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Geopolitics and 'The Vision Thing': Regarding Britain and America's First Nuclear Missile

Fraser MacDonald
Transactions of the Institute of British Geographers
New Series, Vol. 31, No. 1 (Mar., 2006), pp. 53-71
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/3804419
Page Count: 19
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Geopolitics and 'The Vision Thing': Regarding Britain and America's First Nuclear Missile
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Abstract

Critical geopolitics, despite its radical ambitions, has been reluctant to shift its emphasis from the figure of the geopolitical tactician, 'decisive' events and the agency of the military-state. This paper, in common with recent work on 'popular geopolitics', offers a different agenda. It takes up the story of Britain and America's first nuclear missile - the US-made 'Corporal' - through the testimony of a self-described 'space-daft' schoolboy who, in 1959, travelled alone across Scotland to witness the first British testing of the missile. However, unlike much of the literature on popular geopolitics, this paper is concerned with the more-than-representational question of observant practice. Addressing recent calls for a more empirical enquiry into the relationship between geography and visual culture, the paper examines how geopolitical power operates through sights and spectacles.

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