The Historical Construction of the Mediterranean

Publication: Research - peer-reviewBook chapter

Ideas about what the Mediterranean is, was or is imagined to be abound, and the debate over definition continues to intrigue scholars more than ever, especially as the region’s heightened newsworthiness in recent years has forced the protagonists of world affairs to turn their attention to it. Historically the status of the Mediterranean has changed over and over again, in terms of unity and cohesion, or lack thereof, but also of the region’s shifting place in the global hierarchy of power. The post-Cold War era rekindled or exposed a host of historically-engrained problems and developments that brought the Mediterranean back into the limelight, as Europe first and then other world players recognized that the region’s concerns were also their own. Looking at the contemporary Mediterranean the authors see in it a scale-model of world affairs, a concentration of intense political situations and problems indigenous to the area or mirroring global politics. While no longer the centre of the world radiating power outwards that it once was, the changes and challenges of the contemporary Mediterranean are global in nature as well as in scope.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationRoutledge Handbook of Mediterranean Politics
EditorsRichard Gillespie, Frédéric Volpi
Number of pages12
Place of PublicationOxford
Publication date21 Aug 2017
ISBN (print)9781138903982
ISBN (electronic)9781315696577
StatePublished - 21 Aug 2017

Bibliographical note

Michelle Pace is Professor with special responsibilities in EU-MENA Politics at Roskilde University in Denmark and Honorary Professor in Politics and International Studies at the University of Birmingham in the UK. She is principal investigator on a Ministry of Foreign Affairs (Denmark) funded project entitled “Change in Exile: Re-invigorating principles of reform and social stability amongst young Syrian refugees in Denmark and Lebanon” as well as a Carlsberg Foundation funded project on “The Struggle of State-Building in Palestine: Exploring "State-less"-Society Relations in the West Bank”. She has published widely on Mediterranean Politics and Society.


  • politics of identity, Mediterranean, history, discourse, symbolic geography, anthropology, Europe, modernization, colonialism, power, Fernand Braudel

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