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Paper Information

Journal:   GEOGRAPHY   SPRING 2014 , Volume 12 , Number 40; Page(s) 47 To 71.
 
Paper: 

MYSTERY OF FOUNDATION OF POLITICAL GEOGRAPHY: RATZEL OR TURGOT?

 
 
Author(s):  MIRHEIDAR D., BADIEE M., ZAKI P., MIRAHMADI F.
 
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Abstract: 

The first step in explaining the evolution of idea in every scientific discipline is enquiry into the roots of that science, the name of the person who used the name of that science for the first time, or the person who published a seminal work on that science for the first time. Most texts of political geography in Iran and the world refer to Friedrich Ratzel, the German geographer, as the founder of this discipline, due to his book published in 1897. This is while the concept of political geography was first used and defined by well-known French philosopher, economist, and manager, Anne Robert Jacque Turgot in 1751. The present study, using analytical comparative method, tries to contribute to solving the mystery of the foundation of this scientific discipline by investigating Turgot’s thoughts and comparing them with those of Ratzel. The findings of the study indicate that humanistic approach of Turgot toward the science of geography and the “stadial theory of human progress” proposed by him, have significant impact upon the emergence of modern geography. Using the concept of political geography, Turgot made attempt to show the relationship between geographical facts and political organization. By political organization, he mainly meant the government. He considered political geography as the knowledge-producing science for the state. However, in Ratzel’s view, the main theme of political geography was explaining the nature of the government. Influenced by social Darwinism, racism, empiricism and war, Ratzel offered a form of political geography which played a significant part in creation of Nazism and its violence in the early 20th century. It can be concluded that throughout a century or so since the emergence of political geography as an academic discipline, the view of political geographers since 1950s are mostly in line with the views of Turgot rather than Ratzel. Therefore, Turgot can be considered as the founder of political geography.

 
Keyword(s): ANNE ROBERT JACQUE TURGOT, PROGRESS THEORY, POLITICAL GEOGRAPHY, FRIEDRICH RATZE
 
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