geography – a science for specialized generalists or the best way to get confused

The best way to get confused...
As a geographer you need to know a bit of nothing and a bit of everything. Geography touches practically all disciplines concerning the surface of the earth as well as human beings with all their material and human environments. Simply said : Geography treats the world we live in.
A particularity and strong part of Geography lies in the understanding of the perspectives of natural and social sciences and the combined application of their methods.
It puts physical and social processes into the concrete context of places and regions and obtains consequently a differentiated picture of the different cultures, economic forms, political systems, environments and landscapes of our earth. Therefore Geography is defined as an interdisciplinary science.
The physical geography (natural sciences) studies the structure and dynamics of our physical environment. The structure and dynamics of cultures, societies, economics and human actions in time and space interest the human geography (social sciences).
Modern human geography tries not only to point out the various spatial differences and process of the socio-economic structural change but also the causes and effects of social inequalities.
Physical geography and human geography developed to relatively independent branches with different questions and methods. However, both branches co-operate closely to find solutions to numerous questions.
In view of the great importance, which comes to the physical environment as the natural basis of human life, and in view of the fact that this basis is by human interference ever more disturbed and threatened, it is certainly necessary to emphasize the significance of these numerous connections.
This widespread viewpoint is the heart of geography.

from global to local, from local to global or what a geographer likes to do

Los AngelesThe world we live in is made up of the three dimensions, our terrestrial environment, the universe and time. A geographer is therefore always concerned about the scale he works in. Time and space influence crucially our perception of reality.
Understanding a global situation can help us to find its single parts, understanding a single part may help us to understand the functioning of a whole system.

The nomothetic approach tries to understand spatial regularities as “laws”, replicable structures and hence predictable ones, determinant sequences: causes/effects. The nomthetic approach is deductive and can therefore be elaborated in laborartoriums. The idiographic perspective tries to understand singularities, spatial specificities. Singularities are often bound to hazards: external hazards or environmental hazards and internal hazards or dynamics, lived experiences, innovations. The idiographic approach is mostly used in social sciences, is inductive and describes the speciality of a happening.

in what fields do geographers generally work nowadays ?

The particular strength of geographers is their capability to understand a whole without loosing the sense of the essential. As Geography is an interdisciplinary science, geographers are trained to understand physical, biological and human features as a whole within a given space and time.

Geographical knowledge and its methodologies provide analytical techniques applicable to a wide range of questions covering a broad field of possible occupations. Generally, geographers can be found in teaching or research positions in schools, colleges and universities, as well as in related professional disciplines. For example: urban and regional planning, environmental management or environmental law.

The five main working areas are:

1.Physical Geographers are specialized in physical geography working in professional life as
scientists in environmental and natural resource branches. You will find them in government position or working for engineering and environmental consulting firms in the private sector.

Being informed

2. Economic Geographers are specially trained in economic geography, working within planning, development and statistical branches of all levels of government, banks, private companies and planning consultants.

3. Historical and social Geographers have concentrated on historical and cultural aspects. They work in areas concerned with cultural and historical resources, tourism and museum work.

Historical Geography

4. Cartographers, GIS and Remote Sensing Specialists have been trained in geographic information systems, remote sensing and cartography. They are prepared for positions in many branches of government, in mapping agencies and in private industry.

5. Ecological Geographers are specialized in the comprehension of environmental phenomena and the complexe impact of human action on the environment; taking into account all the possible interactions between the human and natural environment and hence the ecological returns of all the factors.
Ecological Geographers use complexe methods to calculate, understand, prove and demonstrate the hazardous impacts that human actions can have to nature. They permenantly search for solutions to these problems in interaction with various other disciplines.



There are many Sub-Fields in geography. Some of the most important ones are:

Agricultural Geography · Biogeography · Climatology/Meteorology · Environmental Studies · Resource Management· Cartography· Geographical Information Systems (G.I.S.)· Remote Sensing· Quantitative Methods · Economic Geography· Political Geography · Cultural & social Geography· Regional/Urban Planning· Transportation/Communication · Location Theory· Geographic Thought