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Mezzogiorno without the mafia: Modern-day meridionalisti and the making of a ‘space of backwardness’ in eastern Germany

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Abstract:

Practices of spatial representation can be revealing indicators of particular brands of nationalized discourse. In this article, the prevalent use of a comparison between eastern Germany and the Italian Mezzogiorno by a specific set of German elites is examined. Anxieties about Germany's place in the European and global economies are accompanied by a spatial vocabulary that uploads these anxieties onto the ongoing project of German unification. Eastern Germany, painted as a homogenized ‘space of backwardness,’ is thereby made out as a key factor inhibiting competitiveness and modernization of the economy.

Keywords: Germany; Mezzogiorno; critical geopolitics; nationalism; unification

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1080/14608944.2011.572067

Affiliations: Geography,UNC-Greensboro, Greensboro, USA

Publication date: 2011-06-01

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