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Processes of Spatialization in the Americas

Configurations and Narratives

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Edited By Gabriele Pisarz-Ramirez and Hannes Warnecke-Berger

Where do the Americas begin, and where do they end? What is the relationship between the spatial constructions of «area» and «continent»? How were the Americas imagined by different actors in different historical periods, and how were these imaginations – as continent, nation, region – guided by changing agendas and priorities? This interdisciplinary volume addresses competing and conflicting configurations and narratives of spatialization in the context of globalization processes from the 19th century to the present.

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Regional Homogeneity by Force or by Conviction? Central American Regionalism in a Long-Term Perspective

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Thomas Plötze

Regional Homogeneity by Force or by Conviction? Central American Regionalism in a Long-Term Perspective

Abstract: This chapter reappraises Central American attempts of creating regional homogeneity in the long run since independence. At a first glance, the colonial, cultural heritage as well as the politico-economic developments make Central America appear as a firmly intertwined region. Traditionally, Central America has been characterized as a regional space par excellence. Looking at concrete historical attempts of regionalism, I argue that incidences of increased regional interaction alternated with periods of fragmentation. Seen from this angle, regional homogeneity has never been a result of a historical ever-growing process. Instead, I argue that regional homogeneity has been made and unmade in security narratives. Results from this chapter suggest that regionalism in Central America has always been inward-looking—either through paving the way for the spatialization of individual state spaces or through preserving the status quo in economic and political terms by suppressing intra-societal resistance in each Central American country.

1Introduction

The question of what defines Central America as a space varies according to the observer’s perspective on this region as a space. In geographic-geological terms, Central America describes an Isthmus. It is the only area in the world that lies between two oceans (the Pacific and the Atlantic) and two (sub-) continents (North and South America) (Hall 5). Culturally, Central America can be defined as a culturally homogenous zone where some of the advanced civilizations had...

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