Orientalism, science fiction, videogames, and South Park – how can a comic book be part of geopolitics? Here are some ideas. In addition to geopolitics, comic books are also cultural products and are, therefore, culturally significant. But does that mean they’re part of the state? Perhaps. But how can we assess these stories? Let’s explore a few topics.
Orientalism and Joanne Sharpe’s geopolitics were two articles that sparked my interest in the topic. The former focused on the literary engagement with ‘the East’, and the latter on the political institutions of the state. It is not surprising that these two works would complement each other. However, I was especially intrigued by the way Joanne Sharpe uses comics to analyze geopolitics.
Firstly, I would like to say that critical geopolitics has traditionally been dominated by male theorists. This is not to say that women have no place in geopolitics, but it has been an unfortunate tradition to exclude feminist perspectives and scholars. In the early days, it was more or less male-dominated, and this continued to be true in the field of geopolitics.
Secondly, popular geopolitics de-rationalises the discourse of the other in a way that ultimately leads to hegemonic discourses of self. The popular geopolitics of Yugoslavia are examples of this phenomenon. In fact, they resemble the hegemonic discourses of the Soviet bloc. By contrast, the discourse of the United States has remained rational and objective.
The relationship between science fiction and geopolitics is complex, but is not entirely unfounded. As the field grows increasingly interdisciplinary, it is also possible to make connections between two distinct fields of literature. Carl D. Malmgren, a leading critic of SF, argues that the genre appropriates aspects of scientific theory and forms of world-view. His typology of science fiction forms provides a framework for analyzing the work of other critics. Robert Nadeau and Susan Strehle both examine the use of physics in the work of 20th-century non-SF writers. Similarly, Katherine N. Hayles applies chaos theory and field theory to non-SF authors’ work.
The Star Trek universe is a convenient test case for this kind of comparison. The characters are well-known and the narrative structures are simpler than those in the physical world. Stories of the future demonstrate the persistence of technological civilization and rational thought. The characters can solve a complex puzzle within an hour. As a result, the relationship between science fiction and geopolitics has many facets, and both are important to understanding the future of humanity.
Although science fiction has often been analyzed through psi phenomena, there is no clear connection between science fiction and geopolitics. In the nineteenth century, a group of Cambridge scholars and spiritualists formed the Society for Psychical Research. The group decided that thought transference was the most promising line of inquiry, as it accounted for many of the strange revelations produced by people in a trance state. This notion was first introduced by F.W. Myers in 1886, a founding member of the SPR.
The Eaton Conference was a reasonable start, but hard SF authors have largely been ignored in the debate. For example, the author James Gunn has earned the enmity of some critics. Moreover, the Eaton Conference was a great start in addressing this issue, and the ongoing discussion in print has largely omitted hard SF authors. Those involved in the debate on science fiction and geopolitics can look forward to a long-term and productive future.
While film is by far the most popular medium in terms of geopolitics, television series, videogames, and online videos also play a significant role in shaping perceptions of the world and triggering geopolitical issues. The role of popular culture in world politics is discussed in this book, and Saunders’ analysis of two popular geopolitical interventions in the U.S. and Britain is especially timely given the ongoing conflict between Russia and the U.S.
While war videogames have long been a staple of pop culture, recent developments have resulted in a reassessment of their representative power. Bos argues that videogames – which often have a high degree of realism – play a central role in shaping our perceptions of distant locations, such as Afghanistan. In this essay, Bos examines the role of war videogames in defining national security, militarisation, and escapism.
Unlike traditional political geography, popular geopolitics is less expensive and often uses large-N surveys to examine key issues. The author also makes use of images to conduct analysis and convey ideas, as opposed to being mere illustrations. The concluding chapter, which includes text-based sections and images, reflects the role of researchers in popular geopolitics. It concludes with critical reflections and a further tier of theoretical reflection.
The recent work on reception has also aimed to draw on the roles of novel sites of audience engagement in popular geopolitics. These techniques can help us gain better analytic purchase over artifacts, even if these are only partially related. While direct connections between popular geopolitics and PCWP will always be subject to debate, new insights can be gained by focusing on embodiment and audience. For example, sensitivity to audience and embodiment are both critical for understanding the role of popular geopolitics in popular culture.
The geopolitical themes and symbols in the show South Park have been studied by a variety of scholars. Several writers and scholars have analyzed the theme of South Park to explore its significance in contemporary politics. Some of these writers are Stacy Takacs, Joe Thorogood, and R.B.J. Walker. Others have written on the themes of sovereignty, culture, and politics. Some authors have delved into the study of international politics through satire.
Foucault’s concept of power
Contemporary popular geopolitics draws on the poststructuralist theory and its cultural studies application. Foucault developed the concept of dispositif to describe institutional, physical, administrative, and knowledge structures as sites of power. Foucault also theorised biopower. Aesthetic geopolitics, on the other hand, emphasizes the political and social significance of aesthetics.
Contemporary popular geopolitics makes use of concepts from cultural studies, including the notion of the local other and the ways in which that local other resists and participates in power structures. It also makes use of the notion of the ‘local other,’ working with contexts through radical recontextualisation. And the book’s concluding chapter offers critical analyses of the geopolitics of popular culture.
Despite focusing on the production of geopolitically-infused pop culture, the analysis of popular geopolitics focuses on the way states and their citizens react to Western media. Ultimately, it argues, producers and consumers of geopolitically infused pop culture become part of the foreign policy landscape, bearing responsibility for how the IR process is conducted in the contemporary globalised realm.
While popular geopolitics is a popular genre of film and popular culture, its complexities are still a necessary part of the field of political science. For instance, scholars of popular culture have turned to television shows, zombie films, and comic books to investigate the power relations between people and powers. And they have taken the analysis of popular culture to various genres – such as zombie fiction and war videogames – to a higher level.
Popular culture is an important part of geopolitics, but the broader field of popular geography goes beyond the genre. It draws on gender and feminist scholarship to emphasize how our consumption of popular culture is political. Foucault’s concepts of power can be applied to a wider range of social and political contexts. By applying these theories and concepts, a popular geography can help students understand how the ‘geopolitics of the popular’ relates to Foucault’s work on power.