As applies to all kinds of research, definitions are key in Geopolitical Analysis. The noun ‘geopolitics’ and the adjective ‘geopolitical’ are often used without being defined. Books that discuss the possible meanings of this concept are rare.
This makes “Les grands théoriciens de la géopolitique” (“The Great Theoreticians in Geopolitics”) by Florian Louis the more interesting. The book takes a broad approach towards geopolitics and includes thinkers from Classical (e.g. Mahan, Mackinder and Spykman), Critical (i.e. Gearóid Ó Tuathail) and French Geopolitics (i.e. Reclus, Vidal and Ancel).
Those who can’t read the whole book may find this review valuable, as it raises key questions. Is geopolitics more about power or about space? Does it concern analysing or doing? Does it academically belong to Geography or Political Sciences? Excellent questions to start any discussion about geopolitics, although an ‘either-or’ debate could better be prevented.
Whether these questions are relevant to your Geopolitical Analysis depends on its objectives. But please keep in mind that the definition of geopolitics does matter. To paraphrase John Armstrong (2004, p. 9): “definitions will, to a great extent, determine the response scholars will bring to the issues posed. The examination of geopolitical phenomena is no exception, although at the start of many research projects, scholars do not recognize this.”
- Armstrong, John A. (2004), ‘Definitions, periodization, and prospects for the longue duree’, Nations and Nationalism, 10 (1/2), pp. 9-18
- Getting Started with Geopolitical Analysis 1: Dealing with Definitions
- Getting Started with Geopolitical Analysis 2: What is the Definition of Territory, Territoriality and Territorialisation?
- Getting Started with Geopolitical Analysis 3: 115 Years of Geopolitics in 230 Words
- Getting Started with Geopolitical Analysis 4: What do you mean by Cyberspace, Internet and Cybergeopolitics?
- Getting Started with Geopolitical Analysis 5: World Urbanization Prospects
- Getting Started with Geopolitical Analysis 6: The Oil Price, Geopolitics and Geoeconomics
- Getting Started with Geopolitical Analysis 7: Rare Metals, Global Power and National Security
- Getting Started with Geopolitical Analysis 8: How Useful are Maps?
- Getting Started with Geopolitical Analysis 9: Words Matter in Geopolitics – Czechia or Czech Republic?