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North - South? Pitfalls of dividing the world by words

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abstract The phrase 'North - South divide' - as well as variations such as 'North - South gap' or 'North - South cleavage' - has become well established in public discourse and scholarly writing. The phrase, however, is highly problematic, as it is simplistic and as there is a substantial danger of misapprehending it for 'reality' as such. The indiscriminate usage of the phrase 'North - South divide' overlooks the ways in which words create and shape our understanding of the world, on which we, in turn, base our judgements and decisions. The aim of the present paper is to point out specific ways through which this linguistic distinction - as much as any other - shapes our conception of (social) reality. The paper is in two parts. In the first we will initially draw out some pitfalls that inhere in the notion of a 'North - South divide'qua notion, and then point to other pitfalls that relate to the usage of the expression. In the second part two case studies are presented to illustrate our arguments: one of them deals with China, the other with intellectual property rights.
   
type journal paper
   
keywords
   
language English
kind of paper journal article
date of appearance 23-1-2007
journal Third World Quarterly
ISSN 0143-6597
ISSN (online) 1360-2241
volume of journal 28
number of issue 1
page(s) 3-23
review double-blind review
   
citation Eckl, J., & Weber, R. (2007). North - South? Pitfalls of dividing the world by words. Third World Quarterly, 28(1), 3-23.