Manuscript Essay

Scope and Content

Manuscript essay/notes by GES; critically examines analogy between the geographical theory of culture and associationist psychology; argues for more 'historical' view of development of culture, where particular needs gave significance to certain type of environment, gives example of inhabitants of the Yenesei river region who adopted an agricultural mode of life there because they brought these skills to the area rather than the environment itself determining the mode of production. Same applies to early peoples who developed metal-working.

Smith maintains environment cannot determine culture because an identical environment is consistent with different cultures and cultural traits do not develop in environments where they would be favourable to the inhabitants. Environment does however act as a limiting condition on a people's activities.

Smith sums up his argument by stating:

"As the association of ideas already implies the synthesizing faculty of consciousness, so the assemblage and sue of environmental factors after a definite Plan already implies the selective and synthetic agency of a pre-existing or nascent culture."