23/12/2016
by Leonhardt van Efferink
12 Comments

Media Representations Analysis 2: Images, Social Semiotics and Multimodality [Summer School]

Media Representations Analysis 2: Images, Social Semiotics and MultimodalityPeriod: 7-11 August 2017

Program: Click Here to Download Course Program

Description
Millions of daily posts by social media users, disinformation efforts by governments and the increased visualization in the traditional written press underline the continued importance of visual media analysis. This course teaches you the skills necessary to study how media images can be interpreted, and how their interaction with surrounding textual elements contribute to their meaning potential. Continue Reading →

23/10/2016
by Leonhardt van Efferink
2 Comments

What are the Key Questions in Visual Analysis?

If you want to improve your skills in this field, please contact us for our in-house training sessions, or visit these Summer School pages:

“Grundlagen der Visuellen Kommunikation. Theorieansätze und Analysemethoden” - Marion G. Müller and Stephanie GeiseWould you like to improve your visual analysis skills? And can you read German? Then “Grundlagen der Visuellen Kommunikation. Theorieansätze und Analysemethoden” is an excellent read. The book by Marion G. Müller and Stephanie Geise confirms that introductory textbooks can be very inspiring. Why?

First, the book explains different theories and concepts in a very accessible way. This helps you position yourself and your own research within the existing literature.

Second, the book contains 100 photos with very engaging interpretations. This makes it not only easier to understand the theoretical issues at stake in your research, but also their implications to your actual data.

Third, the book helps you to make a distinction between the description, analysis and interpretation of images. These steps could concern questions such as “Which features does the image have?”, “What meanings does the image have to you?” and “How are the possible meanings of the image affected by its production context, consumption context or visual building blocks?” The authors acknowledge that it can difficult to draw strict boundaries between these three steps. Moreover, “prosumers” can be relevant in this regard as well. They concern people who are both producers and consumers of media representations, and have become important particularly thanks to social media.

Fourth, the book clearly explains the three key stages in meaning-processes of images: their use, their reception and their effects. This division is important in visual analysis since it is directly related to your research design. Which of the three stages are you focusing on in your visual analysis?

Fifth, the book takes a broad perspective on visual analysis. There are for example chapters on content analysis, political iconography and visual context analysis. Moreover, the chapters on agenda-setting, framing and priming form excellent overview of relatively new approaches towards visual analysis. The observations made offer great insights that can be used to design your research method.

“Grundlagen der Visuellen Kommunikation. Theorieansätze und Analysemethoden” - Marion G. Müller and Stephanie GeiseFinally, the book explains the role of multimodality (i.e. text-image relations and text-image-sound interaction) in visual analysis. The authors stress that images rarely appear without semiotic resources from other modes (such as written or spoken text) joining them. A multimodal approach is in their view therefore often -if not always- recommendable in visual analysis.

Bottom line: thanks to a productive balance between theories, methods and examples, “Grundlagen der Visuellen Kommunikation. Theorieansätze und Analysemethoden” by Marion G. Müller and Stephanie Geise forms an excellent basis to improve your visual analysis skills.

Visual Analysis

24/06/2016
by Leonhardt van Efferink
6 Comments

BREXIT and the Myth of National Unity

If you want to improve your skills in this field, please contact us for our in-house training sessions, or visit these Summer School pages:

BREXIT

A red Mini that can not move forward due to red traffic light.
(Photo: Leonhardt van Efferink, Newcastle upon Tyne.)

Simply put, geopolitics is about human rivalry over space. So political, economic and military resources matter in geopolitics. Such resources can be both instruments and objectives in spatial rivalry. The way people think about themselves and others is important as well in this context. This is why identity is a crucial concept in geopolitics.

People usually speak of identities in the form of a Self and an Other. A popular example is “The West” and “The Rest”. What is often left unmentioned, is that ideas about a national Self are often based on a myth. The myth of national unity. A short analysis of political news can be helpful in identifying the fractures in any national identity.

The BREXIT referendum in the UK is a case in point. On the one hand, the majority in favour of BREXIT highlights a widely supported perception of the EU as not being being part of the (national) Self. On the other hand, the result simultaneously highlights fractures within the British Self. Being close to 50%-50%, the result reflects particular dividing lines within the British population. It actually refutes claims about British national unity.

The following two quotes from an article in the EU Observer question this claim as well. They further underline the strong link between identity and the other geopolitical concepts territory and sovereignty.

Scotland, as expected, voted to Remain, by 62 percent. The result will raise again the question of Scotland’s independence.

This observation raises the issue of UK sovereignty. What does the Scottish majority against BREXIT imply for the authority of the British government over this British region? And how will this result change the views among Scottish voters on whether their region should remain part of the UK territory?

The UK-wide majority for BREXIT also resulted in questions about the authority of the London-based British government in Northern Ireland:

The republican Sinn Fein party, which is the second largest force in the region’s coalition government, reacted by saying that “the British government has forfeited any mandate to represent [the] economic or political interests of people in Northern Ireland.”

Let’s not forget that both quotes do not only apply to today’s BREXIT referendum results. They also reflect fractures within the UK that have already existed for many years. The European Championships Football offer a telling example. This tournament is for countries only. The UK however holds an exceptional position. Four of its regions can participate in the qualification rounds for these Championships. In fact, Wales, Northern Ireland and England all made it to the knock-out stage of this tournament in 2016.

Wrapping up, the national identity of all countries has always been fractured. People with different backgrounds can have different views on themselves and others. Such disagreement points at the existence of multiple boundaries between the (national) Self and the Other(s). As the BREXIT referendum makes clear, the UK is no exception.

In fact, looking ahead, the results could even lead to new cracks in the very fabric of British society. After all, national identity is always on the move. This is exemplified by today’s Facebook post of a London-based poet. She calls for the secession of the British capital from the UK:

Dear Europe. I am so sorry that my country has decided to shoot both itself and me in the foot with this idiotic decision. Please know that London still loves you very much. I have never been less proud to be British. London: please can we leave the UK and start our own state before Boris takes over?

BREXIT

16/06/2016
by Leonhardt van Efferink
0 comments

Our Framework of Country Risk Concepts

Country Risk Concepts

Definitions of 15 Key Country Risk Concepts
(click on image to download pdf file)

This post discusses some concepts that are important during your first steps in country risk analysis. It also offers you a one-page overview of 15 country risk concepts. It is based on the opening session of our Summer Schools. You can download the overview for free and use it as the basis for a more context-specific country risk analysis framework. Please note than an effective framework always requires adaptation and specification of the general suggestions in this post and the accompanying overview.

If you do one of our skills training sessions, your first challenge is to become familiar with the most important country risk concepts. Starting with country risk itself, it may at first seem confusing to discover that it is very hard to pin down. This makes however perfect sense. Its definition should be selected in line with the underlying analytical objectives. A related question is which country risk types are most important in a specific context. Banks for example are concerned about sovereign risk, collective debtor risk, convertibility risk and transfer risk. The last two play a central role in our Summer Schools. To get more familiar with these country risk types, please check our overview of 15 country risk concepts. The overview offers you a possible definition for these country risk types (and several other country risk concepts that are introduced below).

An effective country risk framework further requires the inclusion of at least 11 other concepts. The first two and most straighforward ones are creditor and debtor. These are of course essential concepts in banking and finance as a whole. Specifically in country risk, the locations where creditor and debtor reside are essential. Two other major concepts are counterparty risk and environment risk. They refer to the scope of country risk. In other words, the central concern is how many debtors may face payment difficulties. You can describe possible payment difficulties very well with the concepts arrrear and default, pointing at increasingly severe situations.

The concepts payment ability and payment willingness are important in both the assessment of country risk and the interpretation of arrears or default. Both also require a good understanding of the status of particular currencies in two ways. This applies to the currency in which the debt is denominated and the currency in which the debtor generates her/his earnings. If they are different, it could have a profound impact on country risk. If the debt is denominated in a hard (foreign) currency, while the earnings of the debtor are in a soft (local) currency, country risk is more elevated ande complex.

As I note above, our overview of 15 country risk concepts suggests definitions for each concept. These definitions seek to encouage you to reflect on the role that country risk plays in your research or business. They further should be seen as starting points for any (re-)development of a basic or comprehensive country risk analysis framework. Please feel free to change the definitions and add/remove concepts in line with the requirements of your research or business. Finally, the overview may also assist you identify the skills that you or your organisation need in order to develop such a framework. If you have any questions about the concepts, definitions or skills to develop a country risk analysis framework, please contact us.

These country risk concepts and their definitions are not adequate to deal with all activities in all countries under all circumstances. They should always be re-defined and re-conceptualized in line with either your analytical objectives or the operational context of your business.

Country Risk Concepts

14/06/2016
by Leonhardt van Efferink
0 comments

Words Matter in Geopolitics – Czechia or Czech Republic?

If you want to improve your skills in this field, please contact us for our in-house training sessions, or visit these Summer School pages:

CzechiaWords matter in geopolitics. Think for example of the words “ally” and “enemy”. These words matter because of the simple, yet in particular contexts very popular assumption that all other countries in the world are either “allies” or “enemies”.

Ursula von der Leyen, Germany’s Minister of Defence, suggests that an exception to this binary world view is possible . She creates a third option by using these words: “Russia is not our enemy, but it’s no longer our partner.”

Other words that matter in the current geopolitical debate are threat and refugee, among many others. How to define them, who decides on this and -given the selected definition- what is the right policy to deal with them? The selection of one particular definition for a word can actually have a huge impact on the policy preferences.

This article by Global Risk Insights provides another telling example of why words matter in geopolitics: the name of a country. Wouldn’t it be better to speak of “Czechia” instead “Czech Republic”? Actually, in the Netherlands we already speak informally of “Tsjechië”. So here, the name change wouldn’t have dramatic consequences.

But what would be the costs of the change in a global context? In answering this question, the GRI article suggests that there is a close relationship between language and economics as well in some contexts. It concludes that “the switch to Czechia is going to create confusion.” After all, words matter. Not only in geopolitics.

This post was earlier published by author on LinkedIn Pulse

Words

14/06/2016
by Leonhardt van Efferink
0 comments

How do you become Country Risk Analyst?

Country Risk AnalystProfessionals and students who attend my Country Risk Analysis Summer Schools and Workshops often ask me one particular question. What does it take to get a position as country risk analyst? A few of them managed to get an internship in this field after I introduced them to one of my contacts. Another one decided to do a Master’s in Economics, after I had advised him to do so. In this post, I offer five suggestions in the form of the kinds of knowledge that Country Risk Analysis managers expect from aspiring analysts.

The easiest way that someone started a Country Risk Analysis career that I have ever heard of, was a classical one. Knowing a manager who had sufficient authority to decide on the right candidate did the job. Some with less authority in the same organisation were quite surprised because their new colleague lacked particular skills. This example underlines the importance of luck in job applications, which refers to all. Getting a job without the right background is however posible for only a few. Therefore, the following five suggestions refer to kinds of knowledge that make it easier to become a country risk analyst. The suggestions apply to jobs in which you need to assess the likelihood that either all debtors in country are unable to repay their foreign-currency debt (i.e. transfer risk) or the national government is unable to repay its debt (sovereign risk).

1. Knowledge of Macro-Economics – In all four positions where I was a country risk analyst, this was a hard condition even for being considered for a job interview. This knowledge is required to analyse how macro-economic indicators are related to one another. One particular question needs to be repeatedly answered in any country risk analysis: what are the causes and consequences of the change in the value of this indicator? Pivotal indicators in this regard are often the economic growth level and the level of foreign-exchange reserves.

2. Knowledge of Econometrics – This could be a hard condition for some country risk analyst positions and internships. In fact, all the times I successfully introduced a student of mine to a country risk department for an internship, their econometric expertise was highly appreciated or even required. In combination with a narrative analysis, the model-based comparison of economic indicators over time and between countries can yield extra insights into recent, and plausible future, trends. Even elementary econometric knowledge could give you sufficient expertise to be involved in the development of quantitative country risk models. I experienced this when I developed a country risk model with a colleague. The insights from my earlier course Basic Econometrics prevented me from making beginners’ mistakes. Moreover, it helped me communicate with the expert econometricians who had to validate and fine-tune the eventual model. Finally, this course enabled me to explain the model in clear terms to my colleagues without econometric background.

3. Knowledge of International Relations/Geopolitics – This is not a hard condition, but undoubtedly improves your chances vis-à-vis the others that want the same job. From the experience of a former student, I know that a Master’s degree in both Macro-Economics and International Relations (or related fields) could be decisive in the final application round. This combined expertise helps you assess when and how political disagreement within a country or between countries could affect the economic growth potential of the countries involved. It can also be important in anticipating policy decisions, labour unrest or outbreaks of violence, among other things that affect the national growth potential.

4. Knowledge of a Particular Region – This is not a hard condition either, but it could make a difference if one of the two remaining, otherwise equal, candidates has relevant living experience. Such a background can help you analyse unique and complex aspects of the countries concerned. These aspects could refer to the economic, political, social, historical and cultural context of a country. Examples are the size and functions of the informal economy, the relationship between state and society and the connections between political and economic interest groups.

5. Knowledge of Foreign Languages – This is the least important condition, but could nonetheless make a decisive difference if you are among the two best qualified candidates for that one country risk analyst vacancy. Another former student of mine once obtained a job as country risk analyst for the Middle East because he had learned Arabic in his spare time. Mastering this language at the intermediate level turned out to be the decisive factor in the final application round. Being able to read an (additional) foreign language could help you further expand your expertise of countries by reading first-class sources in their national language. Being my company’s Africa analyst, I experienced this myself after doing a French course at Maison Descartes. This enabled me to read Marchés Tropicaux et Méditerranéens, a well-informed magazine with political and economic insights into many African countries.

I hope that this post adequately answers the question that is raised at its beginning. If you aspire a Country Risk Analysis career and have questions that this post does not address, please let me know. I would further appreciate to hear experiences from other Country Risk Analysis professionals. You may have additional suggestions that would make it easier for those without that experience to find their dream job. After all, the easiest way to become a country risk analyst is not really in anybody’s long-term interest.

This post was earlier published by author on LinkedIn Pulse

Country Risk Analyst

14/06/2016
by Leonhardt van Efferink
0 comments

How useful are Maps?

If you want to improve your skills in this field, please contact us for our in-house training sessions, or visit these Summer School pages:

Map of the Middle East

Map of the Middle East (source: The Maghreb and Orient Courier; click on map for large version)

Maps are key tools in geopolitical analysis. I would however advise you to always check the quality of the “facts” they (re-)present.

During a Geopolitical Scenario Planning Workshop on Yemen earlier this week, I used the map above (from an article by Emmanuel Pène). At first notice, the presented information probably looks familiar to you. The map nevertheless contains various disputed “facts”. One clue: does everybody agree with the population composition of Lebanon that the map suggests?

Another important issue regarding maps of geopolitical situations and processes concerns what is not depicted by them. Such absences reduce their analytical potential for your research. So to conclude, can you find an important regional, national or local factor that the map leaves out?

This post was earlier published by author on LinkedIn Pulse

Maps

12/11/2015
by Leonhardt van Efferink
6 Comments

Country Risk Analysis (Macro-Economic Risk Indicators): Growth Potential, Economic Policy and External Finances of Emerging Markets [Summer School]

Country Risk Analysis (Macro-Economic Risk Indicators): Growth Potential, Economic Policy and External Finances of Emerging MarketsThe Asian Crisis in 1997-1998, Argentina’s default in 2001 and the current economic problems in Russia underline the continued importance of country risk analysis for banks and companies that do business in Emerging Markets. The “Country Risk Analysis (Macro-Economic Risk Indicators)” Summer School helps you to better understand what country risk is and how you can assess the risks in Emerging Markets. The opening lectures teach you different ways to conceptualize country risk and how analysts at banks write their reports. Then you learn how to analyse the economic indicators of Emerging Markets and their (inter)national context in a step-by-step process. These lectures provide insights into the levels of economic indicators, their changes and their impact on country risk. You write a country risk report with your group and give two talks. To acquire more skills in this field, our related course “Country Risk Analysis (Political Instability)” could be beneficial to you as well. [Click here to apply for course]

Course Program

  • Course period: 4 – 8 July 2016
  • Course language: English
  • Full course program: available as a pdf file at the GeoMeans website
  • Course sessions: Lectures, roundtable discussions and student presentations
  • Special features:
    • focus on long-term skills development instead of knowledge that is quickly forgotten
    • interactive setting in which everyone is encouraged to participate in the discussion
    • direct and constructive feedback to enrich the collective learning experience
    • focus on exchanging views and disagreeing in a friendly atmosphere
    • stimulating balance between knowledge, assumptions and questions (i.e. critical thinking)
    • advice on your employability skills, internship/PhD opportunities and career options
  • Extra options:
    • After-class tutoring in person and by e-mail
    • Facebook Group of this Summer School to share ideas and links with current and former students
    • Informal drinks and dinners with other students and course leader
  • Recommendations from former students:
    • “Leonhardt’s enthusiasm and knowledge in the area of Country Risk was contagious and opened completely different perspectives to all of us.” — Roman, Bachelor student, Switzerland
    • “The quality of Leonhardt’s lectures and his enthusiastic spirit were extremely important for me due to my background not in economics.” — Efrem, Master student, Italy
    • You can read the recommendations from 30 of Leonhardt’s former Summer School students in a pfd file on the GeoMeans website

Course Fee, Special Offer, Funding and Accomodation

Application Process

  • You can apply for the course on the Maastricht University website
  • Within a week after your application, you will be informed on its result
  • Application deadline is 13 June 2016 (extended). Applications hereafter are considered on the case-by-case basis
  • If the course is fully booked, applications are considered on a case-by-case basis as well and priority is given to paid-for applications

Learning Objectives

  • Understanding the possible links between economic indicators and country risk
  • Comparing the economic risks of different Emerging Markets
  • Writing a country risk report, based on a template that is common in banking

Course Participants

  • Country Risk Analysis (Macro-Economic Risk Indicators): Growth Potential, Economic Policy and External Finances of Emerging MarketsTarget audience:
    • Bachelor/Master/PhD students and professionals who aspire to become a country risk analyst
    • Students and professionals who seek to improve their ability to assess macro-economic indicators
    • Students and professionals who would like to improve their understanding of the interaction between national and global economic trends
  • Number of participants: 7-15

Course Exam and Certificates

  • Exam: one paper and two presentations
  • Required in order to pass your exam: high attendance rate and active participation during plenary sessions, strong motivation and good command of English
  • ECTS: 1.5 (for students who pass their exam; other students and professionals get a certificate of attendance)

Course Literature

  • Country Risk Analysis (Macro-Economic Risk Indicators): Growth Potential, Economic Policy and External Finances of Emerging MarketsPlease visit the GeoMeans website for recommended literature
  • You are advised to read one of the recommended books before the course
  • You don’t need to buy and read all recommended books
  • During the course, you can borrow most recommended books from Leonhardt
  • Please ask Leonhardt for personal reading advice if you do not know what books suit your learning objectives the best

Course Leader

[Click here to apply for course]

[Click here for “Country Risk Analysis (Political Instability)” Summer School]

[Click here for page navigation menu]

Emerging Markets

12/11/2015
by Leonhardt van Efferink
2 Comments

Country Risk Analysis (Political Instability): Domestic Politics, Foreign Policy Strategy and Geopolitical Scenario Planning [Summer School]

Country Risk Analysis (Political Instability): Domestic Politics, Foreign Policy Strategy and Geopolitical Scenario PlanningThe developments in Egypt over the past five years, the long civil war in Colombia and the current conflict in the Ukraine underline the continued importance of political risk analysis for banks and companies that do business in Emerging Markets. The “Country Risk Analysis (Political Instability)” Summer School helps you better understand what political risk is and how it can affect the economic growth potential of Emerging Markets. The opening lectures teach you different ways to conceptualize political risk and which domestic and international factors are important in this regard. Further lectures offer you insights into how the foreign policy strategy of a country can be linked to geopolitical scenarios, and how you can benefit from this approach. You also participate in a geopolitical scenario planning workshop, in which you can apply your newly acquired skills. The results of the workshop can be used for the report that you write with your group and that analyses a country of your choice. During the course, you give two talks about the political situation in that country. To acquire more skills in this field, our related course “Country Risk Analysis (Macro-Economic Risk Indicators)” could be beneficial to you as well. [Click here to apply for course]

Course Program

  • Course period: 11 – 15 July 2016
  • Course language: English
  • Full course program: available as a pdf file at the GeoMeans website
  • Course sessions: Lectures, roundtable discussions and student presentations
  • Special features:
    • focus on long-term skills development instead of knowledge that is quickly forgotten
    • interactive setting in which everyone is encouraged to participate in the discussion
    • direct and constructive feedback to enrich the collective learning experience
    • focus on exchanging views and disagreeing in a friendly atmosphere
    • stimulating balance between knowledge, assumptions and questions (i.e. critical thinking)
    • advice on your employability skills, internship/PhD opportunities and career options
  • Extra options:
    • After-class tutoring in person and by e-mail
    • Facebook Group of this Summer School to share ideas and links with current and former students
    • Informal drinks and dinners with other students and course leader

Course Fee, Special Offer, Funding and Accomodation

Application Process

  • You can apply for the course on the Maastricht University website
  • Within a week after your application, you will be informed on the result
  • Application deadline is 20 June 2016. Applications hereafter are considered on a case-by-case basis
  • If the course is fully booked, applications are considered on a case-by-case basis as well and priority is given to paid-for applications

Learning Objectives

  • Understanding the possible impact of political instability on the economic growth potential of Emerging Markets
  • Assessing political risk indicators in the context of a country
  • Linking geopolitical scenario outcomes to the foreign policy strategy of countries

Course Participants

  • Country Risk Analysis (Political Instability): Domestic Politics, Foreign Policy Strategy and Geopolitical Scenario PlanningTarget audience:
    • Bachelor/Master/PhD students/Professionals who would like to become (a better) political risk analyst
    • Bachelor/Master/PhD students/Professionals who would like to develop a better understanding of how political instability can affect the potential economic growth, foreign direct investment and export revenues of a country
    • Bachelor/Master/PhD students/Professionals who would like to develop multiple perspectives on future geopolitical trends as alternatives to forecasts
  • Number of participants: 7-15
  • Recommendations from former students:
    • “Leonhardt is very passionate, knowledgeable and an excellent teacher.” — Jakob, Master student, Austria
    • “Leonhardt excels in encouraging student’s participation – the class was very lively and the participants benefited from each other’s knowledge.” — Michel, journalist, Germany
    • You can read the recommendations from 30 of Leonhardt’s former Summer School students in a pfd file on the GeoMeans website

Course Exam and Certificates

  • Exam: one paper and two presentations
  • Required in order to pass your exam: high attendance rate and active participation during plenary sessions, strong motivation and good command of English
  • ECTS: 1.5 (for students who pass their exam; other students and professionals get a certificate of attendance)

Course Literature

  • Country Risk Analysis (Political Instability): Domestic Politics, Foreign Policy Strategy and Geopolitical Scenario PlanningPlease visit the GeoMeans website for recommended literature
  • You are advised to read one of the recommended books before the course
  • You don’t need to buy and read all recommended books
  • During the course, you can borrow most recommended books from Leonhardt
  • Please ask Leonhardt for personal reading advice if you do not know what books suit your learning objectives the best

Course Leader

[Click here to apply for course]

[Click here for “Country Risk Analysis (Macro-Economic Risk Indicators)” Summer School]

[Click here for page navigation menu]

Political Instability

12/11/2015
by Leonhardt van Efferink
5 Comments

Geopolitical Concepts: Rethinking Nation-States, National Identity, International Boundaries, Global Power and Security [Summer School]

 Geopolitical Concepts: Rethinking Nation-States, National Identity, International Boundaries, Global Power and Security [Summer School]The relationship between the European Union and Ukraine, the rise of ISIS and the long border conflict between India and Pakistan underline the continued importance of geopolitical concepts such as national identity, power and security. The “Geopolitical Concepts” Summer School helps you better understand why the key concepts in geopolitical analysis mean different things to different people. The lectures teach you different ways to think about key geopolitical concepts. Can we measure power? Is it possible to objectively assess security? And how stable and uncontested is our national identity? Next to giving two talks, you write a paper about a key geopolitical concept in which you analyse how scholars, politicians or media use it in a particular context. To acquire more skills in this field, our related course “Geopolitical Theories and Methods” could be beneficial to you as well. [Click here to apply for course]

Course Program

  • Course period: 18 – 22 July 2016
  • Course language: English
  • Full course program: available as pdf file at the GeoMeans website
  • Course sessions: Lectures, roundtable discussions and student presentations
  • Special features:
    • focus on long-term skills development instead of knowledge that is quickly forgotten
    • interactive setting in which everyone is encouraged to participate in the discussion
    • direct and constructive feedback to enrich the collective learning experience
    • focus on exchanging views and disagreeing in a friendly atmosphere
    • stimulating balance between knowledge, assumptions and questions (i.e. critical thinking)
    • advice on your employability skills, internship/PhD opportunities and career options
  • Extra options:
    • After-class tutoring in person and by e-mail
    • Facebook Group of this Summer School to share ideas and links with current and former students
    • Informal drinks and dinners with other students and course leader
  • Recommendations from former students:
    • “Leonhardt demonstrated an extraordinary ability to communicate and adapt his teaching style to each individual student, despite the differences within the group in terms of areas of studies and levels of knowledge.” — Isa, Bachelor student, Portugal
    • “Leonhardt’s depth of knowledge and his exceptional ability to impart it in a clear, relevant and inclusive manner mark him out as leader in his field.” — David, business professional, UK
    • You can read the recommendations from 30 of Leonhardt’s former Summer School students in a pfd file on the GeoMeans website

Course Fee, Special Offer, Funding and Accomodation

Application Process

  • You can apply for the course on the Maastricht University website
  • Within a week after your application, you will be informed on the result
  • Application deadline is 27 June 2016. Applications hereafter are considered on a case-by-case basis
  • If the course is fully booked, applications are considered on a case-by-case basis as well and priority is given to paid-for applications

Learning Objectives

  • Developing various perspectives on statehood and its main components national identity, sovereignty and territory
  • Applying the geopolitical concepts global power and national security in research, strategy formulation and policy-making
  • Recognising patterns in how media, politicians and companies represent the world, countries and international boundaries

Course Participants

  • Geopolitical Concepts: Rethinking Nation-States, National Identity, International Boundaries, Global Power and SecurityTarget audience:
    • Bachelor/Master students who would like to write essays or thesis about geopolitical themes
    • PhD students who need to use geopolitical and concepts in their research
    • Professionals who would need to look at geopolitical trends from different angles
  • Number of participants: 7-15

Course Exam and Certificates

  • Exam: one paper and two presentations
  • Required in order to pass your exam: high attendance rate and active participation during plenary sessions, strong motivation and good command of English
  • ECTS: 1.5 (for students who pass their exam; other students and professionals get a certificate of attendance)

Course Literature

  • Geopolitical Concepts: Rethinking Nation-States, National Identity, International Boundaries, Global Power and SecurityPlease visit the GeoMeans website for recommended literature
  • You are advised to read one of the recommended books before the course
  • You don’t need to buy and read all recommended books
  • During the course, you can borrow most recommended books from Leonhardt
  • Please ask Leonhardt for personal reading advice if you do not know what books suit your learning objectives the best

Course Leader

[Click here to apply for course]

[Click here for “Geopolitical Theories and Methods” Summer School]

[Click here for page navigation menu]

Global Power

12/11/2015
by Leonhardt van Efferink
6 Comments

Geopolitical Theories and Methods: Exploring Geopolitics, Geoeconomics and Geostrategy [Summer School]

Geopolitical Theories and Methods: Exploring Geopolitics, Geoeconomics and GeostrategyThe Russian annexation of Crimea, the development of the Nicaragua canal and the melting ice of the Arctic underline the continued importance of questions about the interaction between geography and power. The “Geopolitical Theories and Methods” Summer School helps you better understand the wide variety of ideas about geopolitics, geoeconomics and geostrategy. The lectures teach you the ways in which they have been conceptualized in different national, political and academic contexts. What is difference between the Heartland and the Rimland? How decisive is geography in human behaviour? And is it possible to do geopolitical research objectively? You further learn how to apply a French geopolitical method and a critical discourse analysis method. The first is valuable to structure your own geopolitical research, the second to assess the geopolitical claims of others. Next to giving two talks, you write a paper in which you discuss a theory or apply a method of your choice. To acquire more skills in this field, our related course “Geopolitical Concepts” could be beneficial to you as well. [Click here to apply for course]

Course Program

  • Course period: 25 – 29 July 2016
  • Course language: English
  • Full course program: available as pdf file at the GeoMeans website
  • Course sessions: Lectures, roundtable discussions and student presentations
  • Special features:
    • focus on long-term skills development instead of knowledge that is quickly forgotten
    • interactive setting in which everyone is encouraged to participate in the discussion
    • direct and constructive feedback to enrich the collective learning experience
    • focus on exchanging views and disagreeing in a friendly atmosphere
    • stimulating balance between knowledge, assumptions and questions (i.e. critical thinking)
    • advice on your employability skills, internship/PhD opportunities and career options
  • Extra options:
    • After-class tutoring in person and by e-mail
    • Facebook Group of this Summer School to share ideas and links with current and former students
    • Informal drinks and dinners with other students and course leader
  • Recommendations from former students:
    • “I should also highlight Leonhardt’s advanced teaching skills that made the program the best summer training course in my entire academic career. After 5-6 hours of study no one wanted to leave the classroom!” — Irina, PhD candidate, Czech Republic
    • “Leonhardt’s class was really thought provoking as he pushed us to think and share our ideas and thoughts on the topics under discussion.” — Ady, business professional, Qatar
    • You can read the recommendations from 30 of Leonhardt’s former Summer School students in a pfd file on the GeoMeans website

Course Fee, Special Offer, Funding and Accomodation

Application Process

  • You can apply for the course on the Maastricht University website
  • Within a week after your application, you will be informed on the result
  • Application deadline is 4 July 2016. Applications hereafter are considered on a case-by-case basis
  • If the course is fully booked, applications are considered on a case-by-case basis as well and priority is given to paid-for applications

Learning Objectives

  • Understanding the multi-dimensional nature of the interaction between geography and politics
  • Working with different approaches towards geopolitics, geoeconomics and geostrategy
  • Explaining the role of geography in political, economic and military processes (e.g. in the South China Sea, Syria and Ukraine) in a more coherent way

Course Participants

  • Geopolitical Theories and Methods: Exploring Geopolitics, Geoeconomics and GeostrategyTarget audience:
    • Bachelor/Master students from all disciplines who would like to know more about geopolitics, geoeconomics and geostrategy to improve their research skills and career prospects
    • PhD students who would like to know how to apply geopolitical, geoeconomic and geostrategic theories and methods in their research
    • Professionals who need a deeper understanding of geopolitical, geoeconomic and geostrategic ideas for their work
  • Number of participants: 7-15

Course Exam and Certificates

  • Exam: one paper and two presentations
  • Required in order to pass your exam: high attendance rate and active participation during plenary sessions, strong motivation and good command of English
  • ECTS: 1.5 (for students who pass their exam; other students and professionals get a certificate of attendance)

Course Literature

  • Geopolitical Theories and Methods: Exploring Geopolitics, Geoeconomics and GeostrategyPlease visit the GeoMeans website for recommended literature
  • You are advised to read one of the recommended books before the course
  • You don’t need to buy and read all recommended books
  • During the course, you can borrow most recommended books from Leonhardt
  • Please ask Leonhardt for personal reading advice if you do not know what books suit your learning objectives the best

Course Leader

[Click here to apply for course]

[Click here for “Geopolitical Concepts” Summer School]

[Click here for page navigation menu]

Geopolitical Theories

12/11/2015
by Leonhardt van Efferink
2 Comments

Media Representations and Research Methods: Critical Discourse Analysis, Social Semiotics and Textual/Visual News Framing [Summer School]

Media Representations and Research Methods: Critical Discourse Analysis, Social Semiotics and Textual/Visual News FramingThere is an ongoing debate in many countries on the quality of media coverage, for example of the immigrants/ refugees/ asylum seekers in the European Union. This underlines the continued importance of research into media representations and the ways in which different audiences interpret them. The “Media Representations and Research Methods” Summer School helps you to better understand the textual and visual elements of the news. The opening lectures teach you how to structure your research and provide insights into the context of media representations. Then you learn how to analyse discourses, signs and frames in a step-by-step process. The lectures contain many eye-opening examples and offer ample room for discussion. You are encouraged to choose a theme and method for your coursework that are both relevant to your research interests. You write a paper in which you use a qualitative method to analyse a news article or photo and give two talks. To acquire more skills in this field, our related course “Media Representations and Multimodality” could be beneficial to you as well. [Click here to apply for course]

Course Program

  • Course period: 1 – 5 August 2016
  • Course language: English
  • Full course program: available as a pdf file at the GeoMeans website
  • Course sessions: Lectures, roundtable discussions and student presentations
  • Special features:
    • focus on long-term skills development instead of knowledge that is quickly forgotten
    • interactive setting in which everyone is encouraged to participate in the discussion
    • direct and constructive feedback to enrich the collective learning experience
    • focus on exchanging views and disagreeing in a friendly atmosphere
    • stimulating balance between knowledge, assumptions and questions (i.e. critical thinking)
    • advice on your employability skills, internship/PhD opportunities and career options
  • Extra options:
    • After-class tutoring in person and by e-mail
    • Facebook Group of this Summer School to share ideas and links with current and former students
    • Informal drinks and dinners with other students and course leader
  • Recommendations from former students:
    • “It is a rare thing to find someone as genuinely enthusiastic and passionate about teaching as Leonhardt.” — Carol, Master student, Germany
    • “Leonhardt provides personal feedback as well as extra reading materials catering to the individual needs of every student.” — Renée, PhD student, Belgium
    • You can read the recommendations from 30 of Leonhardt’s former Summer School students in a pfd file on the GeoMeans website

Course Fee, Special Offer, Funding and Accomodation

Application Process

  • You can apply for the course on the Maastricht University website
  • Within a week after your application, you will be informed on the result
  • Application deadline is 11 July 2016. Applications hereafter are considered on a case-by-case basis
  • If the course is fully booked, applications are considered on a case-by-case basis as well and priority is given to paid-for applications

Learning Objectives

  • Applying qualitative methods from critical discourse analysis, social semiotics and framing analysis to study the possible meanings of media texts and images
  • Designing an analytical framework to study visual and textual representations in the media in line with your research objectives
  • Understanding the role of the national and ideological context in which media operate in the production of news

Course Participants

  • Media Representations and Research MethodsTarget audience:
    • Bachelor/Master students who need to analyse media representations for their course work or dissertation
    • PhD students who want to operationalise concepts, theories and methods related to media representations and/or need support with their research methodology
    • Professionals who need a deeper understanding of why and how media representations reflect and affect society
  • Number of participants: 7-15

Course Exam and Certificates

  • Exam: one paper and two presentations
  • Required in order to pass your exam: high attendance rate and active participation during plenary sessions, strong motivation and good command of English
  • ECTS: 1.5 (for students who pass their exam; other students and professionals get a certificate of attendance)

Course Literature

  • Media Representations and Research MethodsPlease visit the GeoMeans website for recommended literature
  • You are advised to read one of the recommended books before the course
  • You don’t need to buy and read all recommended books
  • During the course, you can borrow most recommended books from Leonhardt
  • Please ask Leonhardt for personal reading advice if you do not know what books suit your learning objectives the best

Course Leader

[Click here to apply for course]

[Click here for “Media Representations and Multimodality” Summer School]

[Click here for page navigation menu]

Media Representations

12/11/2015
by Leonhardt van Efferink
4 Comments

Media Representations and Multimodality: Semiotic Modes, Text-Image Relations and Multimodal News Frames [Summer School]

Media Representations and Multimodality: Semiotic Modes, Text-Image Relations and Multimodal News FramesThe rise of social media, the use of propaganda tactics by various governments and the further sophistication of corporate marketing efforts underline the continued importance of multimodality in the news. The “Media Representations and Multimodality” Summer School helps you to better understand how textual and visual elements interact in the news. The opening lectures teach you how to structure your research and provide insights into social semiotics, semiotic modes and multimodality. Then you learn how to analyse multimodal representations in a step-by-step process, focusing on the texts and images in the news. The lectures contain many eye-opening examples and offer ample room for discussion. You are encouraged to choose a theme and method for your coursework that are both relevant to your research interests. You write a paper in which you use a qualitative method to analyse a news article that contains textual and visual elements, and give two talks. To acquire more skills in this field, our related course “Media Representations and Research Methods” could be beneficial to you as well. [Click here to apply for course]

Course Program

  • Course period: 8 – 12 August 2016
  • Course language: English
  • Full course program: available as pdf file at the GeoMeans website
  • Course sessions: Lectures, roundtable discussions and student presentations
  • Special features:
    • focus on long-term skills development instead of knowledge that is quickly forgotten
    • interactive setting in which everyone is encouraged to participate in the discussion
    • direct and constructive feedback to enrich the collective learning experience
    • focus on exchanging views and disagreeing in a friendly atmosphere
    • stimulating balance between knowledge, assumptions and questions (i.e. critical thinking)
    • advice on your employability skills, internship/PhD opportunities and career options
  • Extra options:
    • After-class tutoring in person and by e-mail
    • Facebook Group of this Summer School to share ideas and links with current and former students
    • Informal drinks and dinners with other students and course leader
  • Recommendations from former students:
    • “Unlike many other teachers, Leonhardt made sure that the curriculum matched the needs of each individual student by providing individual feedback and additional reading material.” — Nicole, Master student, The Netherlands
    • “Leonhardt made the effort to adapt his lessons and assignments to those present in the course.” — Kathleen, PhD student, Belgium
    • You can read the recommendations from 30 of Leonhardt’s former Summer School students in a pfd file on the GeoMeans website

Course Fee, Special Offer, Funding and Accomodation

Application Process

  • You can apply for the course on the Maastricht University website
  • Within a week after your application, you will be informed on the result
  • Application deadline is 18 July 2016. Applications hereafter are considered on a case-by-case basis
  • If the course is fully booked, applications are considered on a case-by-case basis as well and priority is given to paid-for applications

Learning Objectives

  • Applying qualitative methods from critical discourse analysis, social semiotics and framing analysis to study the possible meanings of multimodal media representations
  • Designing an analytical framework to study media representations that have both visual and textual features in line with your research objectives
  • Understanding why multimodal representations can have multiple conflicting meanings and how to deal with this in your research

Course Participants

  • Media Representations and Multimodality: Semiotic Modes, Text-Image Relations and Multimodal News FramesTarget audience:
    • Bachelor/Master students who need to analyse multimodal media representations for their course work or dissertation
    • PhD students who want to operationalise concepts, theories and methods related to multimodal media representations and/or need support with their research methodology
    • Professionals who need a deeper understanding of why and how media representations reflect and affect society
  • Number of participants: 7-15

Course Exam and Certificates

  • Exam: one paper and two presentations
  • Required in order to pass your exam: high attendance rate and active participation during plenary sessions, strong motivation and good command of English
  • ECTS: 1.5 (for students who pass their exam; other students and professionals get a certificate of attendance)

Course Literature

  • Media Representations and Multimodality: Semiotic Modes, Text-Image Relations and Multimodal News FramesPlease visit the GeoMeans website for recommended literature
  • You are advised to read one of the recommended books before the course
  • You don’t need to buy and read all recommended books
  • During the course, you can borrow most recommended books from Leonhardt
  • Please ask Leonhardt for personal reading advice if you do not know what books suit your learning objectives the best

Course Leader

[Click here to apply for course]

[Click here for “Media Representations and Research Methods” Summer School]

[Click here for page navigation menu]

Multimodality

12/11/2015
by Leonhardt van Efferink
0 comments

Critical Discourse Analysis [Reading List]

If you want to improve your skills in this field, please contact us for our in-house training sessions, or visit these Summer School pages:

Continue Reading →

12/11/2015
by Leonhardt van Efferink
0 comments

Media Representations, National Identity and Foreign Policy [Reading List]

If you want to improve your skills in this field, please contact us for our in-house training sessions, or visit these Summer School pages:

Continue Reading →

12/11/2015
by Leonhardt van Efferink
0 comments

Media Studies, Media Theory and Society [Reading List]

If you want to improve your skills in this field, please contact us for our in-house training sessions, or visit these Summer School pages:

Continue Reading →

12/11/2015
by Leonhardt van Efferink
0 comments

Multimodal Analysis and Text-Image Relations [Reading List]

If you want to improve your skills in this field, please contact us for our in-house training sessions, or visit these Summer School pages:

Continue Reading →

12/11/2015
by Leonhardt van Efferink
0 comments

News Framing Analysis [Reading List]

If you want to improve your skills in this field, please contact us for our in-house training sessions, or visit these Summer School pages:

Continue Reading →

12/11/2015
by Leonhardt van Efferink
0 comments

Social Semiotics [Reading List]

If you want to improve your skills in this field, please contact us for our in-house training sessions, or visit these Summer School pages:

Continue Reading →

12/11/2015
by Leonhardt van Efferink
0 comments

Visual Analysis, Photojournalism and News Images [Reading List]

If you want to improve your skills in this field, please contact us for our in-house training sessions, or visit these Summer School pages:

Continue Reading →