Chapter 1: Environmental geopolitics: an introduction to questions and research approaches
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This introductory chapter provides an overview to environmental geopolitics research by first providing background on how geographers study geopolitics. The central feature of geopolitics is geographical knowledge. Geopolitics are claims about the world that draw on particular kinds of geographical knowledge to support a given agenda or perspective. Careful examination of how geographical knowledge and, this book argues, environmental knowledge, are put to use can lead to useful insights about current human–environment interactions. The chapter introduces three entry points to examine geopolitical arguments that invoke environmental themes: question assumptions about the role and meaning of the environment; inquire into how human agency, and power dynamics in particular, is portrayed or obscured; recognize ways in which selective, spatial focus serves to legitimize certain claims or political interests. Additionally, geopolitical claims or discourse may take the form of texts or graphics, physical materialities, identity claims, and practices. Applying these three observations to different forms of geopolitical discourse is a way to question assumptions and generate a more balanced understanding of geopolitical and human–environment processes. The chapter provides an overview of the following content chapters.

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