It's Smart to be Geopolitical! Geopolitics, International Relations and Film

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This paper/talk explores the intersection between geopolitics, international relations and film. The first section explores how scholars have taken more seriously the “visual turn” and in particular examines the expansion of so-called “popular geopolitics”. Thereafter, it considers the inter-relationship between Hollywood, the Bush administration and the post-September 11th era. At times of crisis, Hollywood has often been more than willing and able to produce and market films designed to “raise” national morale and spirit. Finally, we consider the challenge of researching audience reactions and the potential of online commentary to facilitate such discussions further.

Accessing visual culture, through popular films, allows us to consider the connections between IR theory and our everyday lives. Using popular films in this way helps us get a sense of everyday connections between the “popular” and the “political” (Weber 2001, 9).

Having waved the flag for so many years before September 11th, Hollywood's first reaction was to put the industry at the government's [i.e. the George w. Bush administration] disposal (Young 2003, 256).

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: January 1, 2009

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  • Chapters of Modern Human Geographical Thought
    Chapters of Modern Geographical Thought is a compilation of original, state-of-the-art essays written by recognized scholars, covering a wide range of topics from human geography, always paying tribute to the multidisciplinary nature of the field. This book will provide students with penetrating analyses of seven fields, including critical geopolitics of film and affect, the political economy of the environment, ethnic problems in the Caucasus, the US and Mexico relations, new social movements in Southern Africa or identity politics and the legal recognition of the Silesian minority in Poland. All the essays emphasize the interconnectedness of a globalized world.
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