critical geopolitics

  • Polish Geopolitical Codes Illustrated with the Example of the Electoral Programs of the Major Political Parties in 1991 – 2011

    Author: Jarosław Macała
    Institution: University of Zielona Góra
    Year of publication: 2017
    Source: Show
    Pages: 7-20
    DOI Address: https://doi.org/10.15804/athena.2017.56.01
    PDF: apsp/56/apsp5601.pdf

    This article is concerned with the research on Polish geopolitical codes following 1989. The problem has not yet been the subject of broader scientific studies or publications. In this aspect, the research is of particular importance for the analysis of foreign policy of Poland, which had to redefine its place in Europe and to fundamentally rebuild external relations, that is also to define the new geopolitical codes. The code system used in this text is based on Colin Flint’s definition, with the key division into allies and enemies. Based on the analysis of discourse, it can be stated that the most important allies of Poland in these codes are the USA, the European Union, Germany, and the enemy is Russia. In general, the fundamental change of Poland’s geopolitical codes following 1989 – from the east side to the west – can quite easily be seen in the electoral programs: the enemies of the People’s Republic of Poland’s period became allies, and the forced ally became an enemy. However, their concretization is generally not original and rather schematic. The Polish geopolitical codes have been exerted with strong influences of the hegemonic geopolitical codes of the West, mainly those of the United States. On the other hand, the last geopolitical code, the attempt to explain to the public the geopolitical imaginations of our elites, has been the weakest. This largely confirms the authoritarian dimension of Polish top-down transformation as well as the dominance of the elites over the society.

  • Russian Geopolitical Advancements in the Black Sea Region: the Annexation of Crimea

    Author: Ostap Kushnir
    Institution: Lazarski University
    Year of publication: 2017
    Source: Show
    Pages: 111-135
    DOI Address: https://doi.org/10.15804/athena.2017.56.07
    PDF: apsp/56/apsp5607.pdf

    The annexation of Crimea is not an ordinary event in contemporary international relations. Since WWII, there has been no precedent in Europe when one state under dubious premises has forcefully annexed a part of another state. This article scrutinizes the Crimean case in the context of the ongoing Ukrainian crisis and uncovers the rationale behind Russia’s aggressive policies in the Black Sea Region. To accomplish this task, several steps have been undertaken. Primarily, the recent speeches of Russian officials and Kremlin-originated documents have been analyzed. Secondly, the tactics favored by the Kremlin to achieve its geopolitical goals have been explained and assessed (through applying frameworks of meta-geography and soft power security). Thirdly, the future prospects for Crimea with its gradual transformation in the counter- NATO fortress have been outlined.

  • Geopolitical Imagination of the Political Elites of the Third Polish Republic: An Outline of the Problem

    Author: Jarosław Macała
    Institution: University of Zielona Góra
    Year of publication: 2019
    Source: Show
    Pages: 62-79
    DOI Address: https://doi.org/10.15804/athena.2019.64.04
    PDF: apsp/64/apsp6404.pdf

    The article deals with the issue of the development of geopolitical imagination of Polish political elites following 1989. The source database of the text are the most important official documents regarding the foreign policy of the Third Polish Republic: the policy statements of subsequent prime ministers and the so-called small policy statements of the ministers of foreign affairs. Discourse analysis and system analysis were used to analyse them, treating them as a social construct. Geopolitical imagination placed Poland in Europe, in the dangerous zone between Germany and Russia and on the border of the two civilizations. The escape from this “fatalism of geography” was the main goal of the elites of the Third Polish Republic. Hence the orientation towards the West, to ensure the exit from peripherality, security and development. To justify such a remodelling of their representations, the elites put forward an idealized image of the West. It facilitated the acceptance of the geopolitical choice made by the society and the associated severe limitation of Poland’s geopolitical and economic autonomy. The vehicles on the way to the West were bandwagoning towards the USA and Germany, which justified clientelism towards them. In various combinations, the representations about Poland’s key role in the post-communist region re-emerged following 1989 to strengthen its position in relation to the West and the East. As for the eastern direction, Poland’s goal was to move the imaginary borders of the West towards our eastern neighbours, mainly Belarus and Ukraine. This must have led to the negative reaction from Russia, which considered this area its sphere of influence. Russia was imagined by us to be an alien and enemy, and the change of this state of affairs would be a consequence of the Westernisation of Russia so desired by the Polish elites. It seems that in the years 1989–2015, one could speak of a certain interpretative community, which the LaJ (Law and Justice/Prawo i Sprawiedliwość) governments broke down following 2015. The LaJ foreign policy has become a hostage of those undermining the liberal democracy of internal political system changes. Their criticism in the EU states isolates and pushes towards servility to Washington. In turn, the Three Seas Initiative is too divided and weak to leverage Poland’s position. It seems that re-approaching the EU’s core may give us some freedom and better protection in external policy.

  • China in the Geopolitical Imaginations of the Polish Pop Music after 1989

    Author: Jarosław Macała
    E-mail: jarekm@o2.pl
    Institution: Uniwersytet Zielonogórski (Poland)
    ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-0788-0747
    Year of publication: 2020
    Source: Show
    Pages: 37-47
    DOI Address: https://doi.org/10.15804/ppsy2020403
    PDF: ppsy/49-4/ppsy2020403.pdf

    This paper focuses on the issue of geopolitics in the pop culture interpretation as illustrated by the Polish pop music after the year 1989. Songs selected from various trends of the Polish popular music made the source material of the text. The primary study method involved the analysis of the lyrics discourse. The Polish geopolitical imaginations used to revolve around the basis axis of better West and worse East, symbolized mainly by Russia, but its image was transferred over entire Asia. Asia, including China, was scarcely present in the geopolitical imaginations contained in the pop music, which, at the same time, reflected the irrelevant interest of Polish elites in global problems. The discourses in the musical texts about China frequently adopted the West’s perspective, where Poland made part of as seen by our elites. The rhetoric strategy concerning China in popular music featured two essential views, which references Orientalism as specified by E. Said. It explains the frequent use of the postcolonial discourse by the Polish elites, also the music ones, which promoted the supremacy of the West over the rest of the world and the universal nature of the Western world values which were meant to be implemented into other civilizations and nations for their own sake. China was presented as a growing threat for the dominance of the West, the USA in the first place, as an alternative model of globalization and international deal putting offthe world by its cultural and geopolitical alienation, as well as indicating negative effects for Poland.

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