Chapter 8 Outline -In 1997, the newly elected Labor party in London gave the Scots (and the Welsh) the opportunity to vote- not for independence, but for devolution. They both voted in favor, taking a major devolutionary step in one of Europe’s oldest and most stable unitary states. – Scotland’s new autonomous status has not necessarily fueled greater calls for independence. – At the heart of most devolutionary moments however, is a strong sense of ethnocultural or economic difference and when sense of difference coincide with conflicting senses of territory, the results can be explosive. Devolutionary pressures often arise from a combination of sources. – Catalonia produces some 25% of all Spanish exports by value and 40% of its industrial exports. – Economic forces play an even more prominent role in Italy and France. – Italy faces serious devolutionary forces on its mainland peninsula as well one is the growing regional disparity between north and south. The wealthier north stands in sharp contrast to the poorer south. – The most recent of Italian politicians was the Northern League which raised the prospect of an independent state called Padania. The Northern League’s Efforts fell short. Devolutionary events most often occur on the margins of states. – Distance, remoteness, and marginal location are allies of devolution. – The regions most likely to seek devolution are those far from the national capitol. Many are separated by water, desert, or mountains from the center of power and adjoin neighbors that may support separatist objectives. – Note also that many islands are subject to devolutionary processes: Corsica (France), Sardinia (Italy), Taiwan (China), Singapore (Malaysia), Zanzibar (Tanzania), Jolo (Philippines), Puerto Rico (United States), Mayotte (Comoros), and East Timor (Indonesia) are notable examples.
As this list indicates, some of these islands become independent states, while others were divided during devolution. -The U. S faces its most serious devolutionary pressures on the island of Hawaii. The year 1993 marked the hundred-year anniversary of the United States’ annexation of Hawaii, and in that year, a vocal minority of native Hawaiians and their sympathizers demanded the return of rights lost during the “occupation. ” – At present, the native Hawaiians do not have the numbers, resources, or influence to achieve their separatist aims. Spatial influences can play a significant role in starting, and sustaining devolutionary processes. They can also be compounded by differences in physical geography. -Basic physical-geographic and locational factors can thus key ingredients in the devolutionary process. – A final key component to the spatial organization of government is the state’s electoral system. – Various countries use different voting systems to elect their governments. – The geographic study of voting behavior is especially interesting because it relates the way people vote to their geographic environments.
Don’t waste your time!
Order your assignment!
Maps of voting patterns often produce surprises that can be explained by other maps, and Geographic Information Systems technology has raised this kind of analysis to new levels. – Probably the most practical area of electoral geography is the geography of representation. – A voter’s most direct and important contact with government is at the local level. The United States Constitution establishes a system of Territorial representation in the House of Representatives, where each representative is elected from a territorial defined district. The constitution also establishes a census every 10 years in order to enumerate the population and reapportion the representatives accordingly. – In the United States once reapportionment is complete, individual States go through redistricting, each following its own system. – Even after the civil rights movement of the 1950s and 1960s in the United States, minorities were refused voting rights in a multitude of districts and States around the country. County registrars would close their doors when African Americans came to register to vote, and people were intimidated from voting at the polls. In 1982, the United States Congress amended the 1965 Voting Rights by outlawing districts that have the effect of weakening minority voting power. – Ideally, majority-minority districts would be compact and contiguous and follow existing political units. – To pack minorities who do not live compactly and contiguously, State have drawn crazy-shaped districts, connecting minority populations with meandering corridors and following Interstates to connect urban areas that have large minority populations. The larger point is that the spatial organization of voting districts is a fundamentally geographical phenomenon, and it can have profound impacts on who is represented and who is not-as well as peoples’ notions of fairness. III. How Are Boundaries Established, And Why Do Boundary Disputes Occur? -The territories of individual states are 2seperated by international boundaries (borders). – Many boundaries were established on the world map before the extent or significance of subsoil resources was known.
As a result, coal seams stretch over boundaries, and oil and gas reserves are split between states. – During the 1950s-1960s, Germany and the Netherlands argued over a gas reserve that lies in the subsoil across their boundary. – Establishing a boundary between two states typically involves four steps. First, states define the boundary through a treaty-like, legal document. Next, cartographers delimit the boundary by drawing on a map. Third, the states demarcate the boundary by using steel posts, concrete pillars, fences, walls, or some other visible means to mark the boundary on the ground.
The final step is to administrate the boundary- to determine how the boundary will be maintained and how goods and people will cross the boundary. – When boundaries are drawn using grid systems such as latitude and longitude or township and range, political geographers refer to these boundaries as geometric boundaries. – At different times, political geographers sand other academics have advocated “natural” boundaries over geometric boundaries because they are visible on the landscape as physical geographic features. The Rio Grande is an important physical-political boundary between the United States and Mexico; an older boundary follows crest lines of Pyrenees between Spain and France. – Physical features sometimes make convenient political boundaries, but topographic features are not static. Rivers change course, volcanoes erupt, and slowly, mountains erode. – The boundary we see as a line on an atlas map is the product of a complex series of legal steps that begins with a written description of the boundary. Sometimes that legal description is old and imprecise. These boundary disputes take four principal forms: definitional, locational, operational, and allocational. – Definitional boundary disputes focus on the legal language of the boundary agreement. For example, a boundary definition may stipulate that the median line of a river will mark the boundary. The solution is to refine the definition to suit both parties. – Locational boundary disputes center on the delimitation and possibly the demarcation of the boundary. The definition is not in dispute, but its interpretation is.
An important case involves Saudi Arabia and Yemen, whose potentially oil-rich boundary area is not covered by a treaty. – Operational boundary disputes involve neighbors who differ over the way their border should function. In areas where nomadic lifestyles still prevail, the movement of people and their livestock across international borders can lead to conflict. – Allocational boundary disputes of the kind described earlier, involving the Netherlands and Germany over natural gas and Iraq and Kuwait over oil, are becoming more common as the search for resources intensifies.
When a river crosses an international boundary, the rights of the upstream and downstream users of the river often come into conflict. – Geopolitics is the interplay among geography, power, politics, and international relations. – Geopolitics is a wide arena that helps us understand the map of the world. – Classical geopoliticians generally fit into one of two camps: the German school, which sought to explain why certain states are powerful and how to become powerful, and the British/American School, which sought to offer strategic advice for states and explain why countries interact at the global scale the way they do. Ratzel’s organic theory held that a nation, which is an aggregate of organisms (human beings), would itself function and behave as an organism. – Some of Ratzel’s students translated his abstract writings into practical policies, and these were drawn on to3 help justify the territorially expansionist Nazi policies of the 1930s. – Mackinder was concerned with power relationships at a time when Britain had acquired a global empire through its naval supremacy. – When Mackinder proposed his heartland theory, there was little to foretell the rise of a superpower in the heartland. Despite the staying power of geopolitical theories, geopolitics dropped from the map after World War II. Because of the influence Ratzel’s theory had on Hitler and because another geopolitician, Karl Haushofer, also influenced Hitler the term geopolitics gained an extremely negative connotation. – Today, geopoliticians do much less predicting and prescribing. – In a number of publications, O’Tuathail has studied American geopolitical reasoning by examining speeches and statements by U.
S intellects of statecraft regarding certain wars, certain places, and certain times. – During the Cold War, President Ronald Reagan coined the term Evil Empire for the Soviet Union and represented the United States as “the shining city on a hill. ” – Statements such as these propel cultural oddities such as “freedom fries” instead of French fries” being served in American restaurants once the president and media explained France’s hesitancy to be “with” the United States government in the war against Iraq.