Toggle Main Menu Toggle Search

Open Access padlockePrints

Political geography and language: A reappraisal for a diverse discipline

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Ingrid A. MedbyORCiD



This is the authors' accepted manuscript of an article that has been published in its final definitive form by Wiley-Blackwell Publishing Ltd, 2020.

For re-use rights please refer to the publisher's terms and conditions.


The information, practices and views in this article are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the opinion of the Royal Geographical Society (with IBG). © 2019 Royal Geographical Society (with the Institute of British Geographers). After decades of going beyond the linguistic and textual concerns of early critical geopolitical scholarship, literatures in political geography are today offering rich engagements with the affective, material, embodied, and technological world. However, this paper argues that despite pressures to continually break new intellectual ground, political geography needs not and should not move wholly past concerns with language and language use. Instead, there is at present a need to reassess the value of language as both analytical topic and academic practice; not as alternative, but additive to new insights and conversations. The paper sketches how attention to language has been foregrounded and backgrounded in political geographical endeavours, using the examples of “new Cold War” claims and cybersecurity to show what some consider dichotomous approaches may be brought into conversation. A new research agenda is broadly outlined in order to diversify the discipline. This call for engagement with the linguistic extends not just to the empirical and methodological, but also the academically political: in efforts to diversify the academy, language is a key topic to be grappled with. In reconsidering academic practices, the argument thus extends to writing, publishing, and research writ large: through language and language use, political geography too may be re-articulated.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Medby IA

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Area

Year: 2020

Volume: 52

Issue: 1

Pages: 148-155

Print publication date: 01/03/2020

Online publication date: 26/05/2019

Acceptance date: 30/04/2019

Date deposited: 11/08/2021

ISSN (print): 0004-0894

ISSN (electronic): 1475-4762

Publisher: Wiley-Blackwell Publishing Ltd


DOI: 10.1111/area.12559


Altmetrics provided by Altmetric