Geopolitics as an Ethnographic Object and Agenda

Publication Date: 
20 June 2022
Wiley Online Library
Publication Language: 
Appearing in: 
Geography Compass

Over the last 3 decades, while ethnography has arguably become a popular and legitimate method to study geopolitics among geographers, anthropologists have increasingly turned towards geopolitics as a popular subject to investigate former and emergent empires as everyday phenomena. Yet, their efforts remain rather disjointed. Written by an anthropologist, this review essay aims to put these rather disjointed efforts into a programmatic conversation and think about how one might (re)calibrate geopolitics as an ethnographic object and agenda. To that end, the essay first takes stock of the existing ethnographic knowledge of geopolitics through a review of selected works by geographers and anthropologists. Then, to help students and scholars of geopolitics from within these cognate disciplines move this engagement forward, the essay concludes by proposing the ‘cultures of geopolitical expertise’ as a productive avenue to recalibrate geopolitics as an ethnographic object and agenda.