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Understanding Geopolitical Text: Key Concepts and Analysis

What is a geopolitical text?

What is a geopolitical text?
A geopolitical text can be any written key material speech, policy document by influential politicians bureaucrats and opinion makers.  The text does not represent a secondary opinion (not an opinion on the opinion but an original idea but sets its own agenda with geopolitical implications. It is not confined to the academic debates but its concepts and the key arguments shape geopolitical thinking and policies of the key players in the world politics.

Why analyze it?

  1. to give a close reading of the text (Find different and multiple ways of reading)
  2. to find a sub-text (or the meaning beneath the obvious meaning of the text)
  3. to bring background to bear upon the text (for example, if you know something about the author, you can understand the text in a deeper way; if you know something about the type of text it is, you can understand the text in a deeper way)
  4. to place the text within a context (of the author's position, for example, or the historical period in which the text was created, or of a certain ideological position)
  5. to use the text to prove a larger thesis and explain the significant political events.

When you analyze a text, you give it meaning beyond what the text tells you directly. This means you are not to give a summary but evaluate its significance explain its key concepts and evaluate its key debates and implications.

What is analysis?
A text can be summarized: that is, you can extract the main points of an argument or condense the plot of a story. When you summarize you essentially report about the contents of the text. This is mainly a descriptive exercise. But when you analyze a text, you ask questions about it so that you can offer a critical interpretation of the text.  

Analysis is the breaking down of something into its component parts. When that something is a text, the reader is examining different aspects of the text.

Here are some general questions that you can use as a model to formulate specific questions about a specific text:

What is the key geopolitical problem or question that motivates the author?

From what geopolitical context and position of power is the author writing?

What sort of geopolitical assumptions and concepts does the author bring to the text?

What argument (or arguments) is the author putting forth?

What contradictions do you find in the text? Why are they there? How do they affect your understanding of the text?

What evidence does the author use to support his or her assertions and geopolitical vision? Why?

How is the text structured? How does the structure affect your understanding of the theme or argument?

What rhetorical choices (concerning style or word choice, for example, labelling some countries as ‘failed states’ or ‘torn countries’ etc.) does the author make? How do these choices help to convey the meaning of the text?

What do you think are the key passages in the text? Why are they important? How do they work with the rest of the text to convey the author's meaning?

Your analysis should be placed in some context of its own with a coherent structure and consistent arguments:

Give your reader a sense of the significance of your analysis: How does your analysis enhance your reader's geopoliticalunderstanding of this text?

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