Culture and Geopolitics in a Globalized World: The Francophonie as International Cultural Realm and International Political Actor

Literature, language, and language politics have played and continue to play an important role in the debate on power and territory. The concept of the Francophonie as a French-speaking community was first formulated by the geographer Onésime Reclus at the height of French colonial expansion at the end of the nineteenth century. The first steps towards the creation of international associations that defined themselves as francophone took place in the decolonization period of the 1960s (exemplary here are the former African colonies and the Canadian province of Quebec). The institutionalization of an international community that understood itself as a committed political actor began in the late 1980s. Since 1997, the community of close to fifty nations has been known as the Organisation Internationale de la Francophonie (OIF).

This research project aims to study how culture, power and territory are interconnected in a globalized world, using the OIF as an example. The institutionalization process of the OIF as political actor and the role of the OIF as international political actor will be studied from the perspective of action theory. At the same time, the concepts and images that constitute a francophone identity in literature and political discourse will be deconstructed and their genealogies traced as well as analyzed as to how these images and ideas are activated in political conflict.

Term of Project: 2004-2006

Project Members:
Prof. Véronique Porra (Romance Studies)
Dr. Georg Glasze (Geography)
Dr. Markus Coester (Ethnology)


GLASZE, GEORG (2013): Politische Räume. die diskursive Konstitution eines "geokulturellen Raums". Die Frankophonie. Bielefeld (=global studies), 296 S.