Andrés Rivarola Puntigliano Fotograf: Niklas Björling

This project examines the history and current relevance of continentalist ideas and their influence in national and international policymaking. For centuries, the “default” political form of the nation-state has been challenged by the idea of a supra-national, large-scale political entity. Continentalism is one category of big space thinking, based on a geographical teleology of political unification within the borders of a “continent”. In some cases, this teleology underlies a comprehensive geopolitical ideology of continentalism, which historically has drawn on the "big space" theories of F. Ratzel, C. Schmitt and H. Mackinder. Continentalism is used by political elites in order to consolidate a geopolitical identity and policy, larger than the national one, to influence processes of state formation and international integration. Continentalism can be associated both with hegemonic- authoritarian tendencies as well as democratic projects, and can inspire imperial expansionism as well as anti-colonial liberation movements. The project involves four case studies, which compare ideological iterations of continentalism in Europe, Russia-Eurasia, South America, and Asia. It is designed as a study in the history of political ideas, and draws on critical geopolitics as a methodological framework. This approach helps us to understand discursive fluidity the diversity of expressions that can be found in different forms of constructing ‘continentalist’ geographical visions.

Project period: 2018-2021 

Participants: Prof. Mark Bassin (Södertörn University, project leader), Ass. Prof. Mikhail Suslov (Copenhagen University), Ass. Prof. Andrés Rivarola Puntigliano (Stockholm University), Katharina Döring, Phd (Södertörn University)

Founder: Research grant from Foundation for Baltic and East European Studies

Keywords: Geopolitics, continentalism, Brazil, hegemony, space, nationalism, history, international relations.

Status 2019-12-31

Granted in 2017, start of work with project on July 2018