The Myth of Continents: A Critique of Metageography

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The Myth of Continents: A Critique of Metageography

By Martin W. Lewis and Karen E. Wigen
University of California Press, 1997
344 pp. $55.00

The authors argue that conventional geographical taxonomies that divide the world into continents, nation-states, and even cultural-political spaces like the First World and Third World are overly simple-minded and reinforce a hierarchical, Eurocentric view of the world. While cartographic ethnocentrism is surely an established historical fact, this book tilts at windmills: most sensible people recognize that terms like "Asia," "Africa," or the "South" represent complex, heterogeneous categories, and yet continue to use them because they are a shorthand for what remain meaningful political, economic, and cultural distinctions.

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