Professionals of Geopolitics: Agency in International Politics

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Abstract

This article highlights the key role of intellectuals of statecraft – the politicians, academics, consultants, and pundits who regularly participate in and comment on the practice of international affairs – in the practice of geopolitics. These professionals command the institutional and cultural resources required to project particular geopolitical arguments as informed and authoritative. We, therefore, need to carefully unpack the ways in which they influence world politics. To focus on intellectuals of statecraft is not to assign superior or authentic knowledge to them or to needlessly glamorize the high places they inhabit. It is rather to analyse the practices that function as expert and legitimate in public debates. To this end, we need to examine not only what intellectuals of statecraft do or say, but also the institutional and cultural resources that they deploy in their daily practices. The article suggests some strategies for how such contextually rich accounts could be produced.

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