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Political Geography

Is the relationship between space/place/territory and power?

3 Approaches Jones Reading

3 main approaches to Political Geography

World Systems Theory Dominant Approach to Political Geography

o Neo-Marxist Theory
Post structuralism- discourse
o Describe reality and disturbing reality Micheal Foucault, Jacques
Critical or Feminist Geo Politics
o Does not just occur in the national state
o It also occurs in the sub state e.g the Household
o Attention to different relationship to power that operate at different
scale as opposed to between states
o Security is not just about national security Protecting States through
military processes they operate in different scales e.g. Human

Write a small paragraph about the 3 approaches

The key themes in Political Geography include

The inequitable relations between countries and regions of the world

(Desperate inequality and poverty)
Citizenship, governance and social movements how does social
movements challenge governments
Borders, surveillance and control they are reinforced physically
(materially) and discursively through discourse.


Political geography and Geopolitics

The relationships that states have with each other and the
nature/structure of individual states that influence these relationships E.g.
North and South Korea

Tutorial Questions

Political Geography as a sub-discipline in Human Geography has

arguably gone through at least 3 stages.
Read Jones et al Chapter 1 and list what these are; pay particular attention
to the current Era of Revival, which is quite diverse and contains at least
three different approaches
The era of ascendancy
The era of marginalisation
The era of revival

Electoral geographers viewed the electoral process as a system comprised of various

interacting parts, following certain rules and having particular spatial outcomes but
they also realised that other parts of the political world could also be conceived of and
analysed as systems, including the state, local government, policy making and public
spending (see Johnston 1979). Significantly, the mechanical principles underlying
systems theory meant that adopting the approach rendered complex political entities
suitable for mathematical analysis and modelling.

These three approaches are:

1. World Systems Theory;
2. Post-structuralism;
3. Critical/ feminist Political Geography/ Geopolitics
International Relationship between countries
These countries are arranged in a hierarchy. At the top of the pyramid are the
core states that dominate the system. The core states use the global capitalist
economy for their own elevation.
Second level is the Semi-Periphery seeking to elevate their place to the core
To incorporate the rapid development of developing countries. E.g. Vietnam
Periphery states are the weakness. System of unequal exchange will between
them and the core. Core states will take in natural resources in exchange for old
and unwanted technology or aid in return.
Critics reduction in economic value
One system and but shows the inequality that exists economically and
politicalally in that system. Driven by their economy and capitalism.

Different classes within country

Post Structuralist Popular culture education, film

The idea that discourses create reality-enforced by particular power

We are the creators of truth through discourses

E.g. the rise in terrorism and the discourse of evil Muslim have been
discussed in popular culture. Through movies and public discourse
Reject the idea that government can characterised parts of the
world because of different ideas of their discourse.
To analyse this discourse and reject the reality that this discourses
Concretise manifestation and institutional norms e.g. identify
potential terrorism

post-structuralist- reject the idea of the rational subject, arguing that

subjectivity (the sense of who we are) is constructed through discourses
(see Box 1.4) that are open to change and contestation, and that there is
no external reality outside discourse. The claims to truth that are
advanced by science, religion and other discourses are considered by
post-structuralists to be enforced by particular power relations.
At any given moment and theoretical understanding, we experience only
limited aspects of the world and some of what we experience is based on
falsehoods embedded in some of the discourses we have learned
(falsehoods in the sense of not existing separately from the theoretical
constructs, not even satisfying the coherence of defined objects within
that discourse, as subject to investigation on the basis of the internal rules
of coherence and fact of the discourse.
Hegemony rule by consent. How consensus is created and
maintained. This is created and maintained through discourse.
Your Sidaway and Mamadouh reading for this week discuss the
meaning and some key examples of Geopolitics. Can you briefly
summarise these? (Your readings for next week on the state provide
some further examples)
Feminist approach marginalized groups

Looking at non-traditional political organization outside of

E.g. Marginalized groups i.e. woman
Critical to mean questioning relationship, discourses and
distribution of power within the society
Era of revival all this 4 approaches are critical in influencing the
works of political geographers.
How film create particular realties. E.g. discourse
Geopolitics is concerned with the manifold ways in which states
seek to exert power and influence beyond as well as within their

boundaries. The first question that needs to be addressed,

therefore, revolves around the methods used to achieve this
political domination.