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Friedrich Ratzel & The Organic Theory

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Sydney Purdue

on 26 September 2013

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Transcript of Friedrich Ratzel & The Organic Theory

photo credit Nasa / Goddard Space Flight Center / Reto Stöckli
The Organic Theory
Friedrich Ratzel
Creator of the Organic Theory of State Growth
Lived from 1844-1904
German geographer
Developed the concept of "Lebensraum" or "living space"
Meant as the concept a state increasing its size to prosper
Twisted by later theorists to justify the beginning of WWII
The Theory
States are like organisms and have a life cycle with similar stages:
Old age

States can nourish themselves by expanding. Borders are temporary
Related to Lebensraum
Youthful states are identified by:
population growth
stable cultural identity
Mature states are defined by:
population stability
cultural evolution
Old Age
Old states are defined by:
decreasing population
break-down of cultural identity
Extension of the Organic Theory
Rudolf Kjellen expanded on the theory:
related organs to state's systems
distributing (circulatory) = communication and transportation
sustaining (digestive) = agriculture
regulating (nervous) = government
Friedrich Ratzel &
The Organic Theory
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