Performing security: The imaginative geographies of current US strategy

Luiza Bialasiewicz, David Campbell, Stuart Elden, Stephen Graham, Alex Jeffrey, Alison J. Williams

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

180 Citations (Scopus)


Political geographers have recently focused their attention on the performative nature and imaginative geographies of US security strategies. This work has illuminated a number of mechanisms through which geographical knowledge has been interpreted and reformulated to support specific political agendas. This paper builds upon and develops the insights of these recent studies, arguing that current US security strategies are constructed around a policy of integration, whereby states are encouraged, through a range of measures, to mesh with attitudes and perspectives on the world. It assesses the ways in which these integration strategies are being performed, through an analysis of US National Security Strategy documents, the works of writers such as Kagan and Barnett, and the imaginative geographies and popular geopolitical representations of the US and its enemies. This paper contends that these practices combine to produce the effects that they name, bringing to life an imaginary geography that mirrors and supports the particular logics of the US-led 'war on terror'.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)405-422
Number of pages18
JournalPolitical Geography
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2007
Externally publishedYes


  • Imaginative geographies
  • Integration
  • Performativity
  • US strategy

Cite this