Tropical Geography ›› 2021, Vol. 41 ›› Issue (6): 1166-1174.doi: 10.13284/j.cnki.rddl.003408

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The Research Progress of Emotional Geopolitics in the West

Peng Lia(), Luchao Yaoa, Yuqian Lina, Da Fengb()   

  1. a.School of Geography, South China Normal University, Guangzhou 510631, China
    b.School of Tourism Management, South China Normal University, Guangzhou 510631, China
  • Received:2021-08-14 Revised:2021-10-07 Online:2021-11-05 Published:2021-11-16
  • Contact: Da Feng;


Emotional geopolitics, as a new field of geopolitical research, advocates that geopolitics should pay more attention to the analysis of emotion. It breaks the dualistic opposition between emotion and reason in classical geopolitical theory, and places emotion at the center of geopolitical analysis. Through the application of non-representational theory, emotional geopolitics takes individual emotion from the periphery to the core. At present, studies on emotional geopolitics in the West have focused on the power geometric relationship of "everyday life-emotion-global politics" from both the macro and micro views. The macroscopic approach constructs the structural relations between different emotions and political actions, attempting to develop general theories on how emotions matter in geopolitics, whereas micro studies focus on how specific emotions gain resonance in particular political circumstances. Microscopic approaches investigate how specific emotions are constituted by and function in particular cultural and political environments, and how emotions in different cultural contexts are localized and serve to interact with global geopolitics. By searching "emotional geopolitics" and "affective geopolitics" as key words in the Web of Science, 145 articles were detected, and 73 of these were reviewed in this study. The number of articles related to emotional geopolitics fluctuated before 2018 and has increased significantly in recent years. The study subjects of this emerging field include youth, housewives, diplomats, and border migrants. The research topics are diverse, mainly including critical geopolitics on global fear, daily life and emotional geopolitical practices, and the relationship between emotion and policy/diplomatic action. First, the emergence of globalized fear associated with terrorism and the War on Terror since 2001 played an important role in shaping the Western geopolitical environment in the past decades. Some scholars tend to criticize the discursive strategies and specific actions of fear geopolitics by arguing that governments and public policies increasingly exploit and recreate the emotion of fear to control and manipulate state decision-making and community actions. Second, emotional geopolitics inspired by feminism, popular geopolitics, and anthropology theoretical approaches, focus on exploring the emotional lives of individuals with the intervention of geopolitical action. Most emotional geopolitics literature draws on the everyday lives of ordinary people, not only focusing on the affective intervention of geopolitics in individuals' daily lives, but also continuously exploring how people emotionally respond to geopolitical events and how these emotions are related to collective action in different contexts. Third, some studies have examined the roles emotions play in policy/diplomacy. As a force of public opinion, emotions provide legitimacy or impetus to geopolitical action. This paper argues that the study of emotional geopolitics can provide a new perspective on the changes in the world system and geopolitical relations caused by the rise of China, enriching the understanding of subjectivity and multi-scale of geopolitics in theory.

Key words: emotional geopolitics, emotion, everyday life, global politics

CLC Number: 

  • K901