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4 East Looks West


Supranationalism and Devolution - Strasbourg and Slovakia

This video program features two case studies on Europe: Strasbourg: Symbol of a United Europe and Slovakia: New Sovereignty.

Strasbourg: Symbol of a United Europe focuses on the coexistence of French and German cultures in the city of Strasbourg, France. This peaceful and prospering community remains an important symbol of the new European unity.

The city has been influenced primarily by French and German cultures, and its landscape and architecture have recorded the periodic dominance of one or the other. Today, people from France and Germany cross the Rhine River without border controls, work in industries and services throughout the border region, and may even own land in both countries. These freedoms have not always existed. Interviews with local residents reveal that border procedures, migration patterns, and land ownership regulations were previously the norm. The recent transformation and relaxation of political territorial control in this part of the continent is an example of the new unification of Europe.

Updates to this case study include a new map series showing the development of the European Union, further discussion of Strasbourg's function as a seat of the European Union, and interviews with geographer Dr. Alexander Murphy.

Slovakia: New Sovereignty, the second case study featured in the video, discusses the birth of Slovakia and the Czech Republic and the problematic transition from the old Czechoslovakia to these two new states. The young political state of Slovakia was created in January 1993, after the breakup of the old Czechoslovakian Federation. Located northeast of Austria and north of Hungary, this area has a long frontier history on the edge of Western Europe.

The decision by both governments to separate remains controversial. Some believe the separation was a Czech political decision. This case study focuses on continuing border disputes, ethnic tensions within Slovakia, and how Slovakia's eastern location affects its economic development and integration with Western Europe.

Updates include further information on the conflict surrounding the Gabcikovo Dam project and interviews with Dr. George White, co-author of the series coordinated text, Contemporary World Regional Geography.

Video Key Words


  • Supranationalism
  • European Union
  • Relative Location
  • State Identity


  • Devolution
  • Border Disputes
  • Economic Development
  • Ethnic tensions


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