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The Internal Other: Exploring the Dialectical Relationship Between Regional Exclusion and the Construction of National Identity

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Societies have historically sought to spatialize difference—to other—even within the boundaries of supposedly unified polities. Drawing on previous scholarship on the spatialization of difference in published case studies, we examine the dialectical relationship between the formation and institutionalization of regions, on the one hand, and the nation-building process more broadly on the Other. Certain regions become repositories for undesirable national traits as part of a dialectical process of nation and region building. The processes of othering are rarely as linear and tidy as proposed in some current formulations of the theory; rather, othering involves a host of concomitant processes that work together to produce economically and culturally differentiated regions. The processes by which particular places or regions become “othered” are not only interesting in the abstract but also carry with them enduring material consequences. To demonstrate this effect, we visit two historical case studies that examine the formation of internal Others in nineteenth-century Europe (Italy and Germany).

Keywords: Alemania; Germany; Italia; Italy; nacionalismo; nationalism; othering; otredad; regionalism; regionalismo

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: 1: Department of Geography,University of North Carolina at Greensboro, 2: Department of Social Sciences,Northeastern State University,

Publication date: 2012-07-01

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