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Title: Political Geography 5e
Author(s): Colin Flint and Peter Taylor
Date of Publication: 2007 Publisher: Pearson
Pages:xii + 355 ISBN: 0 13 196012 1
Price: Format:Paperback
Target Readership Sen Secondary







Content: 1 – A world systems approach to political geography; 2 - Geopolitics revived; 3 - Geography of imperialisms; 4 - Territorial states; 5 - Nation and nationalism; 6 - Rethinking electoral geography; 7 - Locality politics; 8 - Place and identity politics.

Review: 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.

Now 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 face today.

This 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.





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