Introduction: Engaging geopolitics through the Lens of the Intimate

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In this introduction to the special section on “Engaging Geopolitics through the Lens of the Intimate”, we first locate the papers collected here in the context of developing an ‘Intimate Geopolitics’ project at the University of Manchester. We then review the importance of ‘intimacy’ and the concept of ‘the intimate’ across an array of disciplinary studies, drawing especially on the rich body of work by critical geopolitics scholars who have long challenged categorical binaries and territorial boundaries. Our focus here is exploring what insights we can bring to understanding the nexus of intimacy and global politics (Pratt and Rosner 2012), or ‘intimacy-geopolitics’ (Pain 2014), by deploying the lens of the intimate--understood as a variety of processes of attachment and relationality--in six globally dispersed case studies. Collectively, the papers presented here not only engage a wide range of issues and locations, but rather than continuing the predominance of studies at a ‘broad conceptual’ level, they contribute to research engaging geographically “specific spaces and practices” (Little 2019, 2). We note that the papers ‘cluster’ around issues of migration, borders, ‘home’, asylum and visa regimes, prompting us to suggest that the papers productively inform three foci of inquiry. Specifically, the papers 1) enrich our understanding of bordercrossing beyond simple association of this with the movement of people, things and ideas; 2) deepen our understanding of how geopolitics is constituted by forms of attachments and relationality that are integral to forms of governance; and 3) help us explore how attachments are not simply additive but productive of geopolitical concerns.
Original languageEnglish
Early online date3 Jul 2019
Publication statusPublished - 2019


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