Guntram Herb and David H. Kaplan (Eds.): Nested identities: nationalism, territory, and scale. Lanham/Boulder/New York/Oxford 1999. 343 S.This collection of papers has recently been added to the already long bookshelf on geographical aspects of national-ism, identities and territory. The authors, mostly from the Anglo-American world, try to contribute a new perspective to these hackneyed issues of political geography. They are against ideas that place territory as an outside factor to national identity; on the contrary, they assume that territory cannot be separated from that identity. Behind the authors' viewpoints stands another assumption - that a third factor has to be added to national identities and territory. They call this "scale" and claim that it can be divided to three categories: macro-, meso- and micro-, and they use these categories as a frame to organize the papers in the collection. Although it seems at first glance that these categories clear ideas, and are nested within one another, they are fluid terms, with unclear borders and definitions.
Alongside the theoretical academic discussions, which serve to create the conceptual frames of such collections, the most interesting chapters are those which present cases that have rarely been discussed in recent geographical literature, such as Estonia and Transylvania. But an overall review of the collection shows that the authors have over-emphasized many of the better-known ideas on their principal issues - territory and national identity - from the field of political geography. It might have been expected that they would look more closely at cultural matters, given the current stage of geographical knowledge for cultural matters are no less important in group identity than political issues.
Cultural themes of daily life, such as food, music or dress, are very important in each ethnic identity, and inseparable from national and international struggles over spaces. These cultural charters are a part of one of the most slippery geographical terms - "Home" - which may be the most important term of all in individual and collective identity. By treating such matters, the authors would have had the opportunity to connect political and cultural geographic points of view thus enriching our knowledge of the issues they present in this collection.
Autor: Yoram Bar-Gal