Title

Putting the “Geo” Into Geopolitics: A Heuristic Framework and the Example of Australian Foreign Policy

Document Type

Article

Journal/Book Title/Conference

GeoJournal

Volume

87

Issue

4

Publisher

Springer Netherlands

Publication Date

2-17-2021

First Page

2577

Last Page

2592

Abstract

This paper aims to contribute to the understanding of geopolitics by offering a heuristic framework to understand the “geo” in geopolitics. The approach integrates economic and strategic processes with transformations of physical geography by emphasizing the role of context and the mutual construction of geography and politics. Understanding foreign policy choices requires a theorized contextualization that sees all geopolitical decisions being limited by the interaction of economic, strategic, and physical contexts. Geopolitics is situated within the structures and imperatives of the capitalist world-economy and defined as the process of controlling geographic entities; specifically, regions, networks, and places. Geopolitical activity occurs within three related contexts; specifically, geostructural, geostrategic, and geophysical. The geographic entities and contexts are constructed by geopolitical activity, and frame such activity, in a non-deterministic and mutually constitutive fashion. The framework is illustrated by a brief discussion of Australia’s foreign policy orientations in the Indo-Pacific region.

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