Acta Geographica Sinica ›› 2015, Vol. 70 ›› Issue (6): 851-863.doi: 10.11821/dlxb201506001

• Orginal Article •     Next Articles

The re-interpretation of the classical geopolitical theories from a critical geopolitical perspective

Zhiding HU1,2(), Dadao LU1()   

  1. 1. School of Tourism and Geography Science, Yunnan Normal University, Kunming 650500, China
    2. Institute of Geographic Sciences and Natural Resources Research, CAS, Beijing 100101, China
  • Received:2014-08-13 Revised:2015-01-07 Online:2015-06-20 Published:2015-07-16
  • Supported by:
    National Natural Science Foundation of China, No.41401157;Study on Coordinated Development between New-type Urbanization and Resource Development among the Mountainous Area of Yunnan


The rise to supremacy and decline of big powers are all subject to the laws of geopolitics. Geographers should keep up with the pace of the times, and accurately get an overall understanding of the interests of the state to seize the opportunity to contribute to the great rejuvenation of Chinese nation. However, the lack of criticism for history and philosophy of geopolitics will make it unable to understand the practice of geopolitical theory accurately and effectively. Therefore, this paper introduces the development of the critical geopolitics, which summarizes three characteristics of critical geopolitics so as to explain the four classical geopolitical theories. In order to simplify the explanation and interpretation, this paper first proposes an analytical framework of four classical geopolitical theories. Secondly, we explain "The Geographical Pivot of History" put forward by Mackinder as a focal point. Lastly, we draw a conclusion on the four classic critical geopolitical theories. The conclusion made through the critical interpretation is that the classical theory of geopolitics is not only scientific, but also hypothetic and idealistic to some extent. The construction of the classical geopolitical theory is established based on international geopolitical structure, spatial distribution of the interests of the state and space conflicts between countries, which shows the identity of theoretical constructionist, and reflects the historical, social and situational sides of the geopolitical theory and geography - power structure.

Key words: critical geopolitics, geopolitics, national organism theory, sea power theory, land power theory, edge district theory