Human Geography and Geopolitics

Module Leader:
Péter Balogh
2018-2019 Spring
Immersion 1
Social Sciences

This course aims to give an overview of various fields of Human Geography in general but focuses on Political Geography /Geopolitics in particular. The common concern for all are different meanings of space and territory, i.e. the relation between people and their social and physical milieu. Accordingly, the module will deal with various aspects of how different actors and groups shape and struggle over fundamental resources such as land or water.
The major aim of the module is to introduce participants to key ideas and discussions about space, place, and power, with special attention to politics of space in contested geographical spaces as well as multiethnic environments. Such spaces and places can range from the local (e.g. urban neighbourhoods) through the regional (i.e. sub-state) and national to the macro-regional (such as the EU, the V4, or the Commonwealth) and the global (e.g. the UN). Besides formal organisations such as states, world affairs are also increasingly affected by more or less recognised and democratically accountable organisations such as corporations, NGOs, hybrid states, or terrorist organisations. Finally, global politics are also influenced by popular geopolitics, i.e. images and stereotypes widely held in society.
The module will deal with issues such as territorial conflicts, political and cultural boundaries, ethno-social tensions, (spatial) identities, nationalism, space appropriation strategies, politics of symbolic spaces, as well as global capitalism and socio-spatial inequalities.
Some of the research methods applied in Human geography (as well as in other social sciences) include collecting primary and/or secondary data, which can be written, oral (e.g. speeches, interviews), or visual (photos, videos, maps, or cartoons). A common approach is content analysis (of for instance political debates, media content, or ‘popular’ discourses on webpages, blogs, social media etc.), where special attention is paid to language and/or other forms of representation, such as visual ones.
Taking this module should give participants way ahead in later applications to BA-programs in Human Geography (or Geography in general), IR, IPE, Political Science, as well as other social sciences such as Anthropology and Sociology.