Re-thinking Nicholas J. Spykman : from historical sociology to balance of power
Holmila, A. (2020). Re-thinking Nicholas J. Spykman : from historical sociology to balance of power. International History Review, 42(5), 951-966. https://doi.org/10.1080/07075332.2019.1655469
Published inInternational History Review
© 2019 The Author
This article examines Nicholas J. Spykman’s scholarship beyond geopolitics and International Relations (IR). Because his works have mainly been studied through these prisms, I argue that we have overlooked the most important underlying current of his work: historical sociology. As a result, the prevailing view of him is overtly narrow. When Spykman’s scholarly output is examined from the 1920s to 1940s, an entirely different view of Spykman emerges. Essentially, his fundamental understanding of world affairs derived from the German sociologist Georg Simmel’s theories. In the 1920s and 1930s, Spykman transmuted these underpinnings into IR that later in the 1940s guided his two major works: America’s Strategy in World Politics and posthumously published The Geography of the Peace. Moreover, his magnum opus, America’s Strategy, was not primarily about geopolitics but a forceful contribution to the American debate between isolationism and internationalism. His main goal was to make the Americans understand that geography with its links to economic and military matters made isolationism a futile approach to US national security. This article will contribute to a more multidisciplinary appreciation of his work highlighting his significance and impact by showing how his scholarship reached beyond geopolitics. ...
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Related funder(s)Academy of Finland
Funding program(s)Academy Project, AoF
Additional information about fundingThe work was supported by the Finnish Academy [grant number: 275589].
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