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Why Somaliland is east Africa’s strongest democracy

Why Somaliland is east Africa’s strongest democracy | Geography Education | Scoop.it

"Though unrecognized by the international community, the country benefits from a strong social contract between government and citizens."

 

Drop a pin on a map of eastern Africa and chances are it will not land on a healthy democracy. Somalia and South Sudan are failed states. Sudan is a dictatorship, as are the police states of Eritrea, Rwanda and Ethiopia. In this context tiny Somaliland stands out. Somaliland was a British protectorate, before it merged with Italian Somalia in 1960 to form a unified Somalia. It broke away in 1991, and now has a strong sense of national identity. It was one of the few entities carved up by European colonists that actually made some sense. Somaliland is more socially homogeneous than Somalia or indeed most other African states (and greater homogeneity tends to mean higher levels of trust between citizens). For fear of encouraging other separatist movements in the region, the international community, following the African Union, has never obliged [to recognize Somaliland]. Nation-building on a shoestring helped keep Somaliland’s politicians relatively accountable, and helped to keep the delicate balance between clans.

 

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

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Zavier Lineberger's curator insight, March 30, 2018 9:02 PM
(Africa) Somaliland, an universally unrecognized state in Somalia, recently held it's sixth peaceful election. Originally a British colony that then merged with Italian Somalia, Somaliland declared independence in 1991, leaving the rest of the war-torn and lawless country. Despite their constitution and pursuit of democracy, no other country will acknowledge their sovereignty to prevent other African separatist movements. Usually democratic reform in Africa comes from foreign aid but without external help citizens of Somaliland created a working representative system. Yet, like most of the continent, corruption and delayed elections poses a problem for the autonomous state, and it is hard to tell the future of the only democracy in east Africa.
Kelsey McIntosh's curator insight, March 31, 2018 11:14 PM
Although it is not recognized as its own country Somaliland is Somalia's strongest state. Surrounded by dictatorships, Somaliland built a strong state by creating a strong contract between the government the people. 
Douglas Vance's curator insight, April 21, 2018 6:48 PM
Although plagued by many of the problems facing African democracies; corruption, abuse of power and delayed elections, Somaliland remains one of the bright spots of African democratic movements. The natural democratic development of the autonomous state within Somalia has been a prime example of how a relatively stable democracy can develop when people can trust the government and are left to their own means to form a free and open government.
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Catalan independence crisis escalates

Catalan independence crisis escalates | Geography Education | Scoop.it

"The Catalan regional parliament has voted to declare independence from Spain, while the Spanish parliament has approved direct rule over the region. Catalan MPs backed the motion 70-10 in a ballot boycotted by the opposition. Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy had told senators direct rule was needed to return 'law, democracy and stability' to Catalonia. The crisis began when Catalans backed independence in a disputed vote earlier this month. The Catalan government said that of the 43% of potential voters who took part in the referendum, 90% were in favour of independence. But Spain's Constitutional Court had ruled the vote illegal."

Seth Dixon's insight:

Stay tuned, sometimes the status quo changes in unexpected bursts. 

 

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

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Brexit, UK, Great Britain, and England

"An update of an earlier sketch we did before Brexit, the situation has become a little more unclear since."

Seth Dixon's insight:

The difference between the UK, Great Britain, and England can be confusing (the short version can be shown on a map, but the long version is much more complicated than this).   This is an amusing look at how these complexities lead to real-world complications besides using the right toponym. 

 

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Taylor Doonan's curator insight, February 16, 2018 12:14 AM
This video quickly defines the different terminologies that can be used to define England, Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland, and Ireland. The different terms include England, for England, Great Britain, when talking about England, Scotland and Wales, and the United Kingdom when talking about England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. The video also talks about  how in different sporting events this group of countries competes differently, sometimes they are Great Britain, sometimes the United Kingdom, sometimes the countries compete individually sometimes Northern Ireland competes with Ireland. This video described all these differences very well. 
othni lindor's curator insight, October 20, 2018 8:04 AM
This video helped explain Brexit and the countries that will be affected by it. It also helped explain the difference between all the countries in the United Kingdom including: England, Wales, Scotland, and Ireland. This is an important video because of Brexit. Many people are confused about what Brexit actually is and what effect it will have on other countries in the U.K. This video clears it up and makes it easier to understand.
Corey Rogers's curator insight, December 15, 2018 5:53 AM
Britain's exit from the the EU has made trying to understand it very unclear and mostly confusing. Since Ireland is apart of these islands and seeks the joining of the EU but since being inside the UK gives them a hard chance of joining with UK;s push of leaving. 
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D.C. Votes Overwhelmingly To Become 51st State

D.C. Votes Overwhelmingly To Become 51st State | Geography Education | Scoop.it
District of Columbia voters passed the referendum Tuesday with nearly 80 percent in favor. Congress, which will ultimately decide the fate of the federal district, is not expected to approve it.

 

Voters in the District of Columbia passed a measure on Tuesday in favor of petitioning Congress to become a state in the union.

79 percent of voters cast votes in favor of the ballot measure, which splits the district into a residential state with a small federal district in the middle of it for government buildings and monuments, as we have reported.

The newly approved measure had four parts:

  1. agree that the District should be admitted to the Union as the State of New Columbia
  2. approve of a Constitution of the State of New Columbia to be adopted by the Council
  3. approve the State of New Columbia's boundaries
  4. agree that the State of New Columbia shall guarantee an elected representative form of government.
Seth Dixon's insight:

Questions to Ponder: Why do the residents of the District of Columbia want to change the legal status of the District to a state?  Why might some states and politicians NOT want to see a 51st state?  What is needed in the United States to admit a new state (Puerto Rico is still a possibility to become the 51st state)?  

 

Tags: political, sovereignty, autonomy, Washington DC.

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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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Kelsey McIntosh's curator insight, January 19, 2018 12:40 AM

In this article, Parag Khanna argues exactly what the title suggests, "London should secede from the United Kingdom". In light of the UK's decision to leave the European Union, Khanna discusses that "Londoners... voted by a wide majority to 'remain' in the EU" and suggests that many Londoners have lost their sense of British Pride after the secession. Though it is mentioned that the city "can't and won't" leave the country, the exit from the EU directly impacts London's economy because "immigrants are essential for the city’s financial and education sectors". Without the immigrants, the city's finances will not only be in jeopardy, but its connection between foreign places will be impacted as well. 

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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 6:35 PM

unit 4

Courtney Barrowman's curator insight, November 19, 2015 6:35 PM

unit 4

Raymond Dolloff's curator insight, December 15, 2015 4:55 AM

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 11:03 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 1:59 PM

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 8:30 PM

APHG-Unit 4

Nicole Kearsch's curator insight, October 14, 2014 6:50 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 2:40 PM

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 15, 2014 12:40 AM

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 6:18 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 7:08 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 3:26 PM
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 3:37 PM
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 9:12 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 4:39 PM

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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When Rich Places Want to Secede

When Rich Places Want to Secede | Geography Education | Scoop.it
At the core of Catalonia’s separatist movement is an argument that a country’s better-off regions shouldn’t have to pay to cover their less productive counterparts.

 

As a relatively rich region with its own independence movement, Catalonia's not alone: A small set of secession movements in historically productive areas, most visibly in Europe, say they’d be better off on their own, and more are pointing to Catalonia's example to regain momentum.

The common wisdom used to be that separatist movements mostly came from weak minorities that rallied around racial or ethnic injustices. “With globalization, that changed significantly,” said Andrés Rodríguez-Pose, a professor of economic geography at the London School of Economics (LSE). “Virtually everywhere in the world,” movements have swapped out the “identity card” for the “economic card.”

Inequality between regions is baked into the entire concept of modern nationhood—if subsidizing poorer parts of a country were motivation enough to split off, every region would have done it by now. Plus, there are economic perks to staying together: Trade is easier across internal borders, and diversified regions diffuse risk.

 

Tags: Cataloniaeconomic, political, devolution, autonomyEurope.

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Kelvis Hernandez's curator insight, September 5, 2018 8:43 PM
Interestingly, this is something going on all over the world in many different countries. As different regions find themselves separated by economic or social inequality they look to secede. These tensions increased in Catalonia, and in the UK, and is also growing as we see different proposals for California and Texas to secede from the United States. 
Matt Danielson's curator insight, October 3, 2018 8:45 PM
Catalonia separatist movement is one of the most prominent separatist movements in the world (along with Northern Ireland long standing issues). The people of Catalonia feel it is not fare for them to hold up the poorer areas of Spain, and wish for more autonomy. These economic reasons have pushed a large independence movement in the region of Catalonia. Against Spanish parliamentary wishes they attempted to hold a vote to secede. This vote was then broken up by force by Spanish police, and many were even arrested. Many fear this use of force could lead to more drastic measures of Catalonia independence. Though this most likely will not happen without heavy outside support.  
othni lindor's curator insight, October 20, 2018 7:33 AM
This article talks about the citizens of Catalonia wanting independence from Spain. Catalonia is one of the wealthiest regions in Spain. They contribute billions of dollars in taxes to Madrid. The citizens of Catalonia find it unfair that they have to help out poorer regions in Spain. However, if Catalonia was granted independence, it could lose up to 20% of their GDP overnight and this could also cause conflict. Many other countries are also following Catalonia's example in their separatist movement towards independence. 
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Spain crisis: 'stop this radicalism and disobedience,' PM tells Catalan leaders

Spain crisis: 'stop this radicalism and disobedience,' PM tells Catalan leaders | Geography Education | Scoop.it

"Spain’s prime minister has called on Catalan separatist leaders to end their 'escalation' as several thousand people took to the streets of Barcelona to protest at Madrid’s attempts to stop a banned referendum on independence. 'Stop this escalation of radicalism and disobedience once and for all.' Catalonia’s president earlier accused the Spanish government of suspending the region’s autonomy after police intensified efforts to stop a vote on independence that has sparked one of the worst political crises since Spain’s return to democracy four decades ago. Spanish Guardia Civil officers raided a dozen Catalan regional government offices and arrested 14 senior officials on Wednesday as part of an operation to stop the referendum from taking place on 1 October."

Seth Dixon's insight:

If you are looking for an example of devolution today, this is it.  This situation has escalated as Spain and Catalonia's governments cannot work together.  The referendum was (according to the Spanish government) outlawed but keep an eye on Catalonia over the next few weeks. 
UPDATE: This video from the Economist is an excellent summary of the situation.
 

 

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

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David Stiger's curator insight, September 30, 2018 9:58 PM
The right to self determination is a contentious issue. Both Spain's national government and Catalonia have different perspectives on the matter. Spain does not want to lose one its regional economic powerhouses. Such a fracturing event would make Spain as a whole look weaker as they'd be losing a valuable economic asset. It would send shock-waves throughout Spain and bolster other independence movements. Spain, not wanting to give up ground, is escalating an issue of perceived unfairness. Through federal taxation, the prosperous Catalonian people are putting into the Spanish government more than they're getting out. There are also strong regional differences. Catalonians speak more Catalan than Spanish. In some ways, this situation resembles Canada's French speaking Quebec. Fearing such a loss, Spain is refusing to allow Catalonia to host a referendum which could determine its independence. Either Spain needs to compromise and incentivize Catalonia to remain part of the union or the Spanish government should allow the referendum giving the people an opportunity to be heard. There is a solid chance the referendum's motion towards independence would not pass. In this case, Catalonians might simply feel better that they had a chance and gave the process a shot. Considering Catalonia feels disgruntled, Spain is not helping its image by cracking down on Catalonian leaders by arresting them and messaging to the people to cease and desist. Such insensitive gestures might only be strengthening the resolve of Catalonian secessionists.  
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Statehood, Politics, and Scale in D.C.

Statehood, Politics, and Scale in D.C. | Geography Education | Scoop.it

"Washington may be the political center of the free world, but its 670,000 residents don’t have a say in the national legislature. What they do have is a nonvoting delegate in the House of Representatives. Eleanor Holmes Norton can introduce legislation and vote in committee, but she can’t vote on the House floor. Over the course of 13 terms, the 'Warrior on the Hill' been fighting to change that."

Seth Dixon's insight:

If you haven't discovered the podcast "Placemakers" you are missing out.  In this episode, they explore the competing political context of Washington D.C. Since this podcast ran, the citizens of the district voted overwhelmingly for statehood, but since the governance of the district operates more at the national scale then on the local level, statehood is not happening anytime soon.  

 

Tagsplace, podcast, political, autonomyscale, Washington DC.

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Kelly Bellar's curator insight, December 13, 2016 9:21 PM

If you haven't discovered the podcast "Placemakers" you are missing out.  In this episode, they explore the competing political context of Washington D.C. Since this podcast ran, the citizens of the district voted overwhelmingly for statehood, but since the governance of the district operates more at the national scale then on the local level, statehood is not happening anytime soon.  

 

Tagsplace, podcast, political, autonomyscale, Washington DC.

Leah Goyer's curator insight, December 14, 2016 6:26 PM
Freedom of speech
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No America, You can’t claim Monica Puig’s Puerto Rico gold medal win as your own

No America, You can’t claim Monica Puig’s Puerto Rico gold medal win as your own | Geography Education | Scoop.it

"Like many boricuas on Saturday, Aug. 13, I celebrated when tennis player Monica Puig won gold in the single women’s division and became both Puerto Rico’s first gold win and a woman’s first gold win for the island. It was an overall historic moment that everyone back in the island basked in with full pride. I’ve noticed a trend on social media regarding the Olympics: multiple posts and tweets about how Puerto Rico shouldn’t compete independently, confused as to why Puerto Rico is competing in the first place or that a victory for Puerto Rico supposedly 'counts' because it’s a U.S. commonwealth."

Seth Dixon's insight:

This is good article showing the distinct nationalism of Puerto Rico and its political ties with the United States.  This is but one of the many example of how you can link students' interest in the Olympics to expand their understanding about the world.  Other include:

 

Tags: sport.

 

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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, 2016 2:24 PM

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 4:45 PM

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 6:25 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 6:29 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 6:26 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 6, 2015 2:37 AM

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 11:28 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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Barbara Goebel's curator insight, September 13, 2014 5:00 PM

Compare and contrast Scotland's bid for independence with events leading to American independence. How does a culture decide to change its political geography?

Chris Costa's curator insight, October 5, 2015 8:01 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 6:16 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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Joshua Mason's curator insight, March 16, 2015 7:03 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 7, 2015 2:58 AM

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.  

Richard Aitchison's curator insight, February 6, 2018 2:53 PM
When you think of Italy a few cities that come to mind are Rome, Florence, Milan, and definitely Venice. So seeing the headline kind of shocked me "Venice wants out of Italy." While the article is from 2014 it is still an interesting read, as other places in the world have had similar problems as we continue to see a major shift in our population to cities and less spread out among the rest rural areas. As the article explains some of the reasons for wanting to leave is the history of the city itself and the pride of the people that live their. As shown in some of the pictures you can see some of the great architecture and as most know it is one of the most recognizable cities in the world. However, what further is explained that many of the people that live there are getting tired of paying millions of dollars in taxes to help support regions in southern Italy that can not support themselves. This money is being sent to the federal government to keep the country's economy stable, but not be given back directly to Venice. This can become a problem all over the world as we see cities starting to support other parts of rural areas and are not giving back to the actual city in which they live in. As cities become overpopulated with high taxes they have become mini-countries themselves. What will be the first city we see break off from a country?  It will be interesting, will it be Venice? Probably not, but who knows.  
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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 7:25 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 12, 2013 4:43 AM

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 2, 2014 12:57 AM

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 5:37 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 3:55 PM

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, 2016 3:59 PM
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 8:21 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 4:28 PM

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 31, 2014 1:00 AM

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.