Acta Geographica Sinica ›› 2016, Vol. 71 ›› Issue (2): 217-.doi: 10.11821/dlxb201602004

• Population and Political Geography • Previous Articles     Next Articles

Progress in recent international political geography research: Towards an analysis of journal papers in Political Geography

Ning AN1,2(), Junxi QIAN1, Xiaoliang CHEN1, Hong ZHU1()   

  1. 1. Centre for Cultural Industry and Cultural Geography, South China Normal University, Guangzhou 510631, China
    2. School of Geographical and Earth Sciences, University of Glasgow, Glasgow G12 8QQ, UK
  • Received:2015-07-12 Revised:2015-10-31 Online:2016-02-15 Published:2016-02-15
  • Supported by:
    Special Program of the Preliminary Study of National Basic Research Program (973 Program), No.2014CB460614;National Natural Science Foundation, No.41171125;China Scholarship Council, No.201306380085


Political geography is an important sub-discipline of human geography. However, existing literature demonstrates that the political geography of China, especially research by indigenous scholars, has not been well represented in the discipline in general, including in international journals. Based on a systematic analysis of journal papers published in the key journal Political Geography over the last decade, this article considers the potential of political geographical research both of and in China. In so doing, this article foregrounds an overview of 391 journal papers published from 2005 to 2015 in Political Geography, through which it concludes that the main themes of these papers can be generalized into six categories: borderlands and boundaries, environmental and climate politics, space and scale, security issues, electoral geography, and social and cultural politics. Among these, space and scale, security issues, and social and cultural politics have usually been understood as comprising the mainstream of political geography, while the others have been viewed as more subsidiary topics. Moreover, this article investigates the methods applied in the papers analyzed, among which qualitative analyses, especially ethnography and textual analysis, are identified as the leading methods, while the use of quantitative analysis has, to a certain extent, been criticized for its limitations. Finally, this article identifies the academic hegemony of developed countries in the Global North, especially the UK and the US, which have long held supremacy in international academia in general. A thorough examination of the research subjects and research institutions of the sampled papers shows that this trend is also reflected in international political geography research. This academic hegemony strongly correlates with the discrepancy between the Global North and the Global South. China's augmenting national power, increasing participation in international affairs, and status as a new emerging geopolitical power mean that there is an urgent need to realize the applicability of political geography to policy making in the Chinese context.

Key words: Political Geography, Anglophone hegemony, political geography study, China