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Geopolitical Framing Analysis: National Images, World Views and Global Dividing Lines

Maastricht Summer School
Netherlands, Maastricht
Maastricht Summer School Netherlands, Bonnefantenstraat 2, 611 KL Maastricht, The Netherlands
Tuition fee €600.00 per programme


The declaration of independence by Catalonia, BREXIT and phrases such as “Clash of Civilizations”, “Borderless World” and “the End of History” underline the relevance of geopolitical frames. This course teaches you the skills to study geopolitical framing, which concerns the construction of similarities, differences and connections between states. What is the role of national identities in media, business and politics? How can concepts such as national image, world view and geopolitical code contribute to a better understanding of the dividing lines between (groups of) states? And how can texts and images contribute to the popularity of particular geopolitical frames? To answer these questions, you do three assignments in which you compare how two news media, political parties or think tanks construct geopolitical frames in their news coverage, political speeches or policy briefs. You present all your findings in class. Interactive lectures and roundtable discussions help you prepare for your assignments.

Course Leader is dr. Leonhardt van Efferink (PhD defence in December 2017). He worked as country risk analyst for 12 years, before doing a PhD that straddles the boundary between geopolitics and media studies. Students of his 2017 Summer Schools gave him an average of 9.5/10 for his teaching skills. Former Summer School student Juan Pablo from Argentina recommends Leonhardt because “one of his most remarkable skills as university lecturer is his perceptive understanding of different views as well as the formulation of challenging questions. Leonhardt handles group dynamics perfectly and knows how to integrate diverse experiences and perspectives in order to get fruitful learning outcomes.”

Related Summer School courses from Leonhardt: ▪ Textual Media Analysis: Critical Discourse Analysis, News Framing and Qualitative Research Design ; ▪ Visual Media Analysis: News Photos, Text-Image Relations and Multimodal Discourses/Frames ; ▪ Geopolitical Scenario Planning: National Security, Geo-Economics and Foreign Policy Strategy.

▪ Understanding how words and photos reflect and affect the way people think about states, groups of states and the world as a whole;
▪ Recognizing the implicit assumptions that underlie the national images and world views that journalists, marketing experts and politicians (re)produce;
▪ Designing an analytical framework to study the construction of geopolitical frames and their role in the foreign policy debate;
▪ Selecting the right number and right sort of texts/images for your assignment;
▪ Developing your critical thinking skills by productively combining knowledge, assumptions and questions;
▪ Boosting your employability by acquiring valuable skills required for positions in business, government and academia.

M.J.M. van Eck
L.A.S. van Efferink
S. van der Laan

Recommended literature
▪ Brubaker, R. and Cooper, F. (2000) Beyond “Identity”. Theory and Society, Vol. 29, No. 1, pp. 1-47;
▪ Entman, R.M. (2004) Projections of Power. Framing News, Public Opinion, and U.S. Foreign Policy. The University of Chicago Press;
▪ Flint, C. (2017) Introduction to Geopolitics. 3nd Edn. Routledge;
▪ Fry, G. and O’Hagan, J. (eds., 2000) Contending Images of World Politics. Palgrave.
▪ Guibernau, M. (2007) The Identity of Nations. Polity Books;
▪ Hammond, P. (2007) Framing Post-Cold War Conflicts. The media and international intervention. Manchester University Press;
▪ May, T. (2011) Perspectives on Social Scientific Research. In: Social Research. Issues, Methods and Process. 3rd Edn. Open University Press, chapter 1, pp. 7-27;
▪ Neumann, I.B. (1996) Self and Other in International Relations. European Journal of International Relations, Vol 2, No. 2, pp. 139-174;
▪ Ormston, R., Spencer, L., Barnard, M. and Snape, D. (2014) The Foundations of Qualitative Research. In: Ritchie, J., Lewis, J., McNaughton Nicholls, C. and Ormston, R. Qualitative Research Practice. A Guide For Social Science Students And Researchers. SAGE, chapter 1, pp. 1-25;
▪ Sharp, J.P. (2009) Geographies of Postcolonialism. SAGE;
▪ Storey, D. (2011) Territory. The Claiming of Space. Routledge;

You are further recommended to read some of these posts on Leonhardt’s website: Please note that it is not required to do some reading before the course. If you like to read something, select a book that is closest to your research interests or ask Leonhardt for personal reading advice. For more suggested reading materials, check the following reading lists:

Apply now!
Application start
Feb 1, 2019
Application deadline
Jun 1, 2019 23:59
Europe/Amsterdam time

Application deadlines apply to citizens of: United States