The invented periphery: constructing Europe in debates about "Anglo hegemony" in geography
23 Dec 2009
Centre for Social, Spatial & Economic Justice, Community, Culture & Global Studies, University of British Columbia, 3333 University Way, Kelowna, BC, V1V 1V7, Canada
Abstract. For a few years, a debate has been ongoing about a hegemony (in academic geography) of the English language, of "Anglo-American" journals and of the approaches developed in the North America and the UK. In many of the contributions to the debate, other languages and those who speak them appear as excluded, oppressed and forced to submit to Anglo-hegemony. But what kind of hegemony is this? The situation appears as a postcolonial one, and therefore it should be analysed using postcolonial theory. From this perspective, there is on the one hand an orientalist discourse, in which the coloniser's knowledge is the only valid one. These discourses can also be applied by elites in the (former) colonies. On the other hand, debates about the oppression of the "own" identity through the (former) colonisers are often means of an emerging postcolonial elite trying to legitimize their position. In order to analyse the debate about Anglo-hegemony, I draw on these concepts of hegemony. The debate is, so the argument of the paper, connected with a European elite formation – an elite that considers itself as transnational, multilingual, hybrid and anti-hegemonic.