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London Should Secede From the United Kingdom

London Should Secede From the United Kingdom | Geography Education | Scoop.it
Beyond the stunning act that has become Britain’s vote to leave the European Union lies a deeper message: Democracy is not destiny, but devolution. Ceaseless entropy — the second law of thermodynamics — applies to politics as well. The more countries democratize, the more local populations seek greater self-rule.
Seth Dixon's insight:

In his book Connectography by Parag Khanna, he argues that connectivity and networks are more important today.  Using those ideas, Khanna discusses London's options after the recent Brexit vote in this op-ed (this additional article explores the demographic divide on the Brexit vote, especially how many British Millennials feel that their future has been snatched from them).      

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Why Somaliland is not a recognized state

Why Somaliland is not a recognized state | Geography Education | Scoop.it

"SOMALILAND, a slim slice of Somali-inhabited territory on the southern shore of the Gulf of Aden, ticks almost all the boxes of statehood. It has its own currency, a reasonably effective bureaucracy and a trained army and police force. But it has yet to receive official recognition from a single foreign government in the years since it declared independence in 1991. To the outside world, it is an autonomous region of Somalia, subject to the Somali Federal Government (SFG) in Mogadishu. Why is it not a state?  Throughout the post-independence era, geopolitics in Africa has tended to respect 'colonial borders', i.e. the borders laid down by European colonial powers in the 19th century. Across the continent, there have been only two significant alterations to the colonial map since the 1960s: the division of Eritrea from Ethiopia, in 1993; and South Sudan from Sudan, in 2011."

Seth Dixon's insight:

Somaliland is a 'pocket of stability in a chaotic region.' The global community fears that granting recognition to a Somaliland might led to further devolution, even if the unrecognized government is functioning.  This is an excellent article from the Economist that demonstrates some of the key requirements to be a state, political and regional geography.  For another example of political geography of aspiring states, here is an article about the limited prospects of a future Kurdish state.      

 

Tags: devolutionpolitical, states, sovereignty, autonomy, unit 4 political, Somalia, Africa.

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Courtney Barrowman's curator insight, November 19, 2015 1:35 PM

unit 4

Courtney Barrowman's curator insight, November 19, 2015 1:35 PM

unit 4

Raymond Dolloff's curator insight, December 14, 2015 11:55 PM

Like many new developing countries, it is hard to overcome the hardships to prove that you deserve to be recognized as a new nation. Being recognized as a true nation means that there is political and economic stability within a country. The area where Somaliland is located is very unstable. Its parent nation, Somalia is very unstable. For example, in Somalia, there are pirates who hijack mariners and take them and the vessel hostage. Stability within a country is a major aspect for the international community to look at to recognize new countries.

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Why England’s women’s soccer team won’t be playing at the 2016 Olympics

Why England’s women’s soccer team won’t be playing at the 2016 Olympics | Geography Education | Scoop.it
At the heart of the debate over whether Britain will field any soccer teams at the Olympics are questions about British identity, and which of Britons’ multiple identities gets priority.

The four constituent nations of the United Kingdom compete as individual teams in soccer tournaments such as the World Cup and the European Championship. But in the Olympics, the athletes must compete under the single banner of “Team GB.”

FIFA, the world governing body of soccer, said that Britain would need to submit a bid for the Olympics with the support of all four of the national soccer associations, but Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland are against the idea. They think it would damage their prospects of retaining nation status within FIFA and their ability to compete as individual nations in other international tournaments.


Tags: UK, sport, political, identity, autonomy.

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Scottish Independence: New flag for UK?

Scottish Independence: New flag for UK? | Geography Education | Scoop.it
Members of the Flag Institute have created designs for what the Union Flag could look like in the event of independence
Seth Dixon's insight:

I've already posted various links this week on Scottish independence and what it might mean, but I think these two are also worth considering.  Flags are the great icons of state identity, and a UK without Scotland might reconsider it iconography.  This links to an article from the Telegraph and a photogallery with 12 'candidate flags' for a UK that does not include Scotland.  Why might some resist the idea of creating a new national symbol?


Tags: devolutionhistorical, political, states, sovereignty, autonomy, Europe, unit 4 political, UK.

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Jason Schneider's curator insight, February 12, 2015 6:03 PM

The UK flag is known for representing a union between England and Scotland. It's known as the "Union Jack." The white on the UK flag represents peace peace and honesty and the blue represents loyalty and truth. It's a shame that those two colors have to change to Black and Yellow which I don't know what those colors would represent. If you put a Scottish flag with a UK flag, you won't find any yellow or black so I believe that Scotland is trying to exclude England and Scotland's alike colors such as blue and white and try to create a stronger equal union with England.

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Why Paris doesn't want a Scottish Yes

Why Paris doesn't want a Scottish Yes | Geography Education | Scoop.it

"Nothing unites different nations quite like mutual enemies. But the 'Auld Alliance' between Scotland and France - both historic rivals of England - doesn't mean that the French government favours Scottish independence. Far from it."

Seth Dixon's insight:

Historically, France has supported greater autonomy or independence as a way to limit English political power and influence.  However in the era of the E.U. and greater regional integration, modern geopolitics makes this old alliance untenable as some in Scotland are seeking independence from the United Kingdom.  

 

Tags: devolutionhistorical, supranationalism, political, states, sovereignty, autonomy, Europe, unit 4 political, geopolitics.

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Kevin Barker's curator insight, August 19, 2014 8:59 AM

I was surprised to listen to the affection that Scotland and France have towards each other but I wasn't surprised to hear France's concerns about the further division of countries within the EU.  What is it about the independence of Scotland that causes the French government to be concerned?

MsPerry's curator insight, August 25, 2014 3:30 PM

APHG-Unit 4

Nicole Kearsch's curator insight, October 14, 2014 1:50 PM

Even though in past years France and Scotland have been friendly and wanted the best for each other, Scottish independence is not on the list of things to do for France.  They have good blood together, sharing foods, music and alcohol at festivals there is no need to worry about any hatred happening even if the French does not back Scotland's independence.  While some think that France would think that areas like Brittany and Corsica would want independence from France that is not the reason.  To keep checks and balances in place a strong United Kingdom is needed to keep Germany in line.  With the independence of Scotland, the UK gets a little bit weaker and France is not okay with that.

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No union, no pound, British official warns Scots backing independence

No union, no pound, British official warns Scots backing independence | Geography Education | Scoop.it
LONDON – Escalating the fight against secession, the British government warned Thursday that Scotland would lose the right to continue using the pound as its currency if voters there say yes to a historic referendum on independence this fall.


Osborne’s stark warning, delivered in a speech in Edinburgh, the Scottish capital, represented a new willingness by unionists to take a hard line in persuading Scottish voters to shun independence in a September plebiscite. A thumbs-up would end Scotland’s 307-year-old marriage to England and Wales and cause the biggest political shakeup in the British Isles since Ireland split from the British crown nearly a century ago.


Sturgeon predicted that “what the Treasury says now in the heat of the campaign would be very different to what they say after a democratic vote for independence, when common sense would trump the campaign rhetoric.”

Seth Dixon's insight:

This is an intriguing strategic move by the UK as Scotland considers  independence.  Some have argued that this move will backfire and push more Scottish voters into the "yes" camp.  In related news, the BBC reports that EU officials say that an independent Scotland would have a hard time joining the European Union.  


Tags: devolutionpolitical, states, sovereignty, autonomy, Europe, unit 4 political, currency, economic.
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Jess Deady's curator insight, May 4, 2014 9:40 AM

The countries of Britain want their independence. Scotland uses the pound just like England and Wales but its being threatened that the government might take away that right to use that monetary system. 

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A 250-mile show of support for Catalonia independence

A 250-mile show of support for Catalonia independence | Geography Education | Scoop.it
More than 1 million flag-draped and face-painted Catalans held hands and formed a 250-mile human chain across the northeastern Spanish region Wednesday in a demonstration of their desires for independence.
Seth Dixon's insight:

September 11th means different things is different places.  While many Americans were remembering the terrorist attacks of 2001, it was Catalonian National Day.  In addition to the festivities, they organized a massive public demonstration to support independence and to garner international attention.  They created a 'human border' that sretched across the region to apply pressure on the Spanish government to allow a vote that would let Catalonia break away and form their own country.  While this energy and enthusiasm swept Barcelona, the Spanish government stopped the protest from spreading into neighboring Valencia (many Valencians speak Catalan).

  

Questions to Ponder: How do events such as this in public places impact the political process?  Is it significant that the link about the Spanish government stopping Valencia comes from a Scottish newspaper?  Why?  How can social media and technology (such as the hastags #CatalanWay #ViaCatalana) impact social movements?  


Tags: Catalonia, Spain, political, devolution, autonomyEurope, culture.

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Samuel D'Amore's curator insight, December 14, 2014 7:40 PM

While the early 20th century saw the rise of nationalism leading to the destruction of empires and birth of nations based upon culture not all cultures achieved this. An example of this today is in Catalonia within Spain. The people of Catalonia wish to separate themselves from the rest of Spain and become an individual free nation. Unfortunately for them Spain has no intentions of letting them go and few within the UN are siding against Spain.

Wilmine Merlain's curator insight, December 18, 2014 1:18 PM

There are a lot of unknown countries in the world, for instance Catalonia. A country that is independently located in Spain, Catalonia is one that is rarely heard of. With recent countries wanting to claim independence from their larger states, its looks like Catalonia wants a piece of the pie. Though coming to a place of self-governance is a mile stone, it also comes at a high sticker prize. They not only have to develop national recognition by other states in the world union, they have to be able to produce commodity that is able to compete on a global level. These countries wanting to claim independence have a long way to go.

Rachel Phillips's curator insight, May 7, 2015 2:08 PM

Until pretty recently, I wasn't even aware of Catalonia, nevermind their hope for independence. I didn't know that they didn't consider themselves Spain, but another place entirely.  But, because they've been considered part of Spain for so long, it seems like independence from Spain could be hard to achieve. However, holding marches and things like this are a great way to get a movement going, as long as it doesn't become violent or any sort of serious public disturbance, because that never solves anything.

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Flag wars

Flag wars | Geography Education | Scoop.it

"Mr Füzes had voiced support for the Székler people, a group of ethnic Hungarians who live in Transylvania, after two Romanian counties banned the display of the Székler flag (pictured above with men in hussar uniform) on public buildings. Zsolt Nemeth, Hungary’s state secretary for foreign affairs, described the ban as an act of “symbolic aggression” and called for local councils in Hungary to show solidarity by flying the Székler flag from town halls. The Hungarian government then raised the Székler flag above Parliament, further enraging Bucharest..."

Seth Dixon's insight:

Flags are important symbols of cultural identity and displaying them can be a strong political statement.  For Hungarians, displaying symbols of a "Greater Hungary" shows some desire for irredentism--to redeem Hungarians of the 'wrong' side of the border.  For those Hungarians in Romania this is an act of defiance that show that they want greater autonomy. 


For sports fans, ESPN did a "30 for 30" documentary on the early 90's Yugoslavian basketball team that was a major talent (1990 World Champions) but was torn apart as devolutionary forces fractured the countries and the once-teammates were estranged after what some perceived as disrespectful acts to the Croatian national flag.  Vlade Divac (a Serbian) was pitted against some of his best friends from Croatia as the civil war was playing itself out on the court as well.  This is a great way to get a sports fan to learn about ethnic conflict and about the importance of cultural symbols ("Once Brothers"--$1.99, free for Amazon Prime users).   

Tagspolitical, conflict, devolution, autonomyEurope, culture.

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Conor McCloskey's comment, April 30, 2013 10:26 AM
The past is the past. Or is it? The past seems to mean more to the people of Hungary and Romania these days. The Treaty of Trianon of 1920 sectioned the region of Transylvania from Romania to Hungary. For the ethnic Hungarians living in Transylvania, this posed quite the issue. For many people around the world, the homeland does not always match up with geopolitical boundaries of the country that they live in. While this identity crisis causes conflict for many groups of people all over the world, in Hungary the fight to regain greater-Hungary continues today.
This article also poses interesting questions of voting and citizenship. The Hungarian government granted citizenship beyond its borders, and jurisdiction, to ethnic Hungarians in Romania. What does this say about those Hungarians in Romania? Does it bring Hungary any closer to regaining the borders of the once Greater Hungary? Regardless of the questions of citizenship, such public and federal efforts to expand their borders and regain their ethnic population and homeland is doing more then turning heads. Look to this region for future conflict because the failure of geopolitical nations to represent ethnic homelands rarely ends peacefully.
John Peterson's comment, April 30, 2013 10:37 AM
This article helps to illustrate tensions that can be caused by seemingly simple acts within a society that is home to two conflicting groups. While flags do not have any actual influence or power in society, they are a source of emotion, and pride in ones nation and heritage. Because of the emotion that is tied with flags, it can be a very tense situation when the use of these flags is banned, or if these flags are taken down or destroyed. It is amazing how something so simple as a flag can bring about so much anger, and be the source of such bad blood and violence between different nations or ethnic groups. In the example given, there has been conflict for years, which was recently fueled even more over the use of a flag. While the act of displaying a flag is simply a display of loyalty, the actions of the Romanian government against this practice shows how although it is not a violent act, it can lead to very hostile actions and interactions.
Zakary Pereira's comment, April 30, 2013 4:12 PM
This article got me thinking. The tensions between Hungary and Romania seem trivial to me. The Romanians are the right ones in my opinion and the act of displaying the Székler flag about the Hungarian Parliament was plainly a theoretical middle finger to Romania. The more than a million Hungarians living in present day Romania relates to our unit on culture and nations/states. There is a Hungarian nation of people in Romania that the Hungarian government has now granted rights to, again purposely antagonizing Romania, and Romania is rightfully concerned of their dual-loyalty. Overall, the situation is taken way out of proportion by Hungary and what former piece of an empire wants that flag flown in their country. In Ireland do you see the Union Jack… that’d be a no.
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Northern Ireland flag riots 'threatening jobs'

Northern Ireland flag riots 'threatening jobs' | Geography Education | Scoop.it
The riots linked to flag protests in Northern Ireland are causing "significant damage" to the economy, the secretary of state warns.
Seth Dixon's insight:

Flags are tangible symbols of communal identity and political power.  If the meaning behind these identities are unresolved, the symbols of these identities in public spaces becomes all the more there is contentious.  Currently, the Union Jack is a lightning rod for controversy in Northern Ireland and the riots stemming from this are harming the local economy. 


Tags: Ireland, political, conflict, devolution, autonomy, economic, Europe, unit 4 political.

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Elizabeth Bitgood's curator insight, March 3, 2014 11:39 AM

This article shows that no matter how small the world is becoming nationalism is still present and will cause issues between different factions and supporters of different national identities.  The issue over what flag will be flown in a country can spark outrage and anger not by people against the flag but the people for it as they feel it should be flown all the time as opposed to a limited amount of days in the year.

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The Italians who want to be Austrian

The Italians who want to be Austrian | Geography Education | Scoop.it
It is Italy's richest province, and has been part of the country for almost 100 years - but some in South Tyrol just do not feel fully Italian.
Seth Dixon's insight:

While the idea of everyone of the same nationality belonging to the same country might be considered an ideal situation, the world's ethnic geography is too jumbled to create perfect nation-states.  South Tyrol is a part of Italy that is one of those places with mixed a ethnic, linguistic and political heritage.  By different criteria, many of the residents could be considered German, Austrian or Italian or a combination of the them.  Since the Euro Zone fiscal crisis, the push for political autonomy in South Tyrol has intensified, in part because this region has avoided the crisis and is economically fairing better than the rest of Italy.  


Questions to Ponder: How do political borders reveal and conceal "the truth" about places on either side of the line?  What elements are a part of a regions heritage?  Can regions have multiple, overlapping heritages?  How does devolution impact the whole country?  


Tags: Italy, states, autonomy, ethnic, language, devolution.

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Scarpaci Human Geography's curator insight, December 14, 2012 11:13 AM

Questions to Ponder: How to political borders reveal and conceal "the truth" about places on either side of the line?  What elements are a part of a regions heritage?  Can regions have multiple, overlapping heritages?  How does devolution impact the whole country?

Allison Anthony's curator insight, December 14, 2012 1:46 PM

Take note Kate and Johnny!!

Kaitlin Young's curator insight, November 30, 2014 8:14 PM

Being an eighth Tyrolean, I remember my great uncles and other family members complaining about this at every family reunion. Newer generations in my family would refer to themselves as Italian, and the arguments would ensue. That being said, it is no surprise that those living in what was once Tyrol have faced conflict. Historically, peoples with languages, cultural heritages, or religions that differ from the rest of a country usually hold grievances. During the time of Mussolini, Italians were encouraged to move to the northern reaches and Italian was forcibly taught in the school systems. Italy's past of forcing the Austrian speaking Tyroleans to assimilate into a more Italian culture may remain, but fortunately, they have worked to preserve their culture. The bilingual nature of this region allows for the people to thrive in business and tourism. Unfortunately, this autonomous state is facing dark times as Italy's financial crisis puts pressure on South Tyrol by increasing taxes. Many see this as a continuation of Italian oppression on a not so Italian demographic. 

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Will Puerto Rico Be America’s 51st State?

Will Puerto Rico Be America’s 51st State? | Geography Education | Scoop.it
Millions of American citizens on the island have spoken. Now, Washington must act.


After the Nov. 6th referendum, the question of Puerto Rico's political status vis-a-vis the United States for the future is actually murkier than it was before.  The Puerto Rican voters have spoken, but the meanings of the plebiscite results are still being debated. 

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Amanda Morgan's curator insight, September 28, 2014 5:35 PM

The author of this article provided a unique insight about what it meant to be from Puerto Rico when she recalled her memory from her fourth grade class. People clearly recognize themselves as Puerto Rican and not American although the President is considered their head of state.  It is understandable why national identity would be be confusing.

Kristin Mandsager San Bento's curator insight, March 5, 2015 2:20 PM

I found the article very interesting.  It makes sense that the Republican party would not want 4 million Hispanic voters.  It is interesting that the island is "colonial" in nature.  I guess in a way it is being kept like that.  I don't see the US giving it up or "selling" it as the 4th grader suggested because of pure vanity.  The island would have to sink for the US to give it up.  

Mark Hathaway's curator insight, September 24, 2015 6:40 AM

The recent plebiscite on the future of Puerto Ricos political status  was extremely flawed. The current commonwealth option was not listed on the ballot. Many people left that portion of their ballot blank. The 61 percent of people who voted for statehood, is more likely closer to 45 percent. It is sad that a clear and decisive  election could not have been held. Puerto Rico deserves to have its problematic political status resolved. While I personally  favor statehood, Congress has made the right decision when it comes to ignoring these results.  

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A Barrier to Peace

A Barrier to Peace | Geography Education | Scoop.it

"Why would they want to pull down these walls?” asks William Boyd mildly as he offers me a cup of tea in his home at Cluan Place, a predominantly Loyalist area of east Belfast.


These walls, orginally installed in the late 60s to protect Belfast residents during "the Troubles."  Today, some argue that these walls are now barriers to the peace process as they continue defacto segregation.  Walls, as barriers to diffusion, stifle communication, cooperation and interaction.  Still, these walls are symbols of communal identity and icons in the cultural landscape.  For more academic work on this, see Peter Shirlow's Belfast: Segregation, Violence and the City.

 

Questions to Consider: How would a wall through an already culturally and politically divided city impact both sides of the wall?  Today, are the walls beneficial to peace in Northern Ireland?       


Tags: Ireland, states, borders, political

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Marissa Roy's curator insight, October 30, 2013 12:14 PM

The barrier in Belfast, Ireland is an impressive one. It has been there since the 1960s and having it there has become a security for the residence on both sides. Neither side wants it taken down, however, they have extremely different political/religious views. It seems strange to me that these people would prefer living in prison-like conditions just because that is the way it has been for so long. So long as the physical walls stay up, so will the cultural walls between these people.

Nathan Chasse's curator insight, March 17, 2014 8:13 AM

This article is about large walls which were constructed fifty years ago to separate a part Belfast, Northern Ireland to protect citizens from conflicts between loyalists and separatists. Q wall separating people could temporarily protect people from violent conflict, but it would undoubtedly ensure continued conflict and intensify the feeling of "Us vs. Them." Though the people interviewed from both sides of the wall in the article like the wall since it gives them a feeling of security, the wall is likely damaging to a peace process in Northern Ireland.

Gene Gagne's curator insight, November 18, 2015 2:56 PM

We have seen walls in our class on pictures and videos but it usually is dividing tourists from natives, rich and the poor, even racial reasons. One of the comments made in this article was it felt safe with a prison atmosphere which statistics show that a lot of inmates who are released end up as repeated offenders because they had no other life except prison life. They are accustomed to it and know the rules and know how to live. I guess that is how these people feel. Culturally though they will not expand and experience only what their culture has to offer what will happen when they get old and the birthrate does not keep up with the death rate? I couldn't live like this.

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Puerto Rico endorses US statehood

Puerto Rico endorses US statehood | Geography Education | Scoop.it
SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico — Puerto Ricans faced a fundamental question on Election Day: Should they change their ties with the United States?


Lost in the election day enthusiasm throught much of the United Statees was coverage about Puerto Rico.  A 'non-binding referendum' was on the ballot to reconsider the 114-relationship with the United States as a territory.  54% voted for a change, while 46% favored the status quo.  The second question was asking how to change that relationship: 61% voted for statehood, 33% endorsed a sovereign free association, and 5% for independence.  President Obama has gone on record stating that he'll support the will of a clear majority.  We'll see what this means, but we are a lot closer to 51 states than we've ever been before.  For more information, see Matt Rosenberg's assessment.


Tags: USA, political, states, autonomy

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Jess Deady's curator insight, April 28, 2014 1:45 PM

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Benjamin Jackson's curator insight, December 13, 2015 10:13 AM

if Puerto Ricans do decide to become a full American state then it will be a boon for both groups. the fact that this has happened now reflects a surprising change, but they would make a welcome addition to the us.

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FORMER CATALAN MP: Here's why Catalonia should secede from Spain, and why it won't

FORMER CATALAN MP: Here's why Catalonia should secede from Spain, and why it won't | Geography Education | Scoop.it

"What a non-independent people fear most is the possibility of being swallowed up by the dominant alien culture in their midst, and that's the likely outcome for Catalans under the Spanish rule. Don’t be surprised if they increasingly opt out of Spain and choose outright independence instead...there will never ever be a self-defeating Spanish government willing to risk losing Catalonia: 16% of its population, 19% of its G.D.P., 24% of its exports, a net provider of 20 billion euros ($22.3 billion) in siphoned taxes every year."

Seth Dixon's insight:

This op-ed piece is overtly pro-Catalonian independence so there is no attempt to be fair and balanced, but that bias is a strength because it so clearly frames the political and cultural issues from a Catalonian Nationalist perspective. This article is a great way to show students how some members of a particular group that is seeking greater autonomy or independence perceives the relationship between their region and the larger state.


Questions to Ponder: How might a representative of the Spanish government frame the debate differently? What are key reasons that the author does not envision full Catalonian independence soon? How would you frame the issues? What other example do you think is analogous to this political situation?

Tags: op-ed, Catalonia, Spain, political, devolution, autonomyEurope, culture.

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Bridgitte's curator insight, March 2, 9:24 AM

This op-ed piece is overtly pro-Catalonian independence so there is no attempt to be fair and balanced, but that bias is a strength because it so clearly frames the political and cultural issues from a Catalonian Nationalist perspective. This article is a great way to show students how some members of a particular group that is seeking greater autonomy or independence perceives the relationship between their region and the larger state.


Questions to Ponder: How might a representative of the Spanish government frame the debate differently? What are key reasons that the author does not envision full Catalonian independence soon? How would you frame the issues? What other example do you think is analogous to this political situation?

Tags: op-ed, Catalonia, Spain, political, devolution, autonomy, Europe, culture.

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Catalonia independence: Parliament votes to start secession from Spain

Catalonia independence: Parliament votes to start secession from Spain | Geography Education | Scoop.it
The Spanish region of Catalonia adopts a resolution supporting independence from Spain, but Spain's PM says his government will challenge it.


Tags: Catalonia, Spain, political, devolution, autonomyEurope, culture.

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Kevin Nguyen's curator insight, December 7, 2015 11:45 AM

I've never heard of this country until recently when I came across a video on youtube about it. In my opinion, Catalonia has the right to secede from Spain because there are many ethnic group wanting their own dependence around the world and it doesn't feel like it's a part of another country. However, it all comes down to politics and Spain wants as much territory as it can get. Plus Catalonia is doing pretty for itself and the Spanish definitely want a part of that.

Benjamin Jackson's curator insight, December 13, 2015 1:25 PM

the Catalonia independence movement is just a small part of a large number of regions which were once autonomous and wish to be again. with so many of these areas in Europe the independence movements are finding hard to get support from other nations.

Raymond Dolloff's curator insight, December 15, 2015 1:29 AM

Challenging succession is a difficult task. First of all, there has to be a vote by the people and there has to be a strong driving force to get a positive outcome on the vote. The Prime Minister of Spain claims he will try to block it by filing a suit with the Constitutional Court. Succession of a country faces many hurdles especially if it does not have a strong vote to succeed and the opposition vote is strong.

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OPINION: The cure for Puerto Rico is independence

OPINION: The cure for Puerto Rico is independence | Geography Education | Scoop.it
The financially troubled island now says it is unable to pay an estimated $72 billion debt, casting a pall on bond markets and pension funds. On the surface, Puerto Rico’s debt crisis is one of run-away spending on public welfare, with a diminishing small tax and economic base to support it. However, the island’s troubles are also tied to its commonwealth status: Puerto Rico is part of the United States but it lacks the local autonomy afforded to other U.S. states and electoral representation in Congress.

It is finally time for Puerto Rico to break free. Independence would allow Puerto Ricans to directly address their economic woes, but, perhaps more important, it will grant the island’s 3.5 million inhabitants the right to determine their own destiny. On July 9, the U.S. Court of Appeals in Boston ruled that Puerto Rico couldn’t restructure its own debt. Puerto Rico’s status as a U.S. territory bars the island from requesting bailout funds from other development banks. Independence, nationalists argue, would allow the commonwealth to make these and other autonomous choices.
Seth Dixon's insight:

Nothing like an op-ed to get people thinking...this touches on economic, political and population geography. 


Tags: Puerto Rico, political, migration, autonomyeconomic.

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Dee Dee Deeken's curator insight, August 2, 2015 1:26 PM

Nothing like an op-ed to get people thinking...this touches on economic, political and population geography. 


Tags: Puerto Rico, political, migration, autonomy,  economic.

Jose Soto's curator insight, August 5, 2015 9:37 PM

Nothing like an op-ed to get people thinking...this touches on economic, political and population geography. 

 

Tags: Puerto Rico, political, migration, autonomy,  economic.

Mark Hathaway's curator insight, September 24, 2015 6:28 AM

There is no question that Puerto Rico is suffering from  its current status as a commonwealth of the United States. However, the answer to their issues is not independence, its statehood. An independent Puerto Rico would continue to face the same economic issues. It would be just one of many depressed small Caribbean nations. It is well past the time, that Puerto Rico be admitted as a state into our union. The most recent vote on the issue, favored the statehood political status. However, the vast amounts of controversy surrounding the election process have made those results rather worthless. Puerto Rico has been floundering in political no mans land since the United States acquired the island from Spain at the end of the Spanish American War.  The current political status is untenable. Hopefully a fair election can be held and the status of Puerto Rico will finally be settled.

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Scotland's Decision

Scotland's Decision | Geography Education | Scoop.it
From Catalonia to Kurdistan, nationalist and separatist movements in Europe and beyond are watching the Scottish independence referendum closely.
Seth Dixon's insight:

This issue reverberates on many different scales.  As the video embedded in this article demonstrates,  Scotland's choice on September 18th would obviously impact the local region as some seek to use Scottish history as a rationale to reshape the current political and cultural identity of the region.  Some of the votes are already in and Scottish independence would not only have the potential to reshape the UK and EU, but it could also add some fervor to the various other separatist movements around the world, such as Catalonia.  


Tags: devolutionhistorical, supranationalism, political, states, sovereignty, autonomy, Europe, unit 4 political.

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Nancy Watson's curator insight, September 14, 2014 11:36 AM

Scotland, the site of nationalist and separatist movements, is one to watch as they vote. What the ramifications would be are yet to be seen

Chris Costa's curator insight, October 5, 2015 3:01 PM

It is interesting to see how globalization does as much to bring us together as it does to rip us apart. The exchange of ideas, goods, and people has hugely impacted the lives of everyday citizens and the nations that they call home, where divisions among people are felt more keenly as the competition in today's global economy grows stronger. Catalonia, the region that has done much to keep the economy of the Spanish nation afloat, and Catalans are eager to shed the "dead weight" they feel they are carrying; the Basque region has long since demanded its independence, and we have already seen the fracturing of the Balkans. In some instances, perhaps separation is for the best. However, I feel like these movements are the result of knee-jerk reactions to the current economic climate and deep, underlying hatreds that have no place in the current world order. Spain has been one nation for hundreds of years, as has the United Kingdom; to suddenly dissolve these unions in the name of century-long feuds seems not only unnecessary, but almost child-like. There is enough hatred in the world- why let us continue to divide amongst ourselves when history has shown that people in these regions can coexist and can consistently pull through these difficult periods. It is one thing to be proud of being Scottish- it is another to ignore the economic and political realities of what Scottish independence would bring for its people for the sake of this nationalist sentiment. I, for one, was relieved to see Scotland vote to remain a member of the UK. Separatist movements across the continent have been quieted, if only for another few years.

Raymond Dolloff's curator insight, December 15, 2015 1:16 AM

The Scottish vote for independence would have broken up a modern United Kingdom. Many Scottish folks feel that it is time to separate from a parent country where there are many other countries that are involved. Becoming independent is not an easy task. There has to be a vote and a strong position for those separatists to succeed in getting a victorious vote.

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Venice wants out of Italy

Venice wants out of Italy | Geography Education | Scoop.it
VENICE, Italy – Venice, renowned for incomparable Gothic architecture and placid canals plied by gondolas that make it one of the most recognizable cities in the world, may have had enough of Italy.
Seth Dixon's insight:

Some of the wealthiest regions of the poorest countries of the European Union are seeking for greater regional autonomy and even independence.  As one resident said, "I have always felt as a Venetian first, and Italian second."  The scale at which people construct their primary identities and political loyalties play a key role to the political geographic concept of devolution, where power shifts from a central authority to more local control.  So independence moves are to start negotiating.  As another Venetian said, "I think we'll end up with a little more autonomy and a little more pride in our city" and not actual independence.


Tags: Italypoliticaleconomic, states, autonomy, devolution.

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David Lizotte's curator insight, February 20, 2015 12:48 PM

The Italian North, historically speaking was graced by the Industrial Revolution whereas the agricultural south never truly was. This is one of the reasons as to why Southern Italy has no money, there is simply no Industry. 

Throughout the 1800's Northern Italian States developed industry, going along with the rest of Western Europe. Being closer to the west certainly influenced this need of an industrial sector. Northern Italian provinces were also at once ruled by Napoleon, "The Kingdom of Italy" (1805-1814) thus having a share of western influence. In any case the Industrial Revolution reached Northern Italy. The production of war based machinery was developing throughout Europe, in case of another "Napoleon" like person. This created jobs, thus a fluctuation of money. This never reached the agrarian south. 

Southern Italy is not the only area to go untouched by Industry. Eastern Europe was very slow at developing and producing and it can be argued it still is. For example, look at Greece. It has very little industry and a horrid economy to complement it. Due to no industry/no money the North has to take care of the South with its taxes. Citizens of Northern Italy are getting tired of it and want to succeed. 

I understand why they want to succeed. But then what would happen with Southern Italy. It would just remain a tourist attraction with farmers scattered throughout the country side. It sounds nice but it probably isn't These people already have a low standard of living, Northern Italy succeeding would determine an even lower standard. 

A positive aspect of this article is that no one wants to bear arms over the issue. Its a peaceful movement, although there was a homemade tank made from a bulldozer, but still, its peaceful.  Could violence occur if not grow? Perhaps... if the economic loss is great enough to promote such an outcome. 

This article truly does pinpoint the fact that Italy is very much a divided country. The North claims they are a different people, a different identity. Perhaps its not just economic reasons but cultural aspects as well that generate the want of succession. In either case, both the economic and cultural reasonings are products of the Industrial Revolution gracing the North. 

Joshua Mason's curator insight, March 16, 2015 3:03 PM

Nobody wants to feel like they're not in control and Venice is no different. Large money making cities or regions often try to break off from their states or countries. New York City has talked about becoming its own state (And with a population of 8.406 million as of 2013, it's bigger than some states) before defending that its taxes aren't going to it and that Albany isn't meeting its demands. Venice is in the same boat (dare I say gondola) and simply wants to have a little more autonomy like way back. Secession is a bold move to make and judging from the article, it seems as if it's not wanted by all and maybe just a little more interest in the region will be taken by the government. Sometimes making bold claims is all that's needed to get what you want.

Kristin Mandsager San Bento's curator insight, April 6, 2015 9:58 PM

Venice is to Italy as Italy is to Venice.  I imagine it will stay this way forever.  I think if there are wealthy people who want to see the split happen then it will.  But just because a group want a movement started, it won't happen.  I imagine Venice will see a few more concessions in the future if this problem persists.  

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Take This State And Shove It: The New Secession Movement

Take This State And Shove It: The New Secession Movement | Geography Education | Scoop.it
Residents of rural areas feel shut out of their states' politics, so why not create their own?
Seth Dixon's insight:

One county commission discribed these political movements thus: "It's grounded in the legitimate feeling that if you're marginalized by geography, it's easy to feel neglected by the central government."  The political division between urban and rural citizens can lead to pockets of the population feeling as though the state government ignores your and the surrounding communities.  It took the Civil War to separate West Virginia from Virginia, and while many may want to be in a different state, it's not happening simply because there is grassroots support for greater local autonomy.  Hypothetically, let's say that many new states are generated; what consequences might come of this?  Would it leading to further gerrymandering?      


Tags: political, conflict, devolution, autonomy, bordersgerrymandering.

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Heather Ramsey's curator insight, November 18, 2013 2:25 PM

On election day this year, several Colorado counties voted on whether to secede from Colorado and create a new state. Many of the counties voted in favor of the idea. (See the link below for more info on the Colorado secession movement.) This is not the first time groups of Americans have considered (and voted on) breaking away from their state. When political issues come up and decisions are made by the government and/or the people, some get their way and others do not. The article explains one way that some people have decided to take action when they do not feel their interests are being served.

 

BONUS for my students:

1) What steps do you think should be taken before people consider seceding from their state?  

2) What are some possible pros and cons of breaking away from a state to create a new one?  

3) Hypothetically speaking, what would it take for you to want to create a new state?

 

Here is the link to the article about Colorado's secession movement:

http://abcnews.go.com/Politics/wireStory/colorado-rural-voters-approve-secession-idea-20850962

Victoria McNamara's curator insight, December 11, 2013 11:43 PM

Some states urban and rural areas have had differences and beliefs when it comes to politics. For example Virginia and West Virginia have had their differences and this is what has caused them to seperate. If every state did this there would be too much craziness because im sure each state would have a different belief and nobody would agree on anything. 

Nathan Chasse's curator insight, February 1, 2014 7:57 PM

This article is about segments of California, Colorado, and Oregon wanting to separate and become their own states so their voices can be heard in Congress.

 

If, hypothetically, new states were formed out of existing ones this kind of gerrymandering would likely only lead to even more new states. It might even lead to a secession arms race to gain more Democrat and Republican seats in the Senate. With so many new states, it could lead to increased division, with no Democrat or Republican wanting to set foot in an opposition’s state. In the long run though, political affiliations do eventually change and we would have a precedent analogous to attempting to take the ball home when the other kids don't want to play the same game as you, which is not how a democratic republic works.

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Exclaves and Sovereignty

Exclaves and Sovereignty | Geography Education | Scoop.it

"Prime Minister David Cameron is 'seriously concerned' about the escalation of tensions on the border between Spain and the British territory of Gibraltar."

Seth Dixon's insight:

This video and article briefly show the reasons behind the current tension between Spain, NATO allies and fellow EU members.  The deeper, underlying issues though are all fundamentally rooted in the complex local political geography.  As an exclave of the UK on a peninsula connected to the Spanish mainland that controls access to the Mediterranean Sea, there is naturally going to be friction over this unusual political configuration. Spain, in what the chief Minister of Gibraltar calls "sabre-rattling," is flexing its muscles and considering using their border and airspace as a political leverage.  Spain is upset that Gibraltar has created an artificial reef in waters that their fishermen use.  Spanish fisherman have recently condemned the escalating political rhetoic.


Questions to Ponder: Why are both parties politically and culturally invested in this piece of territory?  What challenges are there for a small exclave when neighbors aren't friendly?  How does Spanish and British suprantional connections impact this issue?


Tags: borders, political, territoriality, sovereignty, Spain, Europe, autonomy.

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megan b clement's curator insight, October 13, 2013 12:37 AM

"The video explains about Spain and Gibraltar and how they have feuded back and forth with one another and their borders for some time now. Gibraltar has made a articfical reef to mess with the Spainish fisherman and SPain has made travel to Gibraltar nearly impossible and dreadfully long for tourists. Spain understands how essential tourism is to their economy. Until they are able to come to an agreement thei matter is only going to intenisfy more and worsen."

Elizabeth Bitgood's curator insight, March 3, 2014 10:55 AM

I was unaware that the UK owned this part of Gibraltar.  It seems like a throwback to the UK’s naval policies of the past that they would still to control this point of entry into the Mediterranean.  It will be interesting to see how this will be resolved.  As it is a dispute between two countries that are both part of the EU. 

Aidan Lowery's curator insight, March 21, 11:59 AM
unit 4
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Catalonia asks Spain for 9 Billion Euros

Catalonia asks Spain for 9 Billion Euros | Geography Education | Scoop.it
The independence-minded region of Catalonia asks the Spanish central government for an extra 9bn euros (£7.7bn) in bailout money.
Seth Dixon's insight:

Catalonia appears to want the benefits of independence AND of being politically connected to Spain.


Tags: Spain, Europe, devolution, autonomy.

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Ryan Amado's curator insight, December 11, 2013 3:21 AM

This is sad news for an area that is trying to persuede the world it deserves to be independent. Unfortunately,  they still have to rely on the Spanish government to help their economy, something that does not help their case.  While other countries do take money from other powers, one that is trying to establish itself might want to have a more optimistic outlook on it's economy before it tries to go off on it's own.

Elizabeth Bitgood's curator insight, March 3, 2014 11:28 AM

This area seems to want it both ways.  To be independent from Spain, but also dependent economically on Spain.  This region should sort out its priorities and decided if independents is worth it and if so then they should not be asking Spain for help.  It’s like a twenty-something person that moves out of their parents’ house and then comes back again and again with their hand out.  Catalonia seems to be facing this same issue.

Hector Alonzo's curator insight, October 30, 2014 9:00 PM

Catalonia, an independent region wants Spain to give them 9 billion euros in order to help them stay out of debt, but also want to keep themselves independent of Spain. The most interesting aspect of this article is how the region of Catalonia wants to be independent, but still seek help from the very place it wants to be independent from.

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As Kurds Fight for Freedom in Syria, Fears Rise in Turkey

As Kurds Fight for Freedom in Syria, Fears Rise in Turkey of Following Suit
Seth Dixon's insight:

Since the fall of the Ottoman Empire, the Kurds have been caught in other people's plans for what the states of the Middle East should look like and are the largest 'stateless nation' in the world.  Divided between Iraq, Iran, Syria and Turkey, the Kurds have not been able to politically mobilize support for Kurdistan as they have been violently oppressed in these countries.  The Kurds in Iraq have been able to gain political autonomy with the fall of Saddam Hussein's regime, and the Syrian Kurds are hoping to do the same if and when the Assad regime crumbles at the end of the civil war.  This make Turkey concerned that the Kurds in the southeastern part of Turkey will make renewed efforts to push for sovereignty. 


UPDATE: This PBS feature explains the historic timeline of the important political events for the Kurds in Iraq.This article from the Economist focuses on the key reason that outside forces won't leave the Kurds alone: oil.


Tags: Syria, ethnic, conflict, political, Turkey, culture, devolution.

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Joshua Choiniere's comment, December 18, 2012 11:23 AM
This is really interesting professor
Eliana Oliveira Burian's curator insight, December 28, 2012 6:34 AM

How to handle it?

 

Martin Kemp's curator insight, December 17, 2015 2:10 PM

what i find interesting about this is that both syria and turkey are trying to remove the kurds from their countries. neither country will allow more kurds to immigrate into their land, but both are encouraging them to leave and go fight in the other country. the kurds seem to not care which country they live in as long as they are all together but no country wants them.

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Hong Kong and China: Growing apart?

Hong Kong and China: Growing apart? | Geography Education | Scoop.it
The BBC's John Simpson reports from Hong Kong, where the former colony's increasing independent-mindedness is worrying Beijing.
Seth Dixon's insight:

When the rule of Hong Kong transferred from the UK to China in 1997, the Chinese government was careful to ease the fears of those in Hong Kong that they would not have their political and economic systems turned upside down.  "One country, two systems" was the famous slogan to sum up the policy that some felt would simply delay the inevitable.  Today, many of the youth in Hong Kong are demonstrating against what they feel are pressures to do away with their unique status and are bringing back the old colonial flag.  This is not asking for a return to British rule, but a symbolic reference to their distinct history from the rest of mainland China.  Today only 16.6% of Hong Kong residents identify themselves as Chinese, which is the lowest it's ever been since 1997.

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Steven Sutantro's curator insight, December 20, 2012 9:06 PM

Interesting facts...that's the interdependence concept of Geography..

Bill Chen's comment, December 22, 2012 9:20 AM
http://www.myairmaxpascher.com/
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More than a club: FC Barcelona and Catalonia's road to independence

"As Catalonia goes to the polls, Sid Lowe looks at one of the region's great cultural sporting icons and its role in Catalan identity..."


Seth Dixon's insight:

Sports and cultural identity of a region are often intertwined. As Catalonia is poised to break from Spain, this video shows how the local teams (especially FC Barcelona) are at the center of political identity and part of the very fabric of the political movement that is pushing for independence.  For more, see this recent Geography in the News article.


Tags: sport, Spain, Europe, devolution, autonomy.

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Jessica Martel's curator insight, April 28, 2013 4:37 PM

its understood that catalonie has a completely different country from the rest of spain. In fact many people associate catalonia as a seperate country. It would be cool to see spain let them have thier independence. However that would mean spain would lose land and money. For the most part, atleast the catalonia poeple are expressing thier feelings and wishes in a humane manor, rather than with vilolence

Hector Alonzo's curator insight, October 30, 2014 9:10 PM

As a soccer fan and a fan of FC Barcelona, Whenever I watch FC Barcelona play against Real Madrid, the commentators always describe both clubs as a symbol of independence and the symbol of political identity. Both teams are embodiments of the struggle that Spain and Catalonia are going through.

Bob Beaven's curator insight, February 19, 2015 3:01 PM

As a soccer fan (although of CR7 in La Liga), I know that Barca has the saying "Mes que un club" which means more than a club in the Catalan language.  FCB's colors, in fact, represent the colors of Barcelona, which is the major force in the region of Catalonia.  The club allows the ethnic people to express pride in their heritage, and allowed them in the Franco era, a freedom of expression that was not otherwise granted to them.  However, as the video discusses, FCB cannot be the main force for the region's independence, that will have to come from the people pressing the people to the Spanish Government.  However, FCB represents for the Catalans a pride in having their own unique culture, and being a unique people different than ethnic Spaniards.  Barca being more than a club is far different from the BPL team of Manchester United or the La Liga club of Real Madrid.  While these clubs may represent regions within the countries, they do not represent regions who are different than the status quo.  Followers of Man U are not very different than the Southern English (they are not their own people).  I think it is highly interesting how sports teams can mean so much to certain regions.

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Freedom of the Press

Freedom of the Press | Geography Education | Scoop.it

"Freedom House has been at the forefront in monitoring threats to media independence since 1980. A free press plays a key role in sustaining and monitoring a healthy democracy, as well as in contributing to greater accountability, good government, and economic development. Most importantly, restrictions on media are often an early indicator that governments intend to assault other democratic institutions." 


This interactive map shows some intriguing spatial patterns about the freedom of press internationally.  What other patterns to you see in matching up with the most free presses in the world (in green)?  How does a free (or not free press) influence the cultural and political values of a country? 

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