Interregional Linkages in a Changing Global System
Edited by Peter W. Preston and Julie Gilson
Chapter 12: Europe-Asia linkages: notes towards an historical/structural research agenda
Peter W. Preston INTRODUCTION The chapters in this volume presented above have made it clear that there is much to debate in the matter of Europe-Asia linkages, for not only do the two regions have a wealth of substantive connections but the very conceptual language which can be used to grasp these matters is in question. The precise characterization of Europe, Asia and their interconnections is not a simple matter; rather it is clear that there are radically different strategies available. Indeed, this point might be made more generally. Thus it can be asserted that social theorists have no direct access to ‘reality’ and that the world we inhabit is given to us in terms of the conceptual machineries which run through the cultures we inhabit; in brief, theorizing the social world is deeply interpretive. In this concluding chapter I will return to the issue of theorizing regions and their interlinkages, and sketch the outlines of an historical/structural agenda for scholarly enquiry. Such an agenda will represent a particular interpretation of the still-unfolding exchange of commentary and events. It will reflect the subtle interchange between the onward rush of events and the ways in which we grasp and order these patterns of activity. We might begin by noting that, at the present time, a series of recent and ongoing changes within the global system have been identified: (i) the very sharp reforms in the hitherto socialist states of Central and Eastern Europe (1989/91); (ii) the sequence of broadly integrative changes...
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