this part of (human) geography is actually always changing. of course, all of these categories and regions are total constructions - social, political, and ultimately ideological. there is definitely a lot of pseudo-science, quasi-empiricism, and ultimately "pulling [stuff] out of ass[es]" going on in these convenient labels (which is all they are; they only have a use-value in a pragmatic, shared-assumptive mode).
i read a review in a journal a few years back, i think it was by some stanford historian or political scientist, that basically makes the case that even the continents themselves are empty, fairly arbitrary constructions. our notions of 'continents' as human regions, of course, doesn't correspond to any tectonic or geological reality: where does europe end and asia (minor) begin? sure isn't along the same line as the plate boundaries. i think he's called this little niche area of study and consideration 'meta-geography'. it's quite a postmodern bent, really: deconstructing and unpacking previously-held assumptions, in order to basically just expose them as arbitrary social significations (ultimately all predicated in fancy sorts of language games, but that's an extra turn of the screw that isn't really relevant here). it's the mapping equivalent of historiography - the history of history. it's good to have this self-awareness, because at the end of the day it shows us that all these divisions are meaningless, and even at best are only a little bit ideologically slanted. we're all just, like, one people, maaan, and there's only one earth - one gaia.
not to mention that these rigidly drawn lines and models/schemas only serve to calcify and retard human progress and collaboration. what is the point in breaking up the world into little segments, when we have all been atomized already under the indiscriminate fluid exchange of commerce? the global market doesn't care which direction you pray in, or what your culinary culture is like, compared to your neighbours.
Last edited by Uzique The Lesser (2013-03-10 05:19:01)