chapter  10
Xinjiang from the ‘outside-in’ and the ‘inside-out’
Exploring the imagined geopolitics of a contested region
WithMichael Clarke
Pages 35

This chapter explores the problematic nature of the concept and discourse of geopolitics. It explains the approach of the critical geopolitics literature that seeks to deconstruct dominant or hegemonic geopolitical narratives in order to document/illustrate how states and policy-makers spatialise international politics. The chapter then explores some representative elements of the neo-liberal geopolitics of the United States (US)/West, and also explains the developmentalist geopolitical narrative of Beijing. It shows how these narratives shape these actors' approaches to the region. The chapter focuses on how the potential for the generation of 'inside-out' geopolitical perspectives of Xinjiang has been constrained by those emanating from Beijing and the West. China's developmentalist geopolitical narrative has narrowed the permissible material and spiritual domains of Uyghur national sentiment by identifying core markers of cultural identity as barriers to a Han-centred modernity. The West's neo-liberal geopolitical narrative has also exercised a similar disciplinary function through its privileging of core Wester.