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Critical Geopolitics

The Politics of Writing Global Space

1996
Author:

Gearóid O’Tuathail

Critical Geopolitics

Uses new concepts of mapping and space to challenge traditional geopolitical assumptions.

Focusing particularly on Bosnia and Ireland, O’Tuathail delivers a deconstructive critique of various twentieth-century attempts to impose grand geopolitical visions on the spinning surface of global affairs. In doing so, he outlines a new “critical geopolitics” approach to geographical representations in political discourse.

Ó Tuathail’s persuasive and provocative arguments are grounded in an impressive and imaginative command of human geography and spiral away into some of the most interesting areas of contemporary political theory and international relations. A genuine post disciplinary contribution, Critical Geopolitics acknowledges the importance of different disciplinary traditions but scrupulously reworks them into an account of the relations between power, knowledge, and geography that interrupts, displaces and ultimately transcends disciplinary divisions.

Derek Gregory, University of British Columbia

Geography is about power, an ever-changing map of the human struggle over borders, space, and authority. In Critical Geopolitics, Gearóid Ó Tuathail writes about the politics of this geographical struggle, and about the geography of global politics. Thoroughly engrossing and theoretically ambitious, the book is the first geographical study to tackle geopolitical writing from a poststructuralist position. Focusing particularly on Bosnia and Ireland, the author uses radical concepts of mapping and seeing to subvert traditional assumptions about global politics.

The book begins by outlining a general theory of geo-power, or the governmentalization of geographical knowledge by the state. Ó Tuathail then considers the twentieth-century constellation of geo-power that we know as “geopolitics.” He shows how geopolitics is not a fixed and stable phenomenon but varies historically with governmentalized geographical discourse.

Ó Tuathail delivers a deconstructive critique of various twentieth-century attempts to impose grand geopolitical visions on the spinning surface of global affairs. In doing so, he outlines a new “critical geopolitics” approach to geographical representations in political discourse.

Critical Geopolitics

Gearóid Ó Tuathail is assistant professor in the Department of Geography at Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University.

Critical Geopolitics

Ó Tuathail’s persuasive and provocative arguments are grounded in an impressive and imaginative command of human geography and spiral away into some of the most interesting areas of contemporary political theory and international relations. A genuine post disciplinary contribution, Critical Geopolitics acknowledges the importance of different disciplinary traditions but scrupulously reworks them into an account of the relations between power, knowledge, and geography that interrupts, displaces and ultimately transcends disciplinary divisions.

Derek Gregory, University of British Columbia

A foundational book by a leading figure in this exciting new field. Critical Geopolitics consolidates a genuine breakdown in disciplinary boundaries.

Peter Taylor, Loughborough University

Tuathail’s book presents an interesting, original, and idiosyncratic view of politics operating within the surrounding space.

Choice

Critical Geopolitics is a fascinating and,I think, an important contribution to what is a rapidly growing literature. O’Tuathail skillfully links his central themes of power, knowledge, language, textuality, and geography and provides not only a convincing reconceptualisation of the field of geo-politics, but also demonstrates what the practice of a genuinely critical geopolitics involves.

Environment and Planning

This volume emphasizes an interdisciplinary approach to uncovering and displacing the term “geopolitics. Faculty and graduate students in geography, international relations, history and political science would find tis book useful in their studies of the development of geopolitical thought and consequence. The author should be applauded for the interdisciplinarity of his critical geopolitical project.

Professional Geographer

Penned by one of political geography’s most active and creative minds, Critical Geopolitics is a thought-provoking, often satisfying examination of the assumptions that underlie particular geopolitical constructions-and the ramifications of those assumptions. The message is important, and the examples are powerful.

Geographical Review