A region, can be defined as a bounded part of earth space. Regions, are segments of the world that have similar characteristics that make it different and unique in some way from other world areas. It is important to know that regions are products of the human mind. The African union, and Eastern Africa the two regions that will be discussed in this essay, do not exist without the agency of humankind.
Some authors, such as R.C Ostergreen and J.G Rice argue, that there are three different kind of regions in the world we live in: Instituted regions, naively perceived regions and denoted regions.
Before defining and classifying the African Union and Eastern Africa it’s important to understand the differences and the most important ideas of the three different kind of regions that R.C Ostergreen and J.G Rice explain and write about on their article ‘‘The Europeans. A Geography of People, Culture, and Environment’’. It is important to explain the main ideas and the differences between the three kind of regions in order to understand why the African Union it’s an instituted region and not a naively perceived region or a denoted region, and why Eastern Africa it’s a denoted region and sometimes also classified as a denoted region but not an instituted region.
The first kind, the instituted regions, also named administrative regions, are the most familiar for the public, these regions can be created by a great diversity of institutions: by the different levels of government: State, Regional or Local, by private organizations, and by religious organizations.
The instituted regions are characterized by their well-defined limits and by their hierarchical organization, that means that all the entities that form the organization, are subordinated to a single other identity.
The second kind, the Naively perceived regions, are the regions that have a popular recognition but not an official sanction. The naively perceived regions are created informally. People that live in its region have a sense of link to the notion of community. (Internally perceived) On the other hand, externally perceived means that people from outside the region recognizes the area as a region.
And the last one, the Denoted regions are those regions that are created and used for academic purposes.
The African Union, one of the regions discussed in this essay, is categorized and defined as an instituted region, the region presents the clear features of an instituted region. The African Union has well-defined limits, it’s a region that consists of 54 countries, and its boundaries and limits are well-defined, see the map of the African Union in our blog. African Union members are neighbor countries that share limits and boundaries.
The second characteristic of the instituted regions that the African Union has is that the region, was created by other institutions, the African Union, was created in 1963 by 32 African States that had achieved independence at that time and agreed to establish the Organization of African Unity (OAU) that later changed its name to African Union. The African Union was created with the vision of establishing a body that could accelerate the process of integration in Africa, support the empowerment of African States in the global economy and address the multifaceted social, economic and political problems facing the continent.
The African Union represents all African countries together, the region is a composite of smaller instituted regions, the nation states. The region has a hierarchical organization, the entities that form the organization, in this case all 54 African Union state members, are subordinated to the African Union. Another characteristic of the instituted regions.
In the African Union there is not a sense of link to the notion of community, the African Union it’s a region that was not created informally, it’s a region that was created by other institutions, in this case, by 32 African States. And in consequence, the African Union, that is formed by 54 state members, is full of diversity: Very different cultures, climates, lots of different languages, hundreds of different ethnic groups etc.…
On the other hand, Eastern Africa, is categorized and defined as a naively perceived region. The region presents the clear features of a naively perceived region. First of all, it has popular recognition, and in contrast with the African Union it’s region presents a sense of link to the notion of community (internally perceived), despite the diversity inside the region. Eastern Africa also has international recognition, so the region it’s also externally perceived. Eastern Africa can also be classified as a denoted region, when used for academic purposes. The limits and borders of the region are not very clear, when we refer to Eastern Africa we refer to the countries that are located on the east coast of Africa, and also we sometimes refer to Eastern Africa as the countries that constituted the Eastern Africa Protectorate of European countries on the 19th century. The limits and boundaries of Eastern Africa have not been officially set and are not clear.
Eastern Africa is a region composed by two traditionally recognized regions: East Africa, made up of Kenya, Tanzania, and Uganda; and the Horn of Africa, made up of Somalia, Djibouti, Eritrea and Ethiopia. Eastern Africa is used in the media when the media refers to the regions of East Africa and the Horn of Africa, for example when media refers to the landscapes and the tourism industry it uses the region of Eastern Africa, a clear example is the Kilimanjaro. The term Eastern Africa is also used in the media when referring to conflicts such as the oil conflict.
Ostergren, Robert C. and Rice, John G. 2004 The Europeans. A Geography of People, Culture, and the Environment. Chap 1 Introduction: Europe as a Culture Realm New York. The Gilford Press pp.1-32
AFRICAN UNION OFFICIAL WEBPAGE (2016). Available in: https://www.au.int