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  • Author: Ben Lombardi
  • Publication Date: 02-2021
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for Military, Security and Strategic Studies
  • Abstract: In January 1879, a muzzle-loading gun aboard HMS Thunderer, one of the Royal Navy’s most powerful warships, exploded. A parliamentary investigation determined that the accident occurred because of human error brought about by a highly innovative, but complicated, loading mechanism. Given earlier unsatisfactory experience with early breech-loading guns, contemporary naval engagements and expectations of the future nature of conflict at sea, retention of muzzle-loaders seemed a reasonable course of action. Vast sums were, therefore, spent in ensuring that Britain’s navy had the biggest and most powerful of that type of ordnance. But the explosion and other advances in gun design meant that muzzle-loaders were a dead end, and the incident on Thunderer became the impetus for the Royal Navy to adopt breech-loaders. This incident shines light upon the thinking within the Royal Navy at the time regarding advanced guns. But it also underscores the uncertainty and unpredictability that is inevitably attached to rapid innovation by a large military institution such as the Royal Navy was in the late-19th century. This story is highly relevant to force development considerations today because in any era of continuous technological change, mistakes are inevitable and their expectation should be accommodated within planning.
  • Topic: Military Strategy, Military Affairs, Navy, Maritime
  • Political Geography: Britain, Europe
  • Author: Dong-Hee Joe
  • Publication Date: 04-2021
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Korea Institute for International Economic Policy (KIEP)
  • Abstract: Immigration is one of the factors often considered as the causes of Brexit. Researchers find evidences that regions with more immigrants from the new member states of the European Union (EU hereinafter) in eastern Europe tended to vote more in favor of Brexit in the 2016 referendum. Similar relations between the size of immigrant population and anti-immigration attitudes or far-right voting are found in other richer EU member states. A common explanation for this relation is the concern that immigrants negatively affect the outcome in the host labor market. Immigration is drawing attention in Korea too. Although immigrants' share in population is still substantially smaller in Korea than in the EU, its increase is noticeable. Also, certain industries in Korea are known to be already heavily reliant on immigrant labor. Recently, as entry into the country was tightened due to the COVID-19 pandemic, firms and farms are reported to have faced a disruption in production. This trend of increasing presence of immigrants in population and in the labor market, vis-à-vis the low fertility rate and rapid aging in Korea, is raising interest and concern on the socioeconomic impact of immigration. To offer some reference for the debates related to immigration in Korea, KIEP researchers (Joe et al. 2020 and Joe and Moon 2021) look at the EU, where immigrants' presence was much higher from much earlier on, and where the greater heterogeneity among the immigrants allows for richer analyses. This World Economy Brief presents some of their findings that are salient for Korea.
  • Topic: Immigration, European Union, Brexit, Labor Market
  • Political Geography: Britain, Europe, Asia, Korea
  • Author: Laila Parsons
  • Publication Date: 12-2020
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Journal of Palestine Studies
  • Institution: Institute for Palestine Studies
  • Abstract: This is the second installment of a two-part article on the recently released secret testimony to the Peel Commission. Part I ( JPS 49, no. 1) showed how the secret testimony deepens our understanding of the structural exclusion of the Palestinians from the Mandate state. Part II now focuses on what the secret testimony reveals about the Peel Commission’s eventual decision to recommend partition. It turns out that Zionist leaders were less central to this decision than scholars have previously assumed, and that second-tier British colonial officials played a key role in the commissioners’ partition recommendation. British decision-making over the partition of Palestine was shaped not only by a broad ambition to put into practice global-imperial theories about representative government and the protection of minorities; it also stemmed from a cold-eyed self-interest in rehabilitating the British reputation for efficient colonial governance—by terminating, in as deliberate a manner as possible, a slack and compromised Mandatory administration.
  • Topic: Territorial Disputes, Zionism, State, Empire
  • Political Geography: Britain, Middle East, Israel, Palestine
  • Author: Quentin Levin
  • Publication Date: 03-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Georgetown Journal of International Affairs
  • Abstract: The sun may have set on the British Empire, but its shadow lingers over modern Britain’s foreign policy. Britain retains fourteen minor overseas territories worldwide, though its global ambitions lie beyond these vestiges of its empire. Today, the United Kingdom is a nation on the move—it is just not yet sure where. Its people resolved in a 2016 referendum to reverse European integration, rekindle economic ties with the Commonwealth, and strengthen the “Special Relationship” with the United States. Yet, as Britain attempts to reassert its national sovereignty, it is haunted by the specter of its imperialist past and the constraints imposed by international institutions it helped strengthen.
  • Topic: International Law, History, Decolonization, Empire
  • Political Geography: Britain, Europe
  • Author: Geoffrey Sloan
  • Publication Date: 06-2020
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Foreign Policy Research Institute
  • Abstract: This essay draws on the author’s previous work, specifically: The Geopolitics of Anglo-Irish Relations in the 20th Century. The greatest failure of the European referendum campaign in 2016, which can be attributed to both sides, was the inability to articulate an understanding of Britain’s geopolitical relationship to Europe. By geopolitics, I do not mean its current usage: interpreted merely as a synonym for international strategic rivalry. I refer, instead, to classical geopolitics, which is a confluence of three subjects: geography, history, and strategy. It draws attention to certain geographical patterns of political history. It fuses spatial relationships and historical causation. It can produce explanations that suggest the contemporary and future political relevance of various geographical configurations.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Geopolitics, Brexit
  • Political Geography: Britain, Europe
  • Author: Jannike Wachowiak
  • Publication Date: 10-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: European Policy Centre
  • Abstract: As the end of the transition period nears, the EU must prepare for a fundamentally different and more conflictual relationship with the UK. Whatever the outcome of the Brexit negotiations, there will be profound economic, political and geopolitical implications for the EU. While the EU as a whole might be better placed than the UK to absorb the economic shock of a no-deal, the fallout within the EU will be uneven, resulting in winners and losers. The asymmetrical impact and differential capacity and willingness of national governments to mitigate the shock could exacerbate regional disparities and unbalance the EU’s internal level playing field. As such, it might become more difficult to maintain the same level of EU unity post-no-deal.
  • Topic: Diplomacy, Treaties and Agreements, European Union, Brexit
  • Political Geography: Britain, Europe
  • Author: Selin M. Bolme, Mevlut Cavusoglu
  • Publication Date: 03-2020
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Uluslararasi Iliskiler
  • Institution: International Relations Council of Turkey (UİK-IRCT)
  • Abstract: This paper aims to analyze Britain’s relations with the former colonies in the Gulf after the termination of the British protectorate in the Persian Gulf and discuss how the British colonial ties influenced the post-colonial relations with the Arab Gulf States. Archive documents, official papers and secondary sources were used in order to determine and compare the relations in pre/post withdrawal periods and the results were analyzed in frame of the Post-colonial theory. The main argument of this study is that the British colonial relations and ties, which had been constructed in political, military, economic and institutional spheres in the colonial era, were significant determinants in reshaping the new British foreign policy towards the Arab Gulf States. Britain, who successfully adopted the colonial relations in the new term, managed to preserve its interests after the withdrawal and even extended some of them in certain fields such as the oil sector.
  • Topic: International Relations, Foreign Policy, History, Colonialism
  • Political Geography: Britain, Europe, Persian Gulf
  • Author: David White, Jack Felton, Christopher McKenna
  • Publication Date: 02-2020
  • Content Type: Case Study
  • Institution: Oxford Centre for Global History
  • Abstract: Oxford’s history is one of industry. One of Britain’s largest cities in the medieval and early modern period at a crucial crossing of the River Thames, the city remained a transport hub through the First Industrial Revolution. As the meeting point of the West Midlands’ canal network and the major river, Oxford facilitated water transport between the industrial heartlands and the capital. With the advent of the railways, Oxford’s position as a crossroads solidified. Later, Oxfordshire’s inland position and relatively flat geography would make it an ideal location for airbases in wartime. Road traffic, first horse-drawn and later horseless, also passed through Oxford as major roads led to and from the city. But Oxford is a home to vehicle manufacture not just a transport hub. Oxford is the UK’s motor city. These days the majority of Formula 1 teams have their headquarters in Oxfordshire, while BMW’s Mini plant is situated in the Cowley area of Oxford on the site of the old Morris Motors factory.
  • Topic: Economics, History, Capitalism, Transportation, Industry, Cars
  • Political Geography: Britain, UK
  • Author: Katrina Forrester
  • Publication Date: 05-2020
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: The Toynbee Prize Foundation
  • Abstract: John Rawls was undoubtedly one of the most influential liberal political philosophers of the twentieth century. His most famous book, A Theory of Justice, was published in 1971. Prof Katrina Forrester, a historian of twentieth century political thought from Harvard University, tells the story of Rawls’s influence on liberal political philosophy in her recent book In the Shadow of Justice. Forrester shows how liberal egalitarianism—a set of ideas about justice, equality, obligation, and the state—became dominant, and traces its emergence from the political and ideological context of postwar Britain and the United States. In our conversation with Katrina Forrester we discussed Rawls’s creation of A Theory of Justice, how he responded to critiques of his theory, and how his work continues to shape our understanding of war and society up to the present day.
  • Topic: Political Theory, Inequality, Philosophy, Ideology, Justice, Liberalism
  • Political Geography: Britain, United States
  • Author: Karen O'Reilly
  • Publication Date: 03-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: UK in a Changing Europe, King's College London
  • Abstract: This report is based on findings from the BrExpats research project, funded by the Economic and Social Research Council through UK in a Changing Europe Initiative (Grant Number ES/R000875/1). This was a longitudinal study of Brexit and its implications for UK nationals living in other European Union member states. From May 2017 until January 2020, the project team tracked the Brexit negotiations and what they mean for the political rights, social and financial entitlements, identity, citizenship and belonging of Britons living in the EU-27. In particular, the project team documented how the protracted uncertainties about what Brexit means for citizens’ rights—the rights and entitlements derived from exercising Freedom of Movement—were experienced by UK nationals living across the EU-27, and with what consequences for their ongoing emotional and practical choices.
  • Topic: European Union, Brexit, Negotiation, Public Policy
  • Political Geography: Britain, United Kingdom, Europe, Spain