Recent Focused Series »

Indo-European Origins
Siberia
Northern California
The Caucasus
Imaginary Geography
Home » Archive by Category

Articles in Europe

Misleading Statistics: The Case of Luxembourg, by Will Rayner

By Martin W. Lewis | September 16, 2014 |

(Note: This post is by Will Rayner, a former student of mine who graduated from Stanford University last year.)
Statistics can be misleading, particularly in regard to international country-by-country comparisons. We all know that. And yet governments, institutions, and corporations rely on these statistics every day.
GDP per capita—just to pick an example—is often used as shorthand for a country’s level of …

Everyone Has a Role to Play: Farce and Politics in France

By Claire Negiar | April 23, 2014 | 7 Comments

If you want to have a good laugh this week, I would suggest diving into the bountiful sea of articles on French politicians’ recent missteps. I will start my overview of recent political stumbling with the right-wing National Front before turning to France’s other parties.
The top of the hit parade features Marine Le Pen.  For all the Front National’s attempts …

Cyprus: Between East and West?

By Claire Negiar | April 10, 2014 | 13 Comments

(Note: This is the second of two articles by Stanford student Claire Negiar that together contrast the situations of two geopolitically divided islands: Saint Martin and Cyprus)
Cyprus and Saint Martin – two very different islands sharing one key property: both are split by their “mother countries,” Greece and Turkey in the case of Cyprus, France and the Netherlands in the …

Geographical Patterns in the German Federal Election of 2013

By Martin W. Lewis | September 28, 2013 |

The recent German federal election has been widely heralded as a major victory for Chancellor Angela Merkel and her Christian Democratic Union party (along with its regional sister party, the Christian Social Union in Bavaria). Taking almost 42 percent of the vote and nearly half of the seats in the Bundestag, Merkel’s center-right party had its best showing in almost …

Explaining the Rapid Rise of the Xenophobic Right in Contemporary Europe

By James Mayfield | July 22, 2013 | 251 Comments
Copyright James Mayfield

The last three decades have witnessed a remarkable rise in xenophobic, deeply conservative, and even extreme right-wing parties across much of Europe. Whereas thirty years ago most xenophobic parties failed to even pass the 5% minimum voter threshold that is typically required to enter government, they now constitute as much as ~28% of the parliament in countries like Austria, and arguably have reached the ~70% level in Hungary. Hoping to understand these surprising changes in the European political climate, this post will briefly analyze the characteristics of the xenophobic right as of 2013, underscore the diversity of xenophobic parties, and try to explain some of the patterns encountered when the far-right takes hold, as well as their exceptions.

Changing Geographical Patterns in British Elections?

By Martin W. Lewis | April 25, 2013 | 13 Comments

An interesting article in this week’s Economist examines Britain’s north/south electoral divide. The south, baring London, habitually votes for the Conservative Party, whereas the north generally opts for Labour. The article, quoting John Hobson, traces the division back to the 1800s, when a “southern ‘Consumers England’ of leisurely suburbs” was opposed to “a northern ‘Producers England’ of mills and mines.” …

Mapping the 2013 Swiss Referendum: Executive Compensation

By Martin W. Lewis | March 23, 2013 | 11 Comments

In the Swiss referendum of 2013, voters overwhelming approved a measure to limit executive compensation. Despite the fact that opponents outspent proponents 40 fold, and despite warning that the move would “undermine the country’s investor-friendly image,” 68 percent of voters approved the initiative.
As specified by the Wikipedia, the measure will:

require an annual vote by shareholders for the president and other …

Geographical Patterns in the 2013 Swiss Election, Part I

By Martin W. Lewis | March 22, 2013 |

A three-part referendum held in Switzerland in early March received minimal press attention. Some media reports noted the passage of a measure to restrict executive compensation, but the family policy initiative was virtually ignored, as was the one on land-use planning. Today’s post briefly considers the family policy issue, whereas tomorrow’s will look at the executive compensation measure.
The Swiss election …

Geographical Patterns in the Czech Presidential Election

By Martin W. Lewis | February 13, 2013 | 9 Comments

The president of the Czech Republic occupies a largely ceremonial position, with little real power. The country’s recent presidential election, however, was a hotly contested and closely watched contest, in part because it was the first time that the office was filled through a direct election. Also of significance was the issue of historical memory, focusing on Czech relations with …

Military Conscription and Austrian Electoral Geography

By Martin W. Lewis | February 11, 2013 | 6 Comments

Note to Readers: The invaluable website Electoral Geography 2.0: Mapped Politics  has posted a number of interesting electoral maps over the past several months while GeoCurrents focused on linguistic issues. For the next week or two, we will examine several of these maps in detail, beginning with the portrayal of a seemingly minor but nonetheless intriguing election, the Austrian Conscription …

Local Elections Conclude in Bosnia and Herzegonvina

By Nicholas Baldo | October 10, 2012 | 2 Comments

Preliminary results are in for Bosnia and Herzegovina’s October 7th local elections. The elections went smoothly and without irregularities, but many fear that the results may fan the flames of ethno-nationalism and separatism in the fragile country’s political discourse.

Tower Proposal Draws Ire in Venice

By Nicholas Baldo | August 9, 2012 | 2 Comments

The picturesque Venetian skyline has remained virtually unchanged since 1514, when St. Mark’s Campanile—the city’s largest structure—reached its current shape. Although past its prime in the early 16th Century, Venice remained a center of trade and manufacturing, even ruling directly over Crete, Cyprus and much of the Dalmatian coast.

Transnistria Open to Freight Traffic

By Martin W. Lewis | May 15, 2012 | 2 Comments

In early May, the European Union welcomed the resumption of railroad freight traffic through the break-away state of Transnistria*, sandwiched between Ukraine and Moldova. Catherine Ashton, EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, described the event as “a crucial step forward for restoring confidence between the sides to the Transnistrian issue.”

Spanish-Argentinean Fishing Disputes

By Martin W. Lewis | May 10, 2012 |

Tensions between Spain and Argentina have recently mounted. Last fall, Spain began to complain that its fishing fleets operating around the Falkland/Malvinas islands were being harassed by the Argentine Navy, despite having licenses from the Falkland Islands government—a government that Argentina does not recognize. More recently, Argentina nationalized the oil company YPF, a subsidiary of the Spanish company Repsol, angering both Spanish investors and European Union officials and provoking reprisals.

Bog Wars in Ireland

By Martin W. Lewis | April 12, 2012 |

An editorial in today’s New York Times, “Drop That Bog,” urges gardeners not to use peat moss, as doing entail the destruction of bogs and releases stored carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. The editorial also notes that peat “has been used for centuries as a fuel in Scotland, Britain, and Ireland,” a geographically odd comment that implies that Scotland is not part of Britain.

?php get_sidebar(); ?>