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EXPLAINING GERMANY’S ELECTORAL GEOGRAPHY

Evidence from the Eastern States

Steven Wuhs and Eric McLaughlin

Partisan attachments and voting behavior in Germany today are more volatile than in the past. This article tests the enduring influence of social cleavages on voting relative to two other factors that account for party performance: path dependent forces and spatial dependence. Drawing on original data from the eastern German states, we explain support for Germany’s main parties in the 2017 federal election. We find relatively weak evidence for continued influence of social divisions for the major parties, but that support for the radical right Alternative for Germany (AfD) did reflect underlying cleavage structures. Additionally, we identify reliable effects of the historical immigrant population on contemporary voting. We also see weak evidence of lock-in political effects associated with German reunification, limited only to the CDU. Most interestingly, we observe powerful and robust effects of spatial dependence for three of the four parties we examine. We conclude that the effects presented here should signal to scholars of parties and electoral politics the need to incorporate history and geography into their analytical frameworks alongside more traditional approaches, since eastern Germany may in fact be less spatialized than western Germany or other country cases because of the homogenizing efforts of the SED regime.

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Mobility

Geographies, Histories, Sociologies

Peter Merriman, Rhys Jones, Tim Cresswell, Colin Divall, Gijs Mom, Mimi Sheller and John Urry

This article is an edited transcript of a panel discussion on “mobility studies“ which was held as part of a workshop on mobility and community at Aberystwyth University on September 3, 2012. In the article the five panelists reflect upon the recent resurgence of research on mobility in the social sciences and humanities, emphasizing the interdisciplinary nature of contemporary debates, and the ways in which established fields such as transport history, migration studies, and sociology are being reshaped by new research agendas. The panelists discuss the importance of engaging with issues of politics, justice, equality, global capital, secrecy, and representation, and they encourage researchers to focus on non-Western and non-hegemonic mobilities, as well as to produce “useable“ studies which engage policy-makers.

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Dante Alighieri Was Here

Place, Identities, Geographies and Histories in a Small Slovenian Town

Miha Kozorog

The article addresses the question of local identification, proposing that local identification in the contemporary world can be linked to locals' imagining 'their place' as inscribed within wider contexts outlined by symbols with supra-local references, whereby place-centric imaginary geographies emerge. Locals are active producers of symbols linking a place to such geographies. The author discusses the case of Dante Alighieri's alleged stay in the town of Tolmin in 1319, which failed as a possible symbol for inscribing the town into the imaginary geography of Western literature because in this part of Slovenia Dante was also associated with Italian fascism.

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Shared Meals and Food Fights

Geographical Indications, Rural Development, and the Environment

Fabio Parasecoli and Aya Tasaki

The article highlights relevant issues within the global debate on geographical indications, as they relate to food products. Geographical indications, a form of intellectual property designated by considering principally the place of origin of products, have become a hot topic among producers, activists, economists, and politicians worldwide. Commercial and legal issues related to them have generated complex negotiations in international organizations and national institutions, while their cultural aspects have stimulated theoretical debates about the impact of global trade on local identities. Geographical indications could become a valid tool to implement community-based, sustainable, and quality-oriented agriculture, depending on the sociopolitical environment and whether they are relevant for the producers involved, affordable in terms of administrative and management costs, and applicable on different scales of production. The article also explores the environmental impact of geographical indications and their potential in ensuring the livelihood of rural communities in emerging economies and promoting sustainable agricultural models.

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Teaching National Identity and Alterity

Nineteenth Century American Primary School Geography Textbooks

Bahar Gürsel

The swift and profound transformations in technology and industry that the United States began to experience in the late 1800s manifested themselves in school textbooks, which presented different patterns of race, ethnicity, and otherness. They also displayed concepts like national identity, exceptionalism, and the superiority of Euro-American civilization. This article aims to demonstrate, via an analysis of two textbooks, how world geography was taught to children in primary schools in nineteenth century America. It shows that the development of American identity coincided with the emergence of the realm of the “other,” that is, with the intensification of racial attitudes and prejudices, some of which were to persist well into the twentieth century.

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Visualizing the Former Cold War "Other"

Images of Eastern Europe in World Regional Geography Textbooks in the United States

Dmitrii Sidorov

This article discusses contemporary western representations of the former Cold War geopolitical "other," Eastern Europe, conveyed by illustrations in contemporary American world regional geography textbooks. I would like to explore certain geopolitical biases in the pictures' general messages, such as tendencies to highlight the transitional, problematic, and marginal at the expense of the essential and centripetal characteristics and landscapes. Images of Eastern Europe tend to marginalize it from the rest of Europe by minimizing visual references to its physical landscape and its role in European history; overemphasizing local problems connotes the need for the supranational assistance of the expanding European Union. Overall, this article attempts to reveal various Cold War legacies and "marginalizing" tendencies in visual representations of Eastern Europe, thus contributing to the visual and popular cultural turns in geography and geopolitical studies.

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“The Highest Limit of Statesmanship”

Ritterian Geography and Russian Exploration of the Amur River Basin, 1849–1853

Sharyl Corrado

The lower Amur River basin was annexed by Russia in the mid-nineteenth century following several years of unauthorized exploration by naval officer Gennadii Nevel'skoi. Scholars recognize multiple factors—geopolitical, economic, and nationalist—that prompted Russia's interest in the region. This article adds to this list the budding science of geography, and in particular, the influence of German geographer Karl Ritter. To Ritter, a nation's true borders were set by nature, not by man. His ideas are reflected in both the words and actions of Nevel'skoi regarding the lower Amur basin. The explorer described the territory not as foreign or other, but as naturally, historically, and rightfully Russian land. The river, to him, was a highway, facilitating transport through Siberia. In time, even the tsar was convinced. Ritter's ideas extended far beyond intellectual circles in Russia, serving to at once guide and justify Russia's eastward expansion.

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Aurélien Delpirou and Hadrien Dubucs

What has geography contributed to the new paradigm of mobilities research? This question may appear out of place insofar as mobility has always been a subfield of human geography. In history or sociology (for example), mobilities research was an innovation—but as Tim Creswell and Peter Merriman noted with wit, geographers have returned to mobility as if they were ‘revisiting an old friend’.

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Michael S. Carolan

This article maps key epistemological and ontological terrains associated with biotechnology. Beginning with the epistemological, a comparison is made between the scientific representations of today, particularly as found in the genomic sciences, and the scientific representations of the past. In doing this, we find these representations have changed over the centuries, which has been of significant consequence in terms of giving shape to today's global political economy. In the following section, the sociopolitical effects of biotechnology are discussed, particularly in terms of how the aforementioned representations give shape to global path dependencies. By examining the epistemological and ontological assumptions that give shape to the global distribution of informational and biological resources, this article seeks to add to our understanding of today's bioeconomy and the geographies of control it helps to create.

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Andreas Weiß

In the nineteenth century, transmitting knowledge of the world became one of the most important tasks for education. As the last blank spots on the map were filled in, geographical knowledge assumed particular importance. In order to do business, assess political situations, and make travel plans, young adults had to learn more than etiquette, manners, religion and history. This knowledge of the world was conveyed to minors primarily via pedagogical instruction (for example, by way of geography textbooks), but also via adventure stories and travel novels.