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Inayatullah, S. (1931) The influence of physical environment upon Arabian life and institutions. PhD thesis. SOAS University of London. DOI:

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The term 'physical Environment,' in relation to the Arabs, covers the climatic and other physico-geographic features of their homeland in respect of their directive and formative influences upon their life. Such features include the position of Arabia in relation to other lands; its relief and landscape; the nature of its soil; its climate (temperature, rainfall, etc.); its hydrography (system of drainage); its vegetation, etc. etc. These conditions of climate and physical environment form the chief basic factors in the evolution of the Arabs. They have influenced more or less their economic activity, their social and political organization; their physical and mental development and the general character and status of their material civilization. The problem of environmental influences thus resolves itself into a number of special problems. The varied economic activity of the pastoral nomads and settled agriculturists has a definite corresponding physico-geographic basis. Their economic development has in each case been further affected by the control of climatic conditions over the distribution of the animal and vegetable life, which they exploit. Environmental influences are also manifest in the primary elements of their material culture, viz. in the matter of their food, clothing, dwelling and general equipment, since man, especially it a low grade of civilization, satisfies his needs with what he finds around him. The physique of the Arabs and their general state of health have also been influenced by the geographical conditions, through the character and amount of food available for consumption and the salubrity or otherwise of their land. The social and political conditions of Arabia have been affected through the effect of its natural characteristics upon the measure of the stability of its inhabitants and of their cooperation and cohesion. The main features of the political life of the arabs become fully intelligible only when studied in relation to the physical conditions of their land. In the thesis now presented, the principles of human geography have been, for the first time, consistently applied to several aspects of Arabian life, and new light is in consequence shed upon the causes and inter-relations of a large number of facts, most of which, though already known, have not hitherto been studied from tine viewpoint of environmental influence.

Item Type: Theses (PhD)
SOAS Departments & Centres: SOAS Research Theses > Proquest
DOI (Digital Object Identifier):
Date Deposited: 16 Oct 2018 14:58

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