社会思想としての地域問題 Regional problems as Expressions of Social Thought
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Here, the phrase 'regional problem' refers to the situation in which a region or part of the territory of a nation-state constitutes social, political and/or economic problems for the society of the nationstate. This definition is necessary, firstly because in certain geographical schools, the Western concept of 'region' was understood as an operational concept, and was an exclusive object of geography (the regionalizing myth in geography referred to by David Livingstone); and secondly, the Japanese concept <i>chiiki</i> is still understood by some Japanese geographers to denote any demarcated space regardless of scale. A regional problem in this sense becomes explicit only when the region in question is incorporated into a nation-state, but the origin or cause of the regional problem exists from before the incorporation takes place. For instance, the Southern problem in Italy became a regional problem for Italy immediately after the unification of modern Italy in the 1860s, but the origin or remoter cause of the problem lay in the complete difference of the historical background of Southern Italy from those of Northern and Central Italy, and in the process of Italian unification (<i>risorgimento</i>), which was realized in the form of a military conquest of the South by the North. When the region in question was no longer part of the national territory, it ceased to cause regional problems. As another instance, for a long time Ireland constituted a regional problem of the British Empire (the Irish Question), but when the Free State of Ireland was formed in 1923, it ceased to be a regional problem; Northern Ireland, however, has to this day constituted a regional problem for the United Kingdom, as a sequela, so to speak, of the Irish Question.<br> From the comparative viewpoint, it is possible to point out certain criteria for a typology of regional problems in various states of the modern and contemporary world.<br> 1) Substance of the problem. Regional problems have multifarious facets-economic disparity; cultural differences, especially the imposition of an official language on people accustomed to a different dialect; political discrimination against certain regions by the central goverment. In this case, it is necessary to understand that at times, the substance of regional problems appears to differ according to whether it is observed from the viewpoint of elite culture or that of folk culture. If we applied the distinction made by Redfield between "great tradition" and "little tradition, " we find that, generally, religion-which by its very nature is considered to be universal-officially does not constitute a regional problem, but at the level of folk culture (or little tradition), it actually constituted and still constitutes the cause or motif of regional problems, as was seen in Ireland and is occurring in many 1) Period immediately after the unification of Italy (1860s). In this period, the problem in question was first created by the politicians of Northern Italy, who felt overwhelmed by the difficulty of the social and economic integration of the country, and by the disillusioned peasantry of the South, who expressed their dissatisfaction through rioting.<br> 2) Proposals regarding Southern problems by a limited number of Northern intellectuals (1870s).<br> 3) Proposals regarding problems by Southern intellectuals in the form of <i>meridionalismo</i> (from the 1880s up to around 1910). Their ideological position varied somewhat, from anarchism and socialism to romantic idealism, but they commonly recognized that the South had been exploited after unification, and for this reason insisted on regional measures to compensate for this exploitation.<br> 4) World War I and the period of the Fascist Government.
- Geographical review of Japan, Series B.
Geographical review of Japan, Series B. 69(3), 145-164, 1996-03
The Association of Japanese Geographers