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Time to scrap “Eastern Europe”

Time to scrap “Eastern Europe” | Geography Education | Scoop.it
Europe’s divisions are indeed grave. But counting the ex-communist countries as a single category is outdated and damaging 
Seth Dixon's insight:

What places belong in a region together?  What are the boundaries of that region?  How has this region changed over time?  Regional classification is inherently an exercise that relies on our geographic knowledge and requires some spatial thinking.  Each semester I have students divide the United States into the regions that explain how they conceptualize the different parts of the country.  This 2 minute video is a great example that argues that the regional category of Eastern Europe is less meaningful today mainly because of the changing political and economic geography that is blurring the regional borders of Europe.   


Tags:  Europe, regions.

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Kaitlin Young's curator insight, December 12, 2014 4:00 PM

Even though the Iron Curtain has long fallen, the practice of still describing the ex-Soviet countries as "Eastern Europe" still remains, and those same countries wish to change it. No longer are these countries part of the Soviet Block, and they feel that this characterization still defines them in this way. "Eastern Europe" denotes struggling economies, unhappy populations, marginalized lands, and an overall lack of development. While some countries are still recovering from Soviet rule, others have become important world powers with powerful economies. They no longer wish to be associated with Russia.

Samuel D'Amore's curator insight, December 14, 2014 7:58 PM

The old way of lumping all Countries east of Germany as simply "Eastern European" is not only wrong but can lead to negativity and conflict. These are nations which differ greatly in terms of language, ethnicity, and political affiliation should definitely not be lumped together within one identity. The fact is the Cold War has ended and instead of holding on to these out dated terms we should instead look forward and embrace these countries for what they are, unique countries with unique things to offer.

Kendra King's curator insight, February 15, 7:37 PM

I don’t really see the big deal of the map categorization based on the author’s argument. I agree the Cold War labeling is “outdated,” but saying the grouping is “damaging” because people just think of those countries as “poor” is an incredibly weak argument. Anyone who wants to do business with the area will know who is fiscally sound and any country that believes this is an obstacle can easily show the notion false given the facts of the video in regards to wealth and EU membership. However, just because a country is in the EU doesn’t mean they are completely well off. Much of that area is still politically unstable, which is a whole economic value of its own. Furthermore, that wasn’t my connotation of those countries. When I think Cold War, I think of an area that is repressive and still under Russian influence. If anything, I think that is a bigger deal because Russia shouldn’t speak for a whole area.

 

I also don’t think many of the groupings really help the authors cause. If the author wants there to be less negative connotations related to the Cold War, then the area probably should make mentioned of “countries scared of Russia” as it was the major Cold War player. Nor should there be a mention of “free” economies, since the economic divide of each country played a major hand in the tension between each ideology.  So one really needs to be careful about the terms used when re-labeling an area.

 

I don’t see a huge push for renaming the area. We still live in an outdated cold war society given how the United States still looks at Russia. So I doubt, renaming will happen anytime soon. Guess the author will have to wait for the next big political crisis or war. 

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