Identity and territoriality: the ambiguity of a geographical concept
Territorial identity, which is initially an individual feeling restricted to a small area, is instrumentalised politically, via a change of scale, in order to construct regional or national identities. The current debate on heritage is an attempt to provide a cultural justification to these constructs in order to perpetuate them. Democratic justifications may also be put forward, mainly as a bulwark against a universalisation of ideological conflicts. However, Europe’s nation-states do not seem to be able to play this role.
keywords: HERITAGE, IDENTITY, NATIONSTATE, TERRITORY
Senses of belonging ans identity territories (3 tabl.)
Drawing on interviews and data collected in a quantitative survey on identity (Life History survey, INSEE, 2003), this paper addresses the process of developing a sense of territorial belonging in populations that are increasingly mobile on an international scale. The whole of an individual’s geographical trajectory and the meaning bestowed on places, past or present, experienced, visited or even imagined, are key elements for understanding identification and the geographical scale on which it takes place in territory. They form a pool of geographical identity on which the individual can draw.
keywords: GEOGRAPHICAL SCALE, IDENTITY, LIFE TRAJECTORY, SENSE OF BELONGING, TERRITORY
Territory, belonging and identification. Some reflexions from the Tunisian case (1 tabl.)
The case of Tunisia shows that identity and territory have a similar process and mutually reinforce each other through appropriation and individualisation via an internalised double sense of belonging. That sense of belonging is multiscalar and identity has a variable geometry according to circumstance. Although there are several scales of ethnocultural identity reference, two predominate: the local and the national. Territory forges, expresses and strengthens identity through the spatial materiality that ensures its continuation and reproduction. The life space and the identity reference space vary according to the environment, personal relationships and the size of the city.
keywords: IDENTITY, SCALES, SENSE OF BELONGING, SPACE, TERRITORY, TUNISIA
Territorialisation of ethnicity, ethnicisation of territory. The case of the Soviet and Russian political system (1 fig.)
Despite the cultural, social and economic diversity of the population groups making up the Russian empire, ethnic criteria generally did not play any role in the administrative division of the territory. After October 1917, the Bolsheviks chose the concept of a multi-ethnic state over a nation-state. A multi-ethnic state or, more specifically, a federation based on ethnic criteria was derived from the principle of national self-determination. As a result of this political choice, ethnicity has become a central concept of the system of social representation as well as a key instrument in population management.
keywords: ETHNICITY, FEDERALISM, RUSSIA, TERRITORY, USSR
The territories of identity and collective memory in diaspora (2 photos)
A diaspora population seeks to appropriate places for itself in the territories of migration. It attempts to refer to a collective memory of its birthplace or lost homeland and to events that played a founding role. It uses an “iconography” as the medium of that memory and identity and a marker of its territoriality. This article draws on the example of Greek refugees in Asia Minor.
keywords: COLLECTIVE MEMORY, DIASPORA, PLACES, TERRITORIALITY, TERRITORY
Michel BUSSI. Is territorial identity essential to democracy?
Historically, democracy was brought into being by the recognition of identical men in the same political territory. Gradually, citizenship became associated with individual independence from spatial determinism, but also with more complex territorial claims.
keywords: DEMOCRACY, IDENTITY, POLITICAL SPACE
Talking a stand: reflections on the resources and limits of “identity” in geography
This essay strives to analyse the various meanings of “identity” in geography. It focuses more particularly on several generations of geographical and anthropological research that tried to combine these meanings, especially the logical identity of geographical entities with social, collective and personal identities. This paper proposes a critique of the epistemological approach, which puts the long-term links between geographical entities and social identities at the core of the discipline, and suggests that the production of geographical entities can be analysed as one mode among many to represent and renew the spatiality of personal and collective identities.
keywords: IDENTITY, SINGULARITY, TEMPORALITY, TERRITORIALITY
Food vulnerability of Sahelian people: concepts, scales and lessons of a ground-bases research program (3 encadrés, 2 fig., 2 tabl.)
The geographical study of food vulnerability in the Sahel region of West Africa almost always begins with a descriptive analysis of the environment. In light of the variability and uncertainty of risk situations, greater account is gradually being taken of their temporal and spatial dimensions on various scales. However, research conducted in Burkina Faso shows that food risk levels assessed through environmental factors do not reflect the actual vulnerability of households. This research supports the argument that the definition and collection of relevant indicators require a thorough knowledge of social control and local management of food insecurity risk.
keywords: BURKINA FASO, INDICATORS, RISK, SEASONAL FOOD SHORTAGE, VULNERABILITY
Do nomadic societies lose their special features on settling? The Kel Ewey counter-example (Aïr-Niger) (1 fig., 1 photo)
It is commonly thought that the settlement process results in the cultural destruction and swift disappearance of nomadic societies. Using the counter-example of the Kel Ewey Tuareg, this paper uses a specific conceptual methodology to qualify this assumption by showing that socio-spatial features of nomad ideology persist after the adoption of a sedentary lifestyle.
keywords: ANALOGICAL MECHANISM, NOMADISM, SETTLEMENT, TAUTOLOGY, TUAREG
In this issue of l’Espace géographique, you will find critical reviews of the following books
SMITH N. (2003). American Empire: Roosevelt’s Geographer and the Prelude to Globalisation. Berkeley: University of California Press, California Studies in Critical Human Geography, n° 9, 558 p. (Hugh Clout, University of London)
BOLLMANN J., KOCH W.G. (2001). Lexikon der kartographie und geomatik. Heidelberg-Berlin: Spektrum Akademischer Verlag, 2 vol., 453 et 455 p. (Hervé Théry, CNRS-Credal et Universidade de São Paulo)
LE FUR A., (2000). Pratiques de la cartographie. Paris: Armand Colin, coll. «Synthèse», série géographie, 96 p. (Hervé Théry, CNRS-Credal et Universidade de São Paulo)
Tables and indexes for 2006 (76 Ko)
L’espace géographique 3/06L’espace géographique 1/07
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Last modified: March 29, 2007