Reshaping critical geopolitics? : the materialist challenge

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Squire, Vicki (2015)

How can the ‘materialist turn’ contribute to the reshaping of critical geopolitics? This article draws attention to the limits of an approach that emphasizes the representational, cultural and interpretive dimensions of geopolitics, while acknowledging the difficulties of an ontological shift to materiality for many scholars of critical geopolitics. It draws on work of Karen Barad and Annemarie Mol in order to advance three arguments for the reshaping of critical geopolitics as a field of research. First, it argues for an approach to the analysis of power that examines materialdiscursive intra-actions and that cuts across various ontological, analytical and disciplinary divides. Second, it argues for an analysis of boundary-production that focuses on the mutual enactment or co-constitution of subjects, objects and environments rather than on performance. Third, it argues for an analytical approach that engages the terrain of geopolitics in terms of a multiplicity of ‘cuts’ that trouble simplifying geopolitical imaginations along with the clear-cut boundaries that these often imply. In so doing, the article makes the case for a more-than-human approach that does not overstate the efficacy of matter, but rather that engages processes of materialisation and dematerialisation without assuming materiality to be a determinant force.
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