Critical geopolitics

K Dodds, Chih Yuan Woon, Liling Xu

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


This chapter considers the academic field of critical geopolitics and how it developed as a counter-reaction to realist-inspired classical geopolitics. Over the last 30 years, critical geopolitical scholarship has diversified, embracing new conceptual and empirical agendas ranging from feminist and indigenous epistemologies to assemblage theory and debates in new materialism. Within that diversity, there are shared preoccupations with the power of language, the importance of material forces and the necessity to think about multiple geopolitical contexts and futures. Critical geopolitical approaches are undeniably dominant in Anglophone scholarship, but there is a vibrant tradition of other geopolitical work including political economy and neo-classical variants. Studies of Arctic geopolitics reflect that wider diversity, with scholars tackling a range of themes from great power rivalries to the geopolitical insecurities faced by indigenous communities. China’s engagement with the Arctic has triggered a multitude of geopolitical analyses adopting perspectives ranging from the “Polar Silk Road” to the county’s participation in regional bodies and conferences such as the Arctic Council and Arctic Assembly, respectively. Uniting this highly diverse field, however, is a shared concern with what we term the performances, imaginaries and practices of geopolitics.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationCritical Studies of the Arctic
Subtitle of host publicationUnravelling the North
EditorsMarjo Lindroth, Heidi Sinevaara-Niskanen, Monica Tennberg
Place of PublicationBerlin
Number of pages20
ISBN (Print)978-3-031-11119-8
Publication statusPublished - 2 Oct 2022


  • Critical geopolitics
  • Arctic
  • Indigenous
  • China
  • Arctic Council

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