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Article: The uncertain state of islands: National identity and the discourse of islands in nineteenth-century Britain and Greece

TitleThe uncertain state of islands: National identity and the discourse of islands in nineteenth-century Britain and Greece
Authors
Issue Date2003
PublisherAcademic Press. The Journal's web site is located at http://www.elsevier.com/locate/jhg
Citation
Journal Of Historical Geography, 2003, v. 29 n. 4, p. 499-515 How to Cite?
AbstractThis paper explores some of the ways in which the island was mapped into the British and Greek national imaginaries in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. From at least the seventeenth century the island, like the body, served as a model for the organisation of knowledge. The island functioned as an ideal body politic, in which political and cultural boundaries were congruent and readily defensible from invasion. In politically and geographically fragmented states the island became an important topos for resolving the problematic relations between nation and state, and between local knowledge and national unity. During the nineteenth century, national cultures were increasingly construed as autonomous, self-sustaining island spaces set apart from other communities beyond. From the second half of the century attention was also paid to those authentic 'islands' located within the nation-state. In this expanded topographical definition, the 'island' came to signify an identifiably different, contained and stable habitat. A relationship was sustained between these distinct spaces within the nation-state and the island as it was represented in biogeographical and evolutionary writings as a site for observing preserved life forms and diversification. Regional studies, for example, celebrated the survival of an indigenous national culture in geographically confined pockets. Emerging disciplines, such as folklore, sought to protect these spaces from the onslaught of a cosmopolitan modernity that threatened to overwhelm them. The island in this sense was a space in which 'native' customs might be preserved and, at the same time, a space in which potentially destructive, atavistic forces might be controlled and ultimately domesticated. It is here that the island emerges as an ambivalent, problematic place: at once a refuge and a prison, a place of innocent childhood adventure and of beastly aggression. Focusing on Britain and Greece as comparative case studies, the paper explores how this concern for internal 'islands' fed into and was reciprocally influenced by colonial encounters with 'exotic' island cultures. © 2003 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
Persistent Identifierhttp://hdl.handle.net/10722/179495
ISSN
2015 Impact Factor: 0.701
2015 SCImago Journal Rankings: 0.471
ISI Accession Number ID
References

 

DC FieldValueLanguage
dc.contributor.authorPeckham, RSen_US
dc.date.accessioned2012-12-19T09:57:59Z-
dc.date.available2012-12-19T09:57:59Z-
dc.date.issued2003en_US
dc.identifier.citationJournal Of Historical Geography, 2003, v. 29 n. 4, p. 499-515en_US
dc.identifier.issn0305-7488en_US
dc.identifier.urihttp://hdl.handle.net/10722/179495-
dc.description.abstractThis paper explores some of the ways in which the island was mapped into the British and Greek national imaginaries in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. From at least the seventeenth century the island, like the body, served as a model for the organisation of knowledge. The island functioned as an ideal body politic, in which political and cultural boundaries were congruent and readily defensible from invasion. In politically and geographically fragmented states the island became an important topos for resolving the problematic relations between nation and state, and between local knowledge and national unity. During the nineteenth century, national cultures were increasingly construed as autonomous, self-sustaining island spaces set apart from other communities beyond. From the second half of the century attention was also paid to those authentic 'islands' located within the nation-state. In this expanded topographical definition, the 'island' came to signify an identifiably different, contained and stable habitat. A relationship was sustained between these distinct spaces within the nation-state and the island as it was represented in biogeographical and evolutionary writings as a site for observing preserved life forms and diversification. Regional studies, for example, celebrated the survival of an indigenous national culture in geographically confined pockets. Emerging disciplines, such as folklore, sought to protect these spaces from the onslaught of a cosmopolitan modernity that threatened to overwhelm them. The island in this sense was a space in which 'native' customs might be preserved and, at the same time, a space in which potentially destructive, atavistic forces might be controlled and ultimately domesticated. It is here that the island emerges as an ambivalent, problematic place: at once a refuge and a prison, a place of innocent childhood adventure and of beastly aggression. Focusing on Britain and Greece as comparative case studies, the paper explores how this concern for internal 'islands' fed into and was reciprocally influenced by colonial encounters with 'exotic' island cultures. © 2003 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.en_US
dc.languageengen_US
dc.publisherAcademic Press. The Journal's web site is located at http://www.elsevier.com/locate/jhgen_US
dc.relation.ispartofJournal of Historical Geographyen_US
dc.titleThe uncertain state of islands: National identity and the discourse of islands in nineteenth-century Britain and Greeceen_US
dc.typeArticleen_US
dc.identifier.emailPeckham, RS: rpeckham@hkucc.hku.hken_US
dc.identifier.authorityPeckham, RS=rp01193en_US
dc.description.naturelink_to_subscribed_fulltexten_US
dc.identifier.doi10.1006/jhge.2002.0407en_US
dc.identifier.scopuseid_2-s2.0-0346758167en_US
dc.relation.referenceshttp://www.scopus.com/mlt/select.url?eid=2-s2.0-0346758167&selection=ref&src=s&origin=recordpageen_US
dc.identifier.volume29en_US
dc.identifier.issue4en_US
dc.identifier.spage499en_US
dc.identifier.epage515en_US
dc.identifier.isiWOS:000187396500002-
dc.publisher.placeUnited Kingdomen_US
dc.identifier.scopusauthoridPeckham, RS=7004281688en_US

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