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Revisiting the ‘pivot’: the influence of Halford Mackinder on analysis of Uzbekistan's international relations

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Abstract:

Since the end of the Soviet Union, many foreign policy intellectuals have peculiarly identified the Republic of Uzbekistan as the locus of Mackinder's 1904‘pivot’ designation. A century on from his original ‘Geographical pivot of history’ lecture, this paper examines the work of a Russian, an Uzbek, and an American who use Mackinder to understand contemporary Uzbekistani geopolitical orientations, in particular with reference to the USA. Drawing on critical work on the history of geopolitics, it highlights that whilst these texts claim objectivity, they betray political and subjective foreign policy choices. It suggests that whilst the revival of interest in Mackinder testifies to the continued attraction of his ideas, this has, with rare exceptions, been based upon a superficial reading of both his work and the body of secondary literature, and that this raises both disciplinary and ethical concerns.

Keywords: Mackinder; Uzbekistan; critical geopolitics

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.0016-7398.2004.00136.x

Affiliations: Sidney Sussex College, Cambridge, CB2 3HU, Email: nwm20@cam.ac.uk

Publication date: December 1, 2004

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