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How Human Geography Shapes Society And Social Processes

1808 words - 8 pages

“Human geography is not just about describing the spatial manifestations of economy and society; it is about explaining how space is transformed and shapes societies and social processes” (Daniels, et al., 2005). Discuss, drawing on at least two substantive areas of Economic Geography.
Human Geography is a ‘major field of geography that is centrally concerned with the ways in which place, space and environment are both the condition and in part the consequence of human activities’ (Gregory et al. 2009 P 350) and therefore in accordance with Daniels et al. statement it can be said that human geography does indeed transform and shape societies. In order to illustrate how ‘space is transformed and shapes societies and social processes’ by human geography (Daniels et al. 2005); within this essay I will be focusing on the effect of human geography on society from an economical perspective and specifically from both the aspects of consumption and globalisation.
Economic geography is an important aspect of human geography that has been rapidly changing since the 1960s where there was a focus on the analysis of location. Economic geography in the 1960s and 1970s was focused on the scientific analysis of location (Fawn 2009) at a time where consumption was rapidly changing because of Henry Ford. Fordism has been described as "a model of economic expansion and technological progress based on mass production: the manufacture of standardized products in huge volumes using special purpose machinery and unskilled labor" (Tolliday and Zeitlin 1987 P 1-2) Fordism began in the automotive industry but then was adopted into several parts of the economy.
The way in which people started consumed also changed as mass consumption was introduced into society. However after consumption began to move away from Fordist techniques in the 1980s, geographers attempted to investigate the social and cultural aspects of the economy. The financial markets became more globalized as large companies started to outsource their companies, finding labour in developing countries where the cultures and traditions within society are very different to that of the western world. However, as these places became imposed upon they also began to adopt western cultures and have been thereafter been subjected to Mcdonaldization.
Ritzer (2010) has compared societies to that of the fast food restaurant McDonalds with the company having revenues of $23.5 billion in 2008 (Ritzer 2010), it can truly be seen as a global company. He defines Mcdonaldization as "the process by which the principles of the fast-food restaurant are coming to dominate more and more sectors of American society as well as of the rest of the world (Ritzer P 1)." The company itself has had a major influence globally, providing stores for consumption in the most isolated of places, illustrating how great the effect of globalisation can be on society. Ritzer expresses the view that McDonaldization may have had a...

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