Popular Culture, Geopolitics, and Identity

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9780742556348: Popular Culture, Geopolitics, and Identity
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This innovative and engaging textbook is the first to survey the field of popular geopolitics, exploring the relationship between popular culture and international relations from a geographical perspective. Each chapter focuses on a specific concept—defining it, considering key debates, and offering a concrete case study such as first-person-shooter video games, blogging, and comic books. Students will enjoy the text's accessibility and colorful examples, and instructors will appreciate the way the book brings together a diverse, multidisciplinary literature and makes it understandable and relevant.

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About the Author:

Jason Dittmer is lecturer in human geography at University College London.

Review:

Popular Culture, Geopolitics, and Identity is intended as a textbook for advanced undergraduate students but it could also serve as an introductory text for graduate seminars on culture and international politics, as it provides an eminently readable overview of theories, approaches and perspectives on popular culture and geopolitics in a variety of fields—philosophy, cultural studies, international relations, and geography. The book deftly tackles the limitations of the focus on visuality, representation and narration as privileged venues into politics. (Political Geography)

The Richard Morrill Public Outreach Award is for an individual who has used her or his political geographic expertise to effect change (in public thought or public policy) beyond the academy. The board was particularly impressed with the very readable merger of social theory and critical geopolitics and the potential the book has to reach a wide audience of non-academics. (Political Geography Specialty Group of the Association of American Geographers)

Dittmer strives to give advanced undergraduate and beginning graduate students an overview of this emerging sub-discipline by employing an easily digestible, informal tone as he examines its intellectual roots, underlying theories, and current debates. . . . His casual tone keeps his audience from feeling overwhelmed by the complexity of his concepts. He includes enough history of the sub-discipline to provide context, without losing readers in an abyss of which social scientist said what. By the end of the book readers have a general understanding of the popular geopolitical landscape, and in the last chapter Dittmer leaves the readers with a valuable index of resources to which they can refer as they continue their explorations. . . . Throughout his book, Dittmer establishes himself as a trustworthy mediator and conveyor of information, and helps pulls the reader out of his or her own social constructions and narratives so that by the end of the book the reader should ironically feel like they know less about themselves and the world. This text offers a great introduction to popular geopolitics for advanced undergraduates and beginning graduate students as it has the usefulness of a textbook, but is an intriguing and accessible read. (Social & Cultural Geography)

Among Dittmer’s many achievements in this book is his success in rendering accessible some of the social sciences’ most complex theories. . . . Dittmer offers senior undergraduate and junior graduate students a uniquely user-friendly introduction to scholarship about this relationship; he does this both by employing a clear and conversational writing style, as well as by deploying examples of the concepts he is discussing that are likely to interest the student demographic. . . . [A] superlative classroom resource, and one, moreover, that lends itself well to being the centerpiece of a syllabus. This is because its quality, breadth, and accessibility allow it to be a ‘weight-bearing’ text, and because—and this well befits a book about popular culture—Dittmer’s spirited and capacious approach to his topic makes the text one that ‘plays’ particularly well with others. We encourage instructors of cultural, media, and political geographies to consider it for their courses. (Journal of Geography in Higher Education)

That critical scholars address the unconverted in so few of our writings attests all the more to the importance of Dittmer’s book, and to its status as a resource for pedagogy aimed at countering blindness to ideology and defenselessness against it. (Reecia Orzeck, Illinois State University Journal of Geography in Higher Education)

Very approachable for students, especially undergraduates. It is written in an engaging manner without pretension. Terms, theories, methods are defined in 'glossary boxes' on the page where the terms are used. . . . One of the book’s great strengths is its approachability and its flexibility. It is fairly easy and enjoyable to read, even as it introduces challenging concepts such as affect or Lacanian psychoanalysis. With this strength, it also has the flexibility to be used in a range of upper-level human geography classes, such as political geography, cultural geography, or a class on geography and popular culture. . . . [A] welcome new resource for our teaching repertoires. (Christina Dando, University of Nebraska Omaha Journal of Geography in Higher Education)

Dittmer’s work has helped to reinvigorate and make vibrant a subfield concerned with issues of how power and space come together to help shape identities and the landscapes and places within which we live. The book is engaging on many levels and [allows] many opportunities for comprehensive discussions on the wide variety of topics and concepts presented in the book. . . . I use the book because, importantly, I like it and because it examines, through its insightful discussions of a wide variety of topics, the role of popular culture in geography. (James Craine, California State University, Northridge Journal of Geography in Higher Education)

In this important introduction to the field Jason Dittmer has brilliantly synthesized the literature on war, identity, geography, affect, media, and culture to produce a very readable guide to popular geopolitics. He clearly shows how everyday lives and popular entertainments are enmeshed in discourses of danger. Both a textbook and a theoretical synthesis, this engaging volume brings critical geopolitics to a wide audience of readers interested in contemporary violence and popular culture. (Simon Dalby, Carleton University)

Jason Dittmer in a skilled and entertaining way takes the reader through the complex interrelationships between popular culture, identity, and critical geopolitics. The result is a satisfying tour d'horizon, which considers cartoons, comic books, film, television, video games, and the Internet on the one hand and, on the other, examples from the British Empire, contemporary America, and a host of other locales around the world. It is the book I, as a teacher, have been waiting for and will now adopt most gratefully for my classes. (Klaus Dodds, University of London)

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