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The Myth of Continents: A Critique of Metageography
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The Myth of Continents: A Critique of Metageography

3.82 of 5 stars 3.82  ·  rating details  ·  76 ratings  ·  8 reviews
In this thoughtful and engaging critique, geographer Martin W. Lewis and historian Kären Wigen reexamine the basic geographical divisions we take for granted, and challenge the unconscious spatial frameworks that govern the way we perceive the world. Arguing that notions of East vs. West, First World vs. Third World, and even the sevenfold continental system are simplistic ...more
Paperback, 383 pages
Published August 11th 1997 by University of California Press
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"OMG, Continents are fake!" i thought to myself, elven pages in.

This may seem a bit silly, but the idea of continents as artificial constructions that we delineate just struck me as such a revolutionary rebellion against 20 years of American education that it gave me pause. Wigen and Lewis examine the idea of continents as a construction, but dont' really have a very powerful suggestion for the ways we can replace our outdated continental systems. That said, its an intriguing read for anyone wan
Collin Case
This was some good shit. So, the way to my academic-heart is to name-drop Edward Said a few times. Lewis and Wigen definitely deliver in that category.

One of my roommates made fun of me reading a book called "The Myth of Continents." His challenge that continents exist as some sort of ahistorical, permanent entity really empowers Lewis and Wigen's underlying argument that when we believe the organization of our world to be anything but a cultural construct, we're gonna be in for a bad time.

Subtitled “A Critique of Metageography”, Lewis and Wigen offer a critique of the way we divide the world – East versus West, First World versus Third World, the seven (or eight depending on who you ask) continents. Going beyond the argument that holding the “West” above the “East” or assigning countries into rank is racist and paternalistic, Lewis and Wigen argue that topographically the continents of the world do not make sense and that perpetuating such a myth allows the citizens of the world ...more
Jeremy Hurdis
This book raises an important concern about how we draw regions for the purposes of area studies. Addressing concerns over strategies behind regionalisms and area studies, from traditions of orientalism to geo-political interests. However, I don't get much out of this book that doesn't already exist elsewhere. Even worse, the attempt to redraw regions toward the end of the book do not serve to create a better, or even reasonable, redistribution of boundaries, but serve better to show just how ab ...more
Dec 21, 2014 Steve marked it as to-read
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A fantastic book for changing the way you think about geography. It may not set up an alternative "metageography" as well as it deconstructs the existing options, but it does a good job of clearing out eurocentric/reductionist perspectives and surveying the history of geographic thought. The world regionalization set out in the end, while not ultimate, is fairly compelling, and definitely superior to any other available (culture-based) system that I know of.
Perhaps a little longer than it needs to be, but 'Myth' does remind me to treat 'continents' as the cultural constructs that they are. No, Europe and Asia are NOT continents. 'Asia' should be banned entirely.
Marts  (Thinker)
Jul 05, 2011 Marts (Thinker) marked it as sounds-interesting
...examining the metageography concept, from continental systems to world regions and encompassing ideologies and social constructs related to such...
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