How big was the biography of General Zukoff in Russia
Discourses of geopolitics and the 'New Cold War' - On changing media representations of Russia and 'the East'
'Archives of Geopolitics' as a discourse-theoretical framework
The geopolitical models examined are relevant for understanding and critical societal handling of discursive framing of current conflict constellations in international politics. They are part of a broader field of research in political geography, which, from the perspective of critical geopolitics, deals with their role in framing international conflicts and the resulting political and warlike practices (see e.g. Lossau, 2002; Ó Tuathail, 1996 ; Ó Tuathail et al., 2006; Reuber and Wolkersdorfer, 2003, 2004, 2007; Dodds et al., 2013; on the criticism Müller and Reuber, 2008; Redepenning, 2006, 2007). In relation to discursive key terms such as'geopolitics' and ,Cold War‘It is interesting both now and in the future to observe the dynamics and roles of relevant political risk narratives, especially historically proven models of international opponents. In this sense, the aim of the analysis is to work out whether and in what form geopolitical East-West scenarios and models after the end of the historical one cold War inscribed in the re-conceptualization of international politics. In addition, it is investigated to what extent and in which contextual contouring historically established geopolitical discourse formations are (again) effective as “practiced” geopolitical spatial constructions from past decades.
This requires an expansion of the conceptual perspective of critical geopolitics. Approaches are needed that deal with changes in social discourse over time and enable statements to be made about the reappearance of historical models. In order to theoretically support such a questioning direction, discourse-analytical approaches can be helpful. A fundamental impetus for this is provided by Foucault, who in many of his case studies (e.g. Focault, 1973; Focault and Sennelart, 2006) has dealt with discursive shifts and upheavals, some of which are very long-term. In his “Archeology of Knowledge” (Foucault, 1981), he also addressed aspects of temporality and temporal change in discursive formations in an attempt, which in some cases remained fragmentary, to formulate general theoretical and methodological foundations for his analysis.
From his point of view, changes and shifts are fundamental features of social discourse. Accordingly, he assumes that current discourses derive part of their effectiveness and their hegemonic power of interpretation from their historical existence. This aspect indicates that "the discourse has not only a meaning or a truth, but also a story" (Foucault, 1981: 184f.). With such a conceptualization, Foucault depicts the genealogy of discursive formations, the change in argumentation structures, (conceptual) connections, etc. as a historical process. From this point of view, discourses have their current content-related specifics, among other things, because they refer to past forms that are also today still develop their effect. “[T] his events once worked within their original situation; they have left traces, continue to exist and through this persistence exercise a number of manifest and hidden functions within history ”(Foucault et al., 2001: 762). The entirety of the historical discourse formations from which the current discourses derive their forms of the sayable (as well as the unspeakable and marginalized) is what Foucault describes as an archive. He understands it to be one
according to historical A priori (H. i. O.) structured [n], [...] characterized by different positivity types [n] and divided by distinct discursive formations [...]. You are now dealing with a complex volume [.] […] I propose all these systems of statements (events on the one hand and things on the other), archive (H. i. O.) to be mentioned. [...] The archive is first of all the law of what can be said, the system that governs the appearance of statements as individual events. But the archive is also what has the effect that all these things said do not accumulate into infinity in an amorphous multitude, [...] but that they are arranged in distinct figures, connect with one another due to diverse relationships, assert themselves according to specific regularities or flow away; which means that they do not recede in the same step over time, but that those who shine particularly strongly like nearby stars actually come from far away, while others, still completely young, have already faded extraordinarily (Foucault, 1981: 186ff. ).
The archive is “what the Discourses differentiated in their multiple existence and specified their exact duration. […] It is the general system of formation and transformation of statements"(Foucault, 1981: 188, H. i. O.). For Foucault, the archive becomes a central concept within the framework of his discourse theory; without such an approach, “the 'statements' and the 'discourses' floated, as it were, in undefined space” (Gehring, 2004: 63): “the archive has an abstract function as the system that governs the appearance of statements as unique events "(Withers, 2002: 304).
In this form, from a theoretical-methodological point of view, the archive becomes the discursive background slide in which “the analysis moves” (Gehring, 2004: 63). The results presented below indicate the extent to which this applies to the currently relevant terms of geopolitics and the model of Cold War Reconstruct and interpret the business cycles of geopolitical terms and logic of argumentation. It should also be shown to what extent this form of investigation can be helpful to understand how these develop over time and change - in the sense of discourse-logical shift processes, as they were described by Laclau and Mouffe (1985) following Foucault. The empirical results provide initial evidence that and how corresponding re-updates of elements of historical models in current conflict contexts do not take place “one-to-one”, but rather are subject to a gradual adjustment to changed discursive framework conditions. The meaning with which the central signifiers of old models were linked is flowing and leads to a shifting ascription of meaning, including and recombining elements from past forms of geopolitical risk figures. Such 'semantic gliding' is possible - following a key statement of post-structuralist approaches - because meaning is never completely fixed and because "the transition from the 'elements' to the 'moments' is never entirely fulfilled" (Laclau and Mouffe, 1985: 110 ). Both aspects point to the political character of discourse theory and thus also to its good usability for the conceptualization of corresponding empirical analyzes.
As helpful as such drafts may be, it remains to be critically noted that their role for the cognitive process in the sense of the function of social science theory formation must rather be viewed as a hermeneutic foil for the interpretation of the discourses examined. There is necessarily a certain risk of circular conclusions, in which one z. B. in generating codes or in the qualitative in-depth analysis of individual documents finds exactly those relationships that the researchers' heads have already preformatted through the formulation of theoretical building blocks that guide the investigation. In the field of discourse analysis, one possibility of keeping such a risk within limits is to work quantitatively, in this case lexicometrically, for basic evaluation steps (Chapter 2). In this way, with statistical logic, another machine of truth production is clamped in, which can help not to fall prematurely into interpretations suggested by one's own theoretical approach.
Table 1Overview of the analysis corpora compiled through subject-related keyword research, as of December 2019.
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