- Slides: 13
ENVIRONMENTAL DETERMINISM vs. POSSIBILISM
Environmental Determinism • Says that the physical environment is the dominant force in shaping cultures. • People are passive products of their physical surroundings. • Any problems with this theory?
• Example: Mountain people would be simple, backward, and conservative because they live secluded from others.
• Example: People living in tropical climates would be lazy since they didn’t need to work too hard to get food.
Papua New Guinea
Environmental Determinism • Part of the rationale used in colonialism; the Europeans claimed to be naturally stronger and smarter. • Any problems you see with this theory?
Possibilism • The belief that people and not the environment are the architects of their own cultures. • Any environment offers a variety of ways that a culture can possibly develop. • The culture is shaped by the choices the people make in interacting with their environments.
And don’t forget Las Vegas-then…. .
• People regard their environments through the lens of their own cultural values, as the resources they need: whatever is useful to them. • Some geographers say that the more technologically advanced a society is, the more POSSIBILITIES it has to shape its environment. • But of course we all know--
You can’t control Mother Nature!