We explain what political geography is, what is its object of study and its auxiliary sciences. In addition, differences with geopolitics.
What is political geography?
We understand by political geography the branch of human geography that studies human political organizations and their territorial distribution of the earth’s surface. That is, study the geographical space determined by the boundaries and dynamics of nations, populations , cultures , etc.
Its object of study is truly broad, since they have to do with political institutions in the world. In addition to the division of the globe into countries and territories, it addresses geopolitical, economic and international dynamics, as well as population exchange dynamics and their repercussions on the mode of organization of human societies .
In the latter it is distinguished from Political Science or Politology, since it also contemplates culture, society and other important elements that escape the strictly political.
The origin of political geography is closely linked with that of human geography and ethnography , which initially responded to the needs of the great European Empires to know and organize the world that was distributed and considered as objects of study to the Other cultures and populations.
For these and other reasons the discipline began to decline in the mid-twentieth century. However, it resurfaced in the 70s and 80s free of geographical determinism and other problematic interpretative trends.
Importance of political geography
Political geography is a booming discipline, especially in recent times of globalization , regional integration and debate over the dynamics of territorial and political organization of societies.
This has also caused a growing contact between her and other branches of geography , such as economic, social and cultural. Together they offer a multidisciplinary approach of the contemporary academy.
Objects of study of political geography
Political geography chooses as the main objects of study the relations between population, administration and territory, according to three levels of study that allow structuring the analysis:
- The State , as the base organizer of the conflicting political forces and principal administrator of the territory;
- International relations , which cover the geopolitical, geoeconomic and geostrategic dynamics expressed by the States;
- The provincial or regional regional , which is an internal level of the State, its internal administration and internal division.
Auxiliary sciences of political geography
Political geography has such a wide field of study that it usually intersects with other disciplines , such as economics , history , law (especially international), sociology , demography and other social sciences .
Also are frequent contacts with other branches of geography , and social geography , economic geography and physical geography .
Political and geopolitical geography
We must not confuse these two terms. Geopolitics studies international struggles to exercise power in geographical domains , which occur between different states and global actors. It is an analytical science oriented towards rivalries, confrontations and conflicts, in which economic, diplomatic and military factors intervene.
Political geography, on the other hand, deepens the geographical constitution of states and many other elements that geopolitics, in its desire to focus on power , set aside.