Imagined communities and practiced geopolitics

Hungarian Academy of Sciences
Monday, 31 August 2015
10.00 – 11.00

Current events in Ukraine can be analysed through a number of lenses: e.g. regional history, classical geopolitics, treaty obligations. Here I will consider the ongoing conflict in particular by way of two concepts that have played a prominent role in this kind of situation in recent decades: imagined communities and practiced geopolitics. I will particularly stress the importance of these imaginations in crossborder situations (diasporas, irredenta movements and the like) and the significance of the privatization of military force for the practice of geopolitics. To put the Ukraine case in perspective I will dwell on two kinds of comparison, one based on external and the other on internal similarities with the Ukraine. The externally oriented comparison looks at cases of states in between two more or less opposing larger ones where they can be crushed, can be part of a sphere of influence, act as a buffer or a gateway. The internally oriented comparison looks at the fate of fragile or failed states. Relations between imagined communities and practiced geopolitics are explored.

Herman van der Wusten
University of Amsterdam
The Netherlands
H.H.vanderWusten [at]

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