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ERIC Number: EJ1157989
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2014
Pages: 19
Abstractor: As Provided
ISSN: EISSN-2146-0353
Constructing Threats and a Need for Control: Textbook Descriptions of a Growing, Moving World Population
Mikander, Pia; Holm, Gunilla
Review of International Geographical Education Online, v4 n1 p7-25 Spr 2014
The population of the world is growing and moving. The overwhelming majority of people are on the move inside their own country and mostly towards cities while a minority moves from non-Western areas to the West. In Finnish geography, history and social science school textbooks, this mobility tends to be depicted differently depending on whether the movers represent "us" or "them." Global population growth is most prevalent in the poorest regions of the world, even though Europe is clearly the most densely populated continent. Still, the talk of "overpopulation" does not usually concern Europe or the West. The article uses discourse theory analysis and a postcolonial framework to research the discourse of "us" and "them" with regard to population growth and migration as they are presented in Finnish textbooks. The results show that the hegemony of a superior West is alive and well in the books, which portray the non-Western populations as growing and moving in uncontrolled and threatening ways. Uncontrolled urbanization is seen as dangerous, and the implication is that there are too many people in non-Western areas. Metaphors such as natural disasters or floods are used to describe the moving population, while cities are described as "suffocating."
Review of International Geographical Education Online. Eskisehir Osmangazi University, Meselik Campus, Eskisehir City, 26480, Turkey. Tel: +90-222-239-37-50; Tax: +90-222-229-31-24; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Grade 5
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Finland; Europe
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A