We explain what geography is, what is its object of study and the characteristics of its branches. In addition, its auxiliary sciences.
What is geography?
Geography is the social science in charge of the description and graphic representation of planet Earth . He is interested in its landscapes , territories, places, regions, populations and the ways in which all these elements interrelate. Its name comes from the Greek gea, “earth”, and graphos , “writing.”
Geography is one of the oldest social sciences . He was born in Ancient Greece thanks to the work of Eratosthenes (276-194 BC) and also the historian Herodotus (484-420 BC), who were particularly interested in studying the different regions of the earth’s surface known for its culture , as well as the populations that inhabited them.
From then until today, much has changed in the way we understand our planet, but there are still four main historical traditions of geographical research from ancient times:
- Spatial analysis , which encompasses natural and human phenomena;
- Area studies , focused on places and regions;
- Relations between humans and land , which does not require further explanation;
- Earth sciences , focused solely on the dynamics of the planet.
Geography is often considered the “world discipline” and the “bridge” between natural sciences and human sciences.
Object of study of geography
Broadly speaking, geography studies the planet Earth. This includes a huge set of processes, dynamics and both natural and human elements . It has a rich multiplicity of perspectives, depending on the particular focus of the study.
Geography is a dynamic discipline that uses other social sciences to better understand the way in which today’s world was built: both geologically and humanly. In that sense, geography tries to make a whole of our planet.
Importance of geography
Geography is one of the social sciences of greater application in the different fields of development of the world . It is used both in the accumulation of knowledge to understand what dynamics are underway in today’s world, and in the identification and resolution of specific problems between the human being and the planet in which he lives.
In addition, it is an important point of contact between social sciences and the so-called exact sciences . In other words, its field of knowledge incorporates tools and knowledge that no other social science even contemplates.
Branches of geography
Geography has a huge diversity of branches, but broadly it is divided into two main perspectives:
General geography . As the name implies, it aspires to the understanding of the planet as an organic whole, although from various specific perspectives. For this, it is subdivided into:
- Human geography . Dedicated to the study of human beings and their communities , cultures, economies and interactions with the environment . In turn it covers the population geography, rural geography, urban geography, economic geography , political geography , social geography, historical geography, cultural geography, etc.
- Physical Geography . On the contrary, it is dedicated to the study of natural processes and factors that occur in the world, whether in the atmosphere , the hydrosphere or the geosphere . It covers climatology , paleogeography, hydrology , hydrography , glaciology, etc.
Regional geography . It includes the planet from its subdivisions in countries, nations, states , regions, regions, etc., in different scales of detail and precision.
Auxiliary Sciences of Geography
As in other social sciences, geography incorporates methodological , theoretical or procedural tools from other areas of study , for the enrichment of its perspectives. It often opens novel lines of analysis.
Some of these auxiliary sciences are Political Sciences , Astronomy , Economics , History , Geology, Biology , Demography , Sociology or Geometry, to name just a few.