The work of Harold and Margaret Sprout and its continued relevance today

Article by: David Criekemans (May 2009) Tags: Harold Margaret Sprout Geopolitics Foreign Policy Analysis

David Criekemans

David Criekemans

Dr. David Criekemans recently presented a paper at the Annual Convention of the International Studies Association in New York, titled: “Where ‘geopolitics’ and ‘foreign policy analysis’ once met: the work of Harold and Margaret Sprout and its continued relevance today”.

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“Where ‘geopolitics’ and ‘foreign policy analysis’ once met: the work of Harold and Margaret Sprout and its continued relevance today” (833 kB)

Summary

Related external links

Onderzoeksgroep Diplomatie en Geopolitiek Personal page of David Criekemans

Voorkant van David Criekemans-boek

“Geopolitiek, ‘geografisch geweten’ van de buitenlandse politiek?”, Garant / Maklu (Antwerpen / Apeldoorn), 2007

The relation between ‘territoriality’ and foreign/international politics has always interested students of both Geopolitics and Foreign Policy Analysis (FPA). These fields of study are much more interrelated than traditionally is acknowledged.

This paper studies the important work of Harold and Margaret Sprout, who played a key role in introducing their insights on ‘geopolitics’ into what later would become known as ‘foreign policy analysis’.

First, a better insight is offered into the ideas of the Sprouts. What did their suggested ‘ecological triad’ entail? What are the consequences of the distinction between the ‘operational’ and the ‘psychological’ milieu for the study of foreign policy? How is ‘cognitive behavioralism’ related to other possible epistemological appreciations regarding the relationship between ‘territoriality’ and ‘foreign policy’? What does the distinction between ‘foreign policy analyses’ and ‘capacity analyses’ mean?

Second, three ways are identified in which Harold and Margaret Sprout influenced IR and FPA.

Third, a reconstruct is made of the ontological, epistemological and methodological assumptions and traits of ‘Cognitive Geopolitics’.

Finally, some critiques are formulated on ‘Cognitive Geopolitics’, while at the same time developing some ideas on the continued relevance today of the work of Harold and Margaret Sprout.

Comments and suggestions on the paper are very much welcomed indeed, and can be send to the editor of ExploringGeopolitics:

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