GEO122 Lecture Notes
January 4 , 2013 - Modernization
Definition: An interlocking set of social, economic, political and cultural processes and relationships
associated with the European vith of the modern society. This view was developing from the 17
century, and until the mid 20 century, it was widely regarded as a global norm to which all states
• The idea of ‘modernity’ situates people in time. It suggests that time is divided up into past,
present and future. In each case the relationship between the past, present and future
established by modernity is experienced by people and understood in terms of how it might
change their lives for better or worse. Peoples’ lives were to be transformed through a desire for
modernization. One might say, modernization is a ‘whole way of life.’
Modernization as “progress”
• Understanding modernization in terms of ‘progress’ suggests that society makes a clean break
with a problematic past and does what is necessary to move forward into a better future.
Modern qualities of order, rationality and progress were seen as desirable and better.
• Rostow: “The stages of economic growth” – aka “the anticommunist manifesto”
• W.W. Rostow | The Stages of Economic Growth: A Non-Communist Manifesto (1960): The
history of each society could be understood through 5 stages: traditional society; the
preconditions for take-off; take-off; the drive to maturity; and the age of high mass consumption.
• A highly Eurocentric view: Britain, with its ‘Industrial Revolution,’ had been through this process
first and could be followed by the other countries of the world.
• Rostow presented modernization as the ONLY path to progress.
• Modernization as a COLD WAR strategy of the West:
Rostow was writing during a time when decolonizing movements were taking place all over
the world; in the Cold War period and a post-war boom in western Europe and the US, the
idea of modernization as westernization (and seeing that model as orderly progress) was
part of the political move/strategy to combat the appeal of communism to ‘third world’
countries. Hence, Rostow’s title: ‘a non-communist manifesto.’
Modernization as “creative destruction”
Suggests that the changes involved in the process are dramatic, unsettling, and traumatic.
Making a new future means destroying many of the geographies and ways of life of the past and
Acknowledges particular concerns and fascinations with the economic transformations of
‘capitalism’ as a driving force. ‘All that is solid melts into air’ suggests the possibilities for a GEO122 Lecture Notes
changing world, but also how there is destruction of life and the places that had become known,
accepted and familiar.
Berman: “All that is solid melts into the air: the experience of modernity”
Reorientation and urbanization of cities – e.g. Haussmann’s Paris, Casbah, Algiers
• The broad version: The significant increase and organization of flows of ideas, goods, capital,
people and power over and across national borders, leading to greater global integration of
economics, politics and cultures.
– Faster and cheaper transport of communication and IT.
– Transnational organizations & flows.
– Scale: local lives are led on a global scale.
• The narrower version: The current phase of economic modernization, as market principles
extend throughout the world, aided by a neo-liberal philosophy that urges the efficiency and
benefits of competitive and largely unregulated markets.
• That part of the discipline of geography concerned with the spatial differentiation and
organization of human activity and its interrelationships with the physical environment.
• Human Geography is characterized by a concern for both local and global processes.
• What happens over ‘there’ affects what happens over ‘here.’
• The disciplinary lens for the course. There are four approaches, and we will move between
them. Each will be illustrated in the lectures to follow:
• Society-nature relationships in Section VI
• Spatial patterns – almost every section
• The experience of place – Section IV and VIII
• Regional studies: Section VII
January 7 , 2013 – Geopolitics: The Cold War and Since … The Global Arena
Geopolitics defined: Geopolitics studies the political and strategic significance of geography, defined as
the location, size, resources and power of regions and nations. The study of geopolitics focuses on the
ways in which geographical factors shape the character of international politics. GEO122 Lecture Notes
Studies in international relations emphasize the critical role played by geography: ‘Geography is the
most fundamental factor in the foreign policy of states because it is the most permanent’ (Spykman,
quoted in Starr & Siverson, PGQ 1990: 237).
What is the pertinence of geography today in politics?
The term ‘geopolitics’ was first used by Swedish political scientist Rudolf Kjellen in 1899, but did
not become popular until used in the early 20 century by British geographer and strategist
Mackinder proposed a very influential thesis built around the centrality of geography in world
military relations, a perspective that found support in US military and strategic circles until the
end of the Cold War.
Mackinder’s heartland map: an ambition for European domination
To Mackinder and to many for that matter, this was the grand vision for global geopolitics.
There he claimed, two global power blocs which he called the landman and the seaman. The
landman had a particular and secure territory in Eurasia, a continental region that was
inaccessible to naval power. In 1904, it was referred to as the pivot area, but by 1919, it
assumed a more familiar name, the heartland of the large land mass he called the world island.
Mackinder claimed that only military entry to the heartland was through Eastern Europe. To the
south was a formidable mountain range, to the east the barren wastes of Siberia, to the north
frozen and remote ocean. So, Eastern Europe became of particular strategic significance.
“Who rules East Europe commands the Heartland;
Who rules the Heartland commands the World Island;
Who controls the World Island commands the World.”
Cold war brought prominence to Mackinder’s theory
- Sea power became extremely important to the Americans during the Cold War
Mackinder’s theory short-sighted?
Spykman’s Rimland Theory
There is more than sea and land! But, enter air force!
Seversky: argued for air power, especially going into WW2
Big push for air power Even Walt Disney made a film “victory through air power”
• Some recent approaches to geopolitics called ‘critical geopolitics’, refuse to accept the
objectivity and timelessness of the effects of geography on political process. Rather than arguing
over the true effects of geography on international relations – whether land or sea powers are
strongest, as Mackinder, de Seversky and others may have debated, critical geopolitics asks GEO122 Lecture Notes
whose models of international geography are used, and whose interests these models serve (J.
Sharp, Chapter 3 in course reader).
- Refuse to accept the objectivity and timelessness of the effects of geography o political
- Argue: we need to do more – i.e. how are the models of IR and geopolitics used, and who it
• Critical geopolitics has also begun to address feminist concerns. To incorporate feminist political,
theoretical and methodological challenges to critical geopolitics.
• The genealogy of critical geopolitics as a form of knowledge has been exclusionary of feminist
thought, and female scholars, even though it draws on themes (such as critiquing the distinction
made between 'outside' space and 'domestic' spaces) that feminists have worked on for some
- Geopolitics has been exclusionary of feminist thought and female scholars
- Geopolitics at the nation-state-level; How about the individual level?
- Looks at the history of IR and how it has silenced and excluded women; the role of
international labor migration, the availability of cheap women labor
- How are power and knowledge correlated? How are they used?
- How do we know what we know? Who decides what is important knowledge? Who
disseminates that knowledge?
Methodologically, feminist geopolitics has sought to go beyond the textual analysis typical of
much critical geopolitics in an attempt also to consider how the geopolitical is (re)made on and
through individual bodies using qualitative field methods. Such accounts have to be politically
situated and engaged, and are often highly political and passionate. Feminist geopolitics takes to
task the ways in which the history of international politics has excluded and silenced: the role of
international labor migration, the availability of cheap female labor for transnational corporate
investment and capital, or examining how and why cheap labor becomes a pseudonym for
January 9 , 2013 – the Horn of Africa
Berlin conference – scramble for Africa
Africa divided up arbitrarily, without consultation of Africans themselves GEO122 Lecture Notes
The Horn of Africa – Somalia, Ethiopia, Djibouti, Eritrea – remains in the news with a precarious
government in Somalia supported by the West and the UN governing only a tiny portion of the territory.
“The world’s most utterly failed state” The Economist 2008.
There have been many power plays by outside interests from the colonial period to the Cold War. The
Horn of Africa is instructive in the merging of geographical scales as global superpowers engage local
conditions. Cold War (super) powers do not always prevail. The Horn also reminds us of global
interdependence. Why are there over 100,000 Somalis in Canada?
1. Colonial period. The Horn of Africa is poor with few resources; coastal desert and interior highlands of
Ethiopia. Periodic severe drought. But it has a significant geopolitical location, a) at the head of the Red Sea route
to Europe, b) close to the oil-rich Arabian peninsula. European colonialism inspired by location not place; political
boundaries paid no attention to local conditions. The Horn is a site of ongoing global-local relationships.
2. Independence in 1960 and a greater Somalia formed. Western bases remained, but USSR established links with
Somalia and a naval base in Berbera. Ethiopia pro-western, until 1974 coup by Marxist officers, hostile to US.
Several regional uprisings in Ethiopia, including Eritrea and also Ogaden desert by „Ethiopian‟ Somalis. Ethiopia-
Somalia border war follows. Chaos. US now „allied‟ with a hostile Marxist gov‟t in Ethiopia, USSR allied with a
socialist gov‟t in Somalia, which is hostile to Marxist Ethiopia.
3. Musical chairs. 1977: US expelled from Ethiopia; USSR moves in & calls for all regional Marxist groups fighting
the Marxist Ethiopian government to form a confederation with the government [ho ho!]. Somalia expels USSR,
welcomes US. Now a US base at Berbera.
4. 1980s: severe drought & famine, 1984-5; 1 million die. Huge western relief effort. Canadian peacekeepers in
Somalia. Five independence groups fighting in Ethiopia; gov‟t falls 1991. USSR exhausted. Eritrea independent.
Atrocities by Somali gov‟t, propped up by US. Gov‟t also falls in 1991. US in charge? Black Hawk Down in
Mogadishu 1993. US withdraws from Somalia.
5. Since 1993: Clan-based warlords in Somalia, civil wars in Ethiopia, periodic droughts and famine.
2004: Somali President elected by leaders in Kenya: “Somalia is a failed state and we have nothing”.
2005 in Ethiopia: mass killings and imprisonment coincide with elections.
2006 Islamic movement routs Somali warlords. Weak UN-recognised Somali gov‟t calls in Ethiopian troops.
2007 US declares role of Al-Qaeda, approves new Somali gov‟t, and bombs retreating Islamists. Disorder again in
Mogadishu, the capital: uprising against Ethiopian troops, return of warlords, gov‟t retreats. More mayhem. 1
million displaced. GEO122 Lecture Notes
2008 Return of drought and famine. Ethiopian troops withdraw, jihadist forces advance. The Somali „national gov‟t‟
is bunkered down and ineffective. Piracy off Somali coast massively disrupts global shipping: 2007-11 ransoms of
over $400m paid. Somalis finally benefit from geopolitical location on world shipping lanes!
2010-12 despite a global naval armada, the pirate threat spreads down the African coast and towards territorial
waters of India. Early 2011, over 600 hostages and 26 vessels held by pirates. Severe drought returns, many die;
huge refugee flows from war & famine to Kenya.
Italians, British took Somalia
1960: northern and southern Somalia united to become independent Somalia nation
Throughout its history, it has relied on foreign powers to maintain its military power (mostly
USSR took Berbera, Somalia: used it to build military, and air force base
Access to Berbera, gave USSR gave them a presence in Indian Ocean, Persian Gulf to counter
- Traditionally a Western-favoring nation, until a Marxist military coup
- Marxist takeover and anti-West
- USSR was also hostile to Marxist Ethiopia
- Favoured to be occupied by France – why? Vote tampering, and widespread Europeans
inside the nation
- Most resident Somalians voted for Somalian reunification
- 1977: third referendum, 98.8% supported disengaging from French authority this marked
- Previous French colony
- British took it up – lead to mass revolutions
- It was then annexed by neighbouring Ethiopia
- 1991: independence
1980s/ 90s: shift in views of Africa, “We are the World”
- Major drought in Horn of Africa, Michael Jackson and Lionel Richie get together for “we are
the world” campaign
1991: collapse of USSR, fall of American-backed Ethiopian government
Black Hawk Down/ Battle of Mogadishu:
- “leave no behind” – ironic? Since Africa had been left behind GEO122 Lecture Notes
Failed states, measured by…
- Demographic pressures
- IDPS, refugee
- Human flight
- Uneven development
- De-legitimization of the state
- Public services
- Human rights
- Factionalized elites
- External intervention
Most failed states:
6. Central African Republic
8. Ivory coast
Most failed states from Africa
- Superpowers turned a blind eye to understand local conditions; they saw space not place
- Global labels of “Marxist,” “socialist,” were often flags of convenience – local forces were
tribal and clan-based; these were primary loyalties and identities
- The global did not suppress the local; resistance, accommodation. Now, more recently, with
piracy, the local is even disrupting the global
Why should we care about the Horn of Africa?
How does who they are and what they do affect us?
- Canada has one of the largest Somalian diaspora in the Western world
- Many young Somalian Canadian men dying in Albertan oil sands
- African experience constantly appears in a discourse understood only through negative
interpretation this reduces African history to an incomplete, distorted history of an entire
continent GEO122 Lecture Notes
a) Superpowers didn’t understand local conditions. Like colonial nations they saw space not place.
b) Global labels “Marxist’ etc. were often flags of convenience. Local forces were tribal and clan-based; these were
primary loyalties and identities.
c) The global did not simply suppress the local: resistance, accommodation. Now, with piracy, the local is even
disrupting the global.
d) The world is a messier place than simple classifications imply (eg omnipotent Cold War ‘superpowers’, or the
hegemony of ‘the global’).
January 11, 2013 – Oil production and use, “oil as weapon”
1. Oil, the world’s most strategic resource; both a geopolitics of resources & of location (in Middle East).
2. Geography of supply dominated by:
ME (=Middle East): 31%, with Saudi Arabia 13.5%, 2005;
Russia now second (12%).
Both sources vulnerable geopolitically. Geography of demand highly correlated with econ.
N. Am (US consumed 25% of world oil production), W. Europe, Japan, and, fast rising, China and India.
1960s: USA, Venezuela, Russia (only ~15% from the Middle East)
Now: Middle East dominate oil production (about 31% of global total)
A small number of countries dominate in the production of natural gas: together Russia (21%), the US
(19%), and Canada (6%) produce almost 50% of the global total; no other country produces more than
Biggest user? USA – why? War machine
OPEC(= Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries): formed 1960s and included most ME
producers by 1970. Objectives: economic & political – ‘oil as weapon.’
1973: first major oil shock (and abrupt end of post-war boom) oil prices went from $3/barrel
to $12/ barrel countries had to ration oil
OPEC crisis of 1973: oil embargo of Arab OPEC members against the West GEO122 Lecture Notes
OPEC started to mobilise following Arab defeat in 1967 war with Israel, and acted after 1973 defeat,