Redefining the Gap 3, Introduction to Geopolitics

Note: This is a selection from Redefining the Gap, part of tdaxp‘s SummerBlog ’06


Geopolitics helped make geography a science by focusing on the political (Unstead 1949:47) and human (Dawson 1987:28) dimensions of geography. Halford Mackinder, an influential geopolitician, described his goal as not “to predict a great future for this or that country, but to make a geographical formula into which you could fit any political balance.” (Hall 1955:109). Thus, geography is a “conditioning factor” in many parts of politics (Spkyman 1938:29). The internal (Williams 1927:142) and external (Enterline 1998:804) nature of states and how they go to war (Midlarsky 1995:224) are effected by their geopolitical position. Geopolitical analysis has survived changing constellations of great powers and technologies (Hooson 1962:20). Stable geopolitical concepts have emerged, even as academic debates on the specifics of geopolitics continue (Harkavy 2001:38).

Normative accusations have dogged geopolitics. Charges of imperialism abound (Semmel 1958:554, Kearns 1999:450), as do accusations of ethnocentricism (Gilbert and Parker 1969:229). The critics of geopolitics sometimes associate it with racism , eugenics (Tyner 1999), and even encouraging war (Griswold 1940:2).

Redefining the Gap, a tdaxp series:
Redefining the Gap 1. Prologue
Redefining the Gap 2. Summary
Redefining the Gap 3. Introduction to Geopolitics
Redefining the Gap 4. First Geopolitical Theories
Redefining the Gap 5. The North and the South
Redefining the Gap 6. Critical Geopolitics
Redefining the Gap 7. The Pentagon’s New Map
Redefining the Gap 8. The Research Design
Redefining the Gap 9. Methods and Operationalizations
Redefining the Gap 10. Limitations and Conclusion
Redefining the Gap 11. Results
Redefining the Gap 12. Bibliography
Redefining the Gap 13. Appendix: Computer Code
Redefining the Gap 14. Appendix: National Codes

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