Children, Young People and Critical Geopolitics: 1st Edition (Hardback) book cover

Children, Young People and Critical Geopolitics

1st Edition

By Matthew C. Benwell, Peter Hopkins


224 pages

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Young people, and in particular children, have typically been marginalised in geopolitical research, positioned as too young to understand or relate to the adult-dominated world of international relations. Integrating current debates in critical geopolitics and political geography with research in children’s geographies, childhood studies and youth research, this book sets out an agenda for the field of children’s and young people’s critical geopolitics. It considers diverse practices such as play, activism, media consumption and diplomacy to show how children’s and young people’s lives relate to wider regional and global geopolitical processes. Engaging with contemporary concepts in human geography including ludic geopolitics, affect, emotional geographies, intergenerationality, creative diplomacy, popular geopolitics and citizenship, the authors draw on geopolitical research with children and young people from Europe, Asia, Australasia, Africa and the Americas. The chapters highlight the ways in which young people can be enrolled, ignored, dismissed, empowered and represented by the state for geopolitical ends. Notwithstanding this state power, the research presented also shows how young people have agency and make decisions about their lives which are influenced by wider geopolitical processes. The focus on the lives of children and young people problematises and extends what it is we think of when considering ’the geopolitical’ which enriches as well as advances critical geopolitical enquiry and deserves to be taken seriously by political geographies more broadly.


'For those considering how everyday life is imbricated in geopolitics, this volume is a must-have. While its most obvious contribution can be found in foregrounding the role of children and young people in geopolitics, I think it more broadly pushes us to think carefully about the spaces and times in which geopolitical agency emerges in unexpected ways.’ Jason Dittmer, University College London, UK ’How do children see and respond to prevailing geopolitical imaginaries in their everyday lives? Benwell and Hopkins have assembled an outstanding volume that advances both critical geopolitics and children’s geographies by probing their subjectivities and the quotidian ways in which they are militarised. Children should be seen, heard, and understood as actors who are not merely the humanitarian victims of violent wars, but brokers and makers of geopolitical knowledge. Drawing on emotional, feminist, and other intimate geopolitics, the authors in this collection mobilise rich original research to foreground the agency and relationships of young people to geopolitics, from Laos to London, India to Cyprus, Australia to the Falkland Islands, and more.’ Jennifer Hyndman, York University, Canada

Table of Contents

Contents: Foreword, Klaus Dodds; Introducing children's and young people's critical geopolitics, Matthew C. Benwell and Peter Hopkins; Crossing points: contesting militarism in the spaces of children's everyday lives in Britain and Germany, Kathrin Horschelmann; Children, young people and the everyday geopolitics of British military recruitment, Matthew F. Rech; Ludic - or playful - geopolitics, Sean Carter, Philip Kirby and Tara Woodyer; Children's emotional geographies and the geopolitics of division in Cyprus, Miranda Christou and Spyros Spyrou; Life, love, and activism on the forgotten margins of the nation state, Sara H. Smith and Mabel Gergan; Young Falkland Islanders and diplomacy in the South Atlantic, Matthew C. Benwell; 'Dear Prime Minister…' Mapping island children's political views on climate change, Elaine Stratford; Critical geopolitics of child and youth migration in (post)socialist Laos, Roy Huijsmans; Young people's engagement with the geopolitics of anti-apartheid solidarity in 1980s' London, Gavin Brown and Helen Yaffe; Becoming geopolitical in the everyday world, Kirsi Pauliina Kallio; Conclusion, Matthew C. Benwell and Peter Hopkins; Index.

About the Authors

Matthew C. Benwell is Lecturer in Human Geography and Peter Hopkins is Professor of Social Geography, both in the School of Geography, Politics and Sociology at Newcastle University, UK.

About the Series

Critical Geopolitics

Critical Geopolitics
Over the last two decades, critical geopolitics has become a prominent field in human geography. It has developed to encompass topics associated with popular culture, everyday life, architecture and urban form as well as the more familiar issues of security, international relations and global power projection. Critical geopolitics takes inspiration from studies of governmentality and biopolitics, gender and sexuality, political economy and development, postcolonialism, as well as the study of emotion and affect. Methodologically, it continues to employ discourse analysis and is engaging with ethnography and participatory research methods. This rich field continues to develop new ways of analysing geopolitics. This series provides an opportunity for early career researchers as well as established scholars to publish theoretically informed monographs and edited volumes that engage with critical geopolitics and related areas such as international relations theory and security studies. With an emphasis on accessible writing, the books in the series will appeal to wider audiences including journalists, policy communities and civil society organizations with interests in international affairs and practices of security, identity, and power.

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Human Geography
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Children's Studies