Fall, Juliet J. and Egerer, Harald
Constructing the Carpathians: the Carpathian Convention and the search for a spatial ideal.
Revue de géographie alpine, 92(2) pp. 98–106.
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This paper explores some of the assumptions behind the purposefully-vague spatial definition of the area covered by the Carpathian Convention, pointing to the problematic aspects of defining such an entity. The instrinsically political nature of defining boundaries in space is stressed, including the difficulties of seeking a biophysical justification for a political project. The process leading to the birth of the Carpathian Convention is therefore analysed as it simultaneously constructs the idea of 'the Carpathians' as an entity in itself. This is linked to the potent and seductive metaphor of 'boundless nature' severed by political boundaries, promoted in the case of the Carpathians by a conglomerate of natural scientists, international organisations, non-governmental organisations and donor agencies. Rather than their being a split between 'nature' on one hand and 'politics' on the other, with negotiation between a biophysical ideal and a pragmatic political solution, it is argued that the very thing that is taken to be the object of environmental studies and politics - namely 'nature' - is an effect of power. The discussion is illustrated by an analysis of three maps produced during the negotiation phase.
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