Those who argue that political geography has no place in ecology
clearly haven't been following a whole suite of problems from
acid rain to global warming! Obviously, it is now clear that
everything we do (and need to do) in terms of planet management
depends on being able to work politically with other groups.
A starting point is an understanding of the basics of politics
in spatial matters which is where this text comes in.
in its fifth edition, this text is one of the key introductory
books. It seeks to explain the basic concepts of both global
and local political geography. In doing so it aims to provide
theoretical underpinnings as well as some more empirical observations.
We start with a theoretical perspective. A key element of political
geography is how nations interact. One example of this, and
the one favoured by the authors, is Wallerstein's world-systems
model - essentially a single-world view whereby differences
are created and maintained through capitalistic processes. However
one may view this perspective is has value for ecology in that
it recognises one system as ecologists recognise on global biome.
From this introduction we move on to consider the development
of geopolitics. Here, the practicalities of the system meet
the theory seen in chapter one. The aim is to show how different
perspectives can alter our views and our institutions. Again,
a useful concept given that we need to focus on global issues.
The next three chapters form a group centred around the idea
of spatial inclusion and exclusion. The former is studied in
chapter three where imperial measures can take land into a political
system. This contrasts with chapters four and five where the
aim is to look at creating a specific area (and keeping it)
and making sure that it is identified as a unique area (i.e.
state-making and national identity respectively. In a slight
departure, chapter six looks at voting patterns and the impact
of elections on governance. The final two chapters focus on
the local area in terms of power systems (with an especially
useful look at the influence of world cities) and the essential
tensions between places. As such these concluding chapters aim
to focus our minds on some of the practical difficulties we
is an excellent introduction to political geography. Current
ecological and environmental issues demand that we rise above
more simplified notions of politics to create a useful dialogue
and hopefully move debates on key issues like global warming
forward. To do this we need to understand the systems we are
working in. To help the beginner in this field the book provides
numerous aids e.g. chapter summaries, glossaries, reading lists
and activities all of which add to the value of the text. The
key notion which sets this book aside from others is its blending
of theory and practice in a way to make the former accessible
and useful whilst allowing the latter to improve our understanding
through example. This should be seen as one of the best texts
in its field.