Areal differentiation is a concept that defines the scope and nature of geography.
Richard Hartshorne's geography - Studying Areal segments
According to Richard Hartshorne, geography is about studying Areal segments or Regions of the earth. In doing so, the focus is on describing the elements and phenomena that make a region unique from another region. Namely the set of elements and attributes of a region that differentiates one region from another region.
In the words of Hartshorne, " Geography is a discipline that seeks to describe and interpret the variable character of earth's surface as the world of man".
- Alfred Hettner
- Kantian Chorology and Exceptionalism
In his book Nature of Geography, he said Geography is unlike other Natural and Logical sciences, and therefore Geography cannot be the science of generalizations and lawmaking.
Hartshorne's Areal differentiation - 'Geography cannot make laws'
Hartshorne in his concept of Areal differentiation believed that geography is a science of accurate, rational, and orderly description of the variable character of the earth. Hartshorne believed in Positivism in science and objectivity in interpretation.
But his argument was because geographical studies with its tremendous variations and uniqueness of particulars of a place, geography cannot be like natural sciences which can make laws.
Hartshorne's definition and scope of geography was disputed by Schaefer
Kantian Exceptionalism is Incorrect - Schaefer
Schaefer believed that Kantian Exceptionalism is Incorrect. Geography cannot claim a unique exceptional status just because it studies unique things and attributes of regions.
Spatial Science approach - Schaefer
Schaefer believed that it is the business of science to find commonalities and string them together as a part of general law also.
In any case, Schaefer said Geography is not the science of the phenomenon or the uniqueness of the region. Geography is the science of Spatial arrangement or the pattern of the phenomenon. This, Schaefer called the spatial science approach encountering Hatshornes aerial differentiation approach. Schaefer was arguing for the systematic approach in geography.
Previous years questions
- 2010: Critically examine the changing perspective of the concept of areal differences.
- 2015: "Regional synthesis is the crux of geographical studies." Elaborate
- 2016: "Areal differentiation forms the core theme in Geography." Explain.
- 2018: "Areal differentiation has provided the theoretical justification of studying 'regions' and 'regional geography'." Comment.
- 2019: Discuss the genetic classification of boundaries suggested by Hartshorne
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