A Geopolitical Analysis: Representation of Spaces of Fear ‎in Cinema

Document Type : Original Article


1 Full Professor of Political Geography, TarbiatModares University, Tehran, Iran

2 Political Geography, TarbiatModares University, Tehran, Iran


Extended Abstract
Sense of place is a geographical concept that shows its presence in everyday geopolitics. In addition to geographical factors, psychological and sociological elements help in shaping the sense of place. “Fear” as a psychological element not only can be used for defining sense of place, but also can help us in analyzing functions of geographical spaces/places. In other words, “fear” is one of the reflective factors in humans’ everyday life that could result in the creation of “Imaginative Geographies” that we know as “Spaces of Fear”.
Through the use of a descriptive-analytical method and a critical analysis’ framework, this study intended to find how space and place is represented in cinema and what are the consequences of these representations for geographical space/place.
Because of personal experiences or representations in media, most humans are familiar with the concept of spaces of fear. In this framework, cinema is a media that plays an important role in representation, (re)definition and (re)production of spaces of fear. From a geographical perspective, these representations occur in various situations and for different goals and functions and they can shape humans’ perceptions about space and place. Therefore, the effect of cinema on the representation and illustration of emotions such as hope, fear and even (in)security which always intervene in geographical processes has become the subject of important debates in both critical human geography and geopolitics.
Representation of space in the media is a subject that interacts with human life. Parts of these actions focus on spatial feelings that shape the “Sense of Place”. Everyday experiences in geographical space/place most of the times combine with images that are depicted by media platforms such as cinema, TV and etc. and give meaning to these spatial feelings. So, we are witnessing attitudes which are products of desire, fear, security and hope and help create imaginative geographies like Spaces of Hope, Spaces of Security and spaces of fear. In this article our research concentrated on Spaces of Fear and showed that representations of geographical spaces could result in different consequences. On the one hand, geopolitical representations can be used by various powers, organizations and states for reaching certain aims like madding fear among enemies, propaganda and even satisfying people for acceptance of policies. On the other hand, these representations could be a tool for shaping resistance geopolitics and developing awareness among citizens about spatial processes in all around the world. In this framework cinema has a special role because it narrates stories that are very tangible and help manipulate human’s sense of place. In other words, representations of spaces of fear in cinema is a crucial concept that plays an important role in distinguishing borders between “us” and “others” or diminishing gaps between people, spaces and prospections.
In this article we present a geopolitical analysis of the role of cinema in the representation of spaces of fear and try to estimate its effects on geopolitical and spatial processes. Our research indicates that although representations in cinematic films like “Crash” and “Minority Report” sometimes try to expose negative points of spatial policies and otherness in geographical space, but in common cinema was unsuccessful in decrease gaps that help to produce “us” versus “others”. In other words, despite of the productive role of cinema in expanding knowledge among people, it helps in creating and spreading imaginative geographies that just create distance between “our spaces” and “other’s spaces”. In summary, geopolitical representations of spaces of fear of this type have mostly negative rather than positive effects on geographical spaces.


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