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GEOGRAPHY EDUCATION

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autonomy

Why Somaliland is east Africa’s strongest democracy

“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.

Source: www.economist.com

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When Rich Places Want to Secede

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.

Source: www.theatlantic.com

Catalan independence crisis escalates

“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.”

Source: www.bbc.com

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

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

Catalonia

Spain crisis: ‘stop this radicalism and disobedience,’ PM tells Catalan leaders

“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.”

Source: www.theguardian.com

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.

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

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.”

Source: www.youtube.com

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. 

 

Statehood, Politics, and Scale in D.C.

“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.”

Source: www.slate.com

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.

D.C. Votes Overwhelmingly To Become 51st State

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.

Source: www.npr.org

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.

No America, You can’t claim Monica Puig’s Puerto Rico gold medal win as your own

“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.”

Source: medium.com

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.  Also, this protest of Iran’s gendered spaces is another poignant article.

 

Tags: Puerto Rico, political, autonomysport, popular culture.

 

London Should Secede From the United Kingdom

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.

Source: foreignpolicy.com

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.      

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