. These according to him, determined the strength or weakness of a State. In this book Aristotle introduced certain important theories regarding interaction between the population and territory of the State in its overall functioning. Several of these are regarded as important concepts in the field of political geography. They include (i) optimum size of population and area for the political viability of a State, and the relationship between these elements and the changing technology, (ii) distributional charac- teristics of the resident population, (iii) locational and morphological problems of the capital city . Throughout this book State stands for the sovereign Nation State, and state means a constituent unit of a federation. 2 PoliticalGeography:.The Disciplineand Its Dimensions (including strategic and economic considerations), (iv) boundaries vs frontiers as determinants ot territorial expanse, (v) problems related to spatial integration of States and (vi) the notions of co- existence and interdependencewithin a larger (international)system of nation-States (Kasperson and...
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- Spring '08