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Charting geographic mental maps in foreign policy analysis: A literature review

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In recent years geographic mental maps have made a comeback into the spotlight of scholarly inquiry in the area of Foreign Policy Analysis (FPA). While never disappearing completely from scholarly examination, geographic mental maps were side-lined in most geographic and international relations (IR) research agendas. While geographers had long acknowledged the importance of mental maps in the study of international politics, few studies centred on the influence of geographic cognition on foreign policy. Only with the cognitive revolution in IR did geographic mental maps find space to develop conceptually and empirically with regards to international politics. Beginning with Henrikson’s initial conceptualisation over three decades ago the mental map research agenda has adopted several different theoretical and methodological approaches which will be analysed in the current article.

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Issue: Volume 6, Issue 1, 2012