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

This handbook provides an overview of the political processes that shape the Mediterranean region in the contemporary context. It divides up the issues of crucial importance to Mediterranean dynamics into seven analytical sections that guide the reader towards a comprehensive understanding of the main regional interactions and trends.

The book explores five main areas:
•Complex historical formation of the contemporary Mediterranean
•Geopolitical perspectices on the contemporary Mediterranean.
•A state-centric analysis of the international relations of the Mediterranean
•Issues surrounding peace and conflict in the region
•Economics of regional opposition and cooperation in the area
•The role of social actors in the Mediterranean soace
•The role of new media in intercultural dialogue in shaping the Meditteranean socio-cultural landscape


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

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