José Manuel Mateo1, Edson Vicente da Silva2 and Mario Burgui Burgui3*
Received: May 15, 2019; Published: March 21, 2019
Corresponding author: Mario Burgui Burgui, Researcher, Department of Geography, University of Alcalá, Madrid, Spain
The book “The legacy of Sochava - Volume I. The Theory of Geosystems in the vision of Viktor Borisovich Sochava” (J.M. Mateo & E.V. da Silva, 2019) launched by the Federal University of Ceará in Fortaleza (Brazil), arises from a claim by a group of Brazilian geographers and environmentalists to know the essence of the Theory of Geosystems proposed in the early 60s of the twentieth century by the Soviet scientist V.B. Sochava.
In this regard, some information had been published in several papers, but they did not give a complete idea of the theoreticalmethodological foundation established by Sochava. On the other hand, interpretations of the notion of the geosystem that did not correspond to the fundamental essence of the concept had arisen.
The book is the first in a series of five volumes that will contain the complete translation into Portuguese of the work published in 1978 by Sochava entitled “Introduction to the Theory of Geosystems”. The five volumes are:
A. Volume I: “The Theory of Geosystems in the vision of Victor Borisovich Sochava: Theoretical and methodological foundations”.
B. Volume II: “Landscape and geosystems units”.
C. Volume III: “Methods of study of landscapes and geosystems”.
D. Volume IV: “Regional problems, planetary and current issues”.
E. Volume V: “Cartography of landscapes and geosystems”.
The first volume referred here begins with an article published in 2015 in the Fluminense Federal University Journal where Sochava’s role in the elaboration of the Geosystemic Theory is clarified, and background on his biography is exposed.
Next, Volume I include the Portuguese translation of the following chapters of Sochava’s work, followed in each case by a commentary and analysis of the authors (J.M. Mateo and E.V. da Silva), in order to clarify many ideas and place them in the context of contemporary environmental and geographical theories:
a. Approach to the problem.
b. Concepts and axioms of the Theory of Geosystems.
c. Ecological principles and the interaction between Ecology and Geography in the Geosystemic Theory.
d. “Interpretative Dictionary on the main concepts used in Geosystemic Theory” according to Sochava.
Subsequently, an interview with each author is presented, in which their scientific evolution is displayed, as well as their opinions on the Theory of Geosystems and the current role of it in environmental sciences. Finally, the book includes a list of the main publications produced by Sochava.
Sochava revolutionizes Geography in particular, and Environmental and Territorial Sciences in general, by raising the idea that the Earth is organized systemically, starting from its physical-geographical conditions and its regularities of differentiation; and that for this reason the biotic resources and human activities are subordinated to that natural order. Sochava establishes a hierarchical taxonomic system, objective, coherent and appropriate to those physical-geographical laws, and interprets landscapes -both natural and cultural- from the systemic vision, in which the integrality, connectivity and reversibility of systemic relationships are accepted. The geosystem is not just a taxonomic unit, but a generalized way of interpreting reality. Currently, among the predominance of post-classical science, in which inter, and transdisciplinary themes are more important, the systemic theory elaborated by Sochava takes on greater relevance as a way of meeting disciplines, and as a mechanism for achieving conceptual and terminological isomorphisms.
In the academic world, Sochava was a prominent environmental activist. In the first place, he faced the positions of Stalin’s domain of nature, for which he suffered imprisonment in a concentration camp in Siberia. As if that were not enough, he also faced the ideas of total transformation of nature elaborated by the neo-Stalinist regime of L. I. Brezhnev. This book is a tribute to professor Carlos Augusto Figueredo Montero, who for 40 years discovered the relevance of geosystemic theory for Brazilian science, and is a response to the commitment that the authors assumed to the request of a group of participants in the XVI Brazilian Symposium of Applied Physical Geography, held in 2013 in Vitoria (Espiritu Santo, Brazil). The authors hope that with the publication of this book a step forward will be taken in the dissemination of the entire state of art from an epistemological view developed by authors little known in the Western world, as is the case of V. B. Sochava.
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