Resource Database: Geography, Earth and Environmental Sciences

Title Core and Periphery - Re-thinking a Concept
Originator Mark Banks
Department Department of Geography, Lancaster University, LA1 4YB
Tel. +44 (0)1524 594828
Fax. +44 (0)1524 847099
E-mail M.Banks@lancaster.ac.uk

One of the functions of a tutorial is to get the students to re-think their ideas and to challenge orthodoxies. One way to achieve this is to take an idea introduced in a lecture course and to discuss it in ways which show that it is not as simple as it may seem.

The idea used in this tutorial is that of the core-and-periphery model of development, which is usually introduced as a one-way exploitative relationship with the core exploiting the periphery. In this tutorial this is challenged by getting the students to consider the illegal global trades in drugs and pirate copies of branded Western goods. In both of these cases the periphery can be thought of as exploiting aspects of the cores (e.g. its desire for drugs and its desire for branded goods at bargain prices). In both cases the gains are very unevenly distributed in the periphery with some key people or groups profiting massively from the trade they control and others gaining much less or even being exploited by other groups on the periphery.

The idea is a simple one; it involves the students in topics which are not in the standard textbooks but which are important both as parts of the black economy and as aspects of 'youth' culture (drugs and fake goods), which most students will have views on, if not direct experience of. The aim is to embed a discussion of key topics in economic and cultural geography in the experiences of students or their friends. This will emphasise the pervasiveness of geographical ideas for an understanding of economies and societies.

A set of readings is handed out to the students as preparatory reading before the tutorial.

Keywords:

Challenging orthodoxies
Discussion
Understanding


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