It is the right time to outline the path of geopolitical thinking from its birth to its current state, and to create a historical and theoretical synthesis. István Szilágyi has accomplished this task in his monograph, The Theory of Geopolitics. The book was edited and published by Pallas Athéné Books and presented by Norbert Csizmadia, President of the Board of Trustees of PAIGEO Foundation. The highlight of the book lauch hosted by the House of Wisdom was the conversation of the author with the president of the board of trustees about the questions examined in the book, for instance how the geopolitical view of the space has evolved to what is now the concept of the five-dimensional space.
In the history of Pallas Athéné Books’ publishing this is the first book written by a Hungarian author. A result of twelve years of research The Theory of Geopolitics sheds light on the notion, history and the most influential thinkers of the discipline.
The first appearance of geopolitics as the multidisciplinary social science focusing on the spatial and partly geographic aspects of international relations dates back to the last decades of the 19th and the first decade of the 20th century in various academic disciplines and in the world of higher education, political thinking and political decision making. Today it is an inevitable, if not downright trendy topic in public life and in the public discourse among political analysts, politicians, economic experts and economists, journalists and news commentators, geographers, historians, sociologists and scientists alike.
The rebirth of this century-old concept is a welcome phenomenon. However, when it comes to the definition of geopolitics we will find a number of differing views, interpretations and approaches. Besides the diversity of the various perspectives and reflections there are also some negative connotations attached to the discipline. For this reason it’s time to outline the path of geopolitical thinking from its birth to its current state, and to create a historical and theoretical synthesis.
The book provides an insight into the historical evolution of the discipline: the German school of geopolitics was institutionalised in the 1920’s and 1930’s owing to the efforts and under the spiritual guidance of General Karl Ernst Haushoffer. His findings and conclusions however were used by the Nazi Germany to support its aggressive and invasive foreign policy. This explains why after World War II geopolitical theory became an unwanted discipline in the world of social sciences.
The 1970’s in France saw the rebirth of geopolitical thinking. During the half-century period elapsed since then a rapid evolution occurred in the geopolitical theory. Its thematic basis expanded and its notion of space has become five-dimensional. In addition to the traditional dimensions of land, sea and air now it includes the investigation of the geospace or outer space and of the cyberspace as part of the broadly defined information sphere.
The monograph consisting of five chapters and a bibliography provides an overview of the works of the greatest figures in geopolitical thinking. It investigates the geopolitical system of the Cold War era. A separate chapter focuses on the geopolitics of the new historic period starting from 1990, exploring the relations of the international systems and globalisation, and the geopolitical factors of global security. The book provides an insight into the subject of continuity and discontinuity of geopolitical thinking according to geographical region and social structures. It provides an analysis of the issues of five-dimensional space structure and of critical geopolitics.
Based on the thoughts and analyses discussed in the body of the book, the final chapter of the monograph attempts to convey a summary of the geopolitical and geostrategic factors – the natural and social environment, human factors and resources, the interrelations of power, rule and force, the geopolitical structures and levels, and the geopolitical codes and models.
As Norbert Csizmadia synthesised István Szilágyi’s work: 250 pages, five enthralling chapters from the birth to the future of geopolitics.
Dr István Szilágyi is a full professor at the Department of Political Geography, Development and Regional Studies of the Institute of Geography and Earth Sciences of the University of Pécs, and a lecturer in four doctoral schools: at the Doctoral School of Political Sciences of Corvinus University of Budapest, at the Interdisciplinary Doctoral School and the Doctoral School of Earth Sciences of the University of Pécs and at the Doctoral School of History of the University of Szeged.
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