Grim inter-regional struggle or post-modern kitsch contempt?

Fig2This picture of the science of the Eurovision song contest voting "blocs" comes via Mixed Miscellanies. The figure comes from a paper  with the title Comparison of Eurovision Song Contest Simulation with Actual Results Reveals Shifting, published in the Journal of Artificial Societies and Social Simulation vol. 9, no. 2 (2006). Thanks to Scott Keir, of Mixed Miscellanies blog, I can now share it with you, too. "What implications does this have, if any, for pan-European political institutions? The answer to this depends on whether or not one takes the view that the contest is some kind of grand metaphor for European politics", writes the author of the J Art. Soc. paper, the appropriately named Derek Gatherer.  "If one believes this", he continues, "then the outlook for an expanded European Union is one grim inter-regional struggle. However, if one simply sees the contest as an expression of post-modern kitsch contempt for the established pop music industry…, then no such concern is warranted. This paper shows that regionalism in the contest is a memetic epidemic, and not likely to reflect very profound fault lines in the current state of Europe."