Skip to main content
×
Home
    • Aa
    • Aa

Geopolitics, social forces, and the international: Revisiting the ‘Eastern Question’

Abstract
Abstract

This article contributes to current debates in materialist geopolitics and contemporary IR theorising by restating the centrality of social forces for conceptualising geopolitics. It does so by offering a detailed conceptual reading of the corpus of the ‘Eastern Question’, which is composed of a series of political analyses written by Marx and Engels in the period of 1853–6. This archive presents unique analytical and conceptual insights beyond the immediate temporal scope of the issue. I unpack this argument in three movements. The article (i) offers an overview of the debates on materialist geopolitics; (ii) contextualises the historical setting of the ‘Eastern Question’ and critically evaluates the great powers’ commitment to the European status quo; and (iii) constructs an original engagement with a largely overlooked corpus to reveal the ways in which Marx and Engels demonstrated the interwoven relationship between domestic class interests, the state, and the international system. I maintain that revisiting the ‘Eastern Question’ corpus (i) bolsters the existing materialist frameworks by underscoring the role of class as an analytical category; (ii) challenges an important historical pillar of the balance of power argument; and (iii) empirically strengthens the burgeoning scholarship in international historical sociology.

Copyright
Footnotes
Hide All
*

Earlier versions of this article were presented at the Historical Materialism Annual Conference (London, November 2013), the International Studies Association Annual Conference (Toronto, March 2014), and the 9th Pan-European Conference on International Relations (Giardini Naxos, September 2015). For their helpful comments and suggestions, I would like to thank Andreas Bieler, Ian Bruff, Katja Daniels, Adam David Morton, Jeppe Strandsbjerg, Sébastien Rioux, and the editors and anonymous reviewers of the Review of International Studies.

Footnotes
Linked references
Hide All

This list contains references from the content that can be linked to their source. For a full set of references and notes please see the PDF or HTML where available.

David Newman , ‘Geopolitics renaissant: Territory, sovereignty and the world political map’, Geopolitics, 3:1 (1998), p. 13

Gearóid Ó Tuathail , ‘At the end of geopolitics? Reflections on a plural problematic at the century’s end’, Alternatives: Global, Local, Political, 22:1 (1997), p. 39

Andreas Bieler and Adam David Morton , ‘Axis of evil or access to diesel? Spaces of new imperialism and the Iraq War’, Historical Materialism, 23:2 (2015), pp. 94130

Bob Sutcliffe , ‘Imperialism old and new: a comment on David Harvey’s The New Imperialism and Ellen Meiksins Wood’s Empire of Capital’, Historical Materialism, 14:4 (2006), p. 63

Giovanni Arrighi , ‘Spatial and other “fixes” of historical capitalism’, Journal of World-Systems Research, 10:2 (2004), pp. 527539

Julien Mercille , ‘The radical geopolitics of US foreign policy: Geopolitical and geoeconomic logics of power’, Political Geography, 27:5 (2008), p. 577

Alejandro Colás and Gonzalo Pozo , ‘The value of territory: Towards a Marxist geopolitics’, Geopolitics, 16:1 (2011), pp. 211220

Alejandro Colás and Gonzalo Pozo , ‘A response to our critics’, Geopolitics, 16:1 (2011), pp. 236238

Julien Mercille and Alun Jones , ‘Practicing radical geopolitics: Logics of power and the Iranian nuclear “crisis”’, Annals of the Association of American Geographers, 99:5 (2009), pp. 856862

Gonzalo Pozo-Martin , ‘Autonomous or materialist geopolitics?’, Cambridge Review of International Affairs, 20:4 (2007), pp. 551563

John A. Agnew , ‘Capitalism, territory and “Marxist geopolitics”’, Geopolitics, 16:1 (2011), p. 232

Matthew Rendall , ‘Russia, the Concert of Europe, and Greece, 1821–29: a test of hypotheses about the Vienna system’, Security Studies, 9:4 (2000), p. 54

Sébastien Rioux , ‘International historical sociology: Recovering sociohistorical causality’, Rethinking Marxism, 21:4 (2009), pp. 585604

Kerem Nişancıoğlu , ‘The Ottoman origins of capitalism: Uneven and combined development and Eurocentrism’, Review of International Studies, 40:2 (2013), pp. 325347

Kamran Matin , ‘Uneven and combined development in world history: the international relations of state-formation in premodern Iran’, European Journal of International Relations, 13:3 (2007), pp. 419447

Alexander Anievas and Kerem Nişancıoğlu , ‘What’s at stake in the Transition Debate? Rethinking the origins of capitalism and the “Rise of the West”’, Millennium: Journal of International Studies, 42:1 (2013), pp. 78102

Cemal Burak Tansel , ‘Deafening silence? Marxism, international historical sociology and the spectre of Eurocentrism’, European Journal of International Relations, 21:1 (2015), pp. 76100

Neil Smith , ‘What happened to class?’, Environment and Planning A, 32:6 (2000), p. 1011

Jason Dittmer , ‘Geopolitical assemblages and complexity’, Progress in Human Geography, 38:3 (2014), pp. 385401

Vicky Squire , ‘Reshaping critical geopolitics? The materialist challenge’, Review of International Studies, 41:1 (2014), pp. 139159

Andreas Bieler and Adam David Morton , ‘A critical theory route to hegemony, world order and historical change: Neo-Gramscian perspectives in international relations’, Capital & Class, 28:1 (2004), pp. 85113

Andreas Bieler and Adam David Morton , ‘The deficits of discourse in IPE: Turning base metal into gold?’, International Studies Quarterly, 52:1 (2008), pp. 103128

Andreas Bieler , Ian Bruff , and Adam David Morton , ‘Acorns and fruit: From totalization to periodization in the critique of capitalism’, Capital & Class, 34:1 (2010), pp. 2537

Ian Bruff , ‘The totalisation of human social practice: Open Marxists and capitalist social relations, Foucauldians and power relations’, The British Journal of Politics & International Relations, 11:2 (2009), pp. 332351

Adam David Morton , ‘Disputing the geopolitics of the states system and global capitalism’, Cambridge Review of International Affairs, 20:4 (2007), pp. 599617

Benjamin Selwyn , ‘Twenty-first-century International Political Economy: a class-relational perspective’, European Journal of International Relations, 21:3 (2015), pp. 513537

Harvey Starr , ‘On geopolitics: spaces and places’, International Studies Quarterly, 57:3 (2013), p. 439

Chris Hesketh , ‘The clash of spatializations: Geopolitics and class struggles in southern Mexico’, Latin American Perspectives, 40:4 (2013), pp. 7087

Ray Kiely , ‘Spatial hierarchy and/or contemporary geopolitics: What can and can’t uneven and combined development explain?’, Cambridge Review of International Affairs, 25:2 (2012), pp. 231248

Andreas Bieler et al., ‘The enduring relevance of Rosa Luxemburg’s The Accumulation of Capital’, Journal of International Relations and Development, Advance online publication (2014), doi: 10.1057/jird.2014.18

Ola Tunander , ‘Swedish-German geopolitics for a new century: Rudolf Kjellén’s “The State as a Living Organism”’, Review of International Studies, 27:3 (2001), p. 459

Tarak Barkawi and Mark Laffey , ‘Retrieving the imperial: Empire and international relations’, Millennium: Journal of International Studies, 31:1 (2002), p. 111

Gerry Kearns , ‘Naturalising empire: Echoes of Mackinder for the next American century?’, Geopolitics, 11:1 (2006), p. 88

Felix Ciută , ‘Déjà vu geopolitics: Marxism and the geopolitical undead’, Geopolitics, 16:1 (2011), p. 223

Noel Castree , ‘David Harvey’s symptomatic silence’, Historical Materialism, 14:4 (2006), p. 43

Bob Jessop , ‘On the limits of The Limits to Capital’, Antipode, 36:3 (2004), pp. 480496

Alex Callinicos , ‘How to solve the many-state problem: a reply to the debate’, Cambridge Review of International Affairs, 22:1 (2009), p. 91

Jamie C. Allinson and Alexander Anievas , ‘The uses and misuses of uneven and combined development: an anatomy of a concept’, Cambridge Review of International Affairs, 22:1 (2009), p. 53

Jeremy Black , ‘Towards a Marxist geopolitics’, Geopolitics, 16:1 (2011), pp. 234235

Benno Teschke and Hannes Lacher , ‘The changing “logics” of capitalist competition’, Cambridge Review of International Affairs, 20:4 (2007), p. 574

Justin Rosenberg , ‘Why is there no international historical sociology?’, European Journal of International Relations, 12:3 (2006), pp. 319

John M. Hobson , ‘What’s at stake in the neo-Trotskyist debate? Towards a non-Eurocentric historical sociology of uneven and combined development’, Millennium: Journal of International Studies, 40:1 (2011), p. 148

Sam Ashman , ‘Capitalism, uneven and combined development and the transhistoric’, Cambridge Review of International Affairs, 22:1 (2009), p. 31

Neil Davidson , ‘Putting the nation back into “the international”’, Cambridge Review of International Affairs, 22:1 (2009), p. 19

Alex Callinicos and Justin Rosenberg , ‘Uneven and combined development: the social-relational substratum of “the international”? An exchange of letters’, Cambridge Review of International Affairs, 21:1 (2008), p. 96

Ian Bruff , ‘European varieties of capitalism and the international’, European Journal of International Relations, 16:4 (2010), p. 621

Benno Teschke , ‘Advances and impasses in Fred Halliday’s International Historical Sociology: a critical appraisal’, International Affairs, 87:5 (2011), p. 1102

Ben Selwyn , ‘Trotsky, Gerschenkron and the political economy of late capitalist development’, Economy and Society, 40:3 (2011), p. 444

John A. Agnew , ‘Global political geography beyond geopolitics’, International Studies Review, 2:1 (2000), p. 98

Klaus Dodds and James D. Sidaway , ‘Locating critical geopolitics’, Environment and Planning D: Society and Space, 12:5 (1994), pp. 515524

Neil Smith , ‘Is a critical geopolitics possible? Foucault, class and the vision thing’, Political Geography, 19:3 (2000), pp. 365371

Jennifer Hyndman , ‘Towards a feminist geopolitics’, The Canadian Geographer / Le Géographe Canadien, 45:2 (2001), pp. 210222

Lorraine Dowler and Joanne Sharp , ‘A feminist geopolitics?’, Space and Polity, 5:3 (2001), p. 169

Marcus Power and David Campbell , ‘The state of critical geopolitics’, Political Geography, 29:5 (2010), pp. 243246

Mark Bassin , ‘Nature, geopolitics and Marxism: Ecological contestations in Weimar Germany’, Transactions of the Institute of British Geographers, 21:2 (1996), pp. 315341

Leslie Rogne Schumacher , ‘The Eastern Question as a Europe Question: Viewing the ascent of “Europe” through the lens of Ottoman decline’, Journal of European Studies, 44:1 (2014), pp. 6566

M. S. Anderson , The Eastern Question, 1774–1923: A Study in International Relations (London: Macmillan, 1966)

Gearóid Ó Tuathail and John Agnew , ‘Geopolitics and discourse: Practical geopolitical reasoning in American foreign policy’, Political Geography, 11:2 (1992), p. 192

Cemal Burak Tansel , ‘Breaking the Eurocentric cage’, Capital & Class, 37:2 (2013), pp. 299307

John A. Hobson , ‘Why the war came as a surprise’, Political Science Quarterly, 35:3 (1920), p. 341

John R. Davis , ‘The British Sonderweg: the peculiarities of British free trade, 1845–80’, Diplomacy & Statecraft, 8:3 (1997), p. 76

Şevket Pamuk and Jeffrey G. Williamson , ‘Ottoman de-industrialization, 1800–1913: Assessing the magnitude, impact and response’, The Economic History Review, 64:S1 (2011), p. 161

Brison D. Gooch , ‘A century of historiography on the origins of the Crimean War’, The American Historical Review, 62:1 (1956), p. 37

Hannes Lacher and Julian Germann , ‘Before hegemony: Britain, free trade and nineteenth-century world order revisited’, International Studies Review, 14:1 (2012), p. 108

Deborah Cowen and Neil Smith , ‘After geopolitics? From the geopolitical social to geoeconomics’, Antipode, 41:1 (2009), p. 24

Alex Callinicos , ‘Does capitalism need the state system?’, Cambridge Review of International Affairs, 20:4 (2007), pp. 533549

Recommend this journal

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.

Review of International Studies
  • ISSN: 0260-2105
  • EISSN: 1469-9044
  • URL: /core/journals/review-of-international-studies
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to? *
×

Metrics

Altmetric attention score

Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 13
Total number of PDF views: 192 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 666 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between September 2016 - 23rd September 2017. This data will be updated every 24 hours.