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Burning Issues: Geopolitics Today States, Nations, Territories Stuart Elden Room B1.36

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Presentation on theme: "Burning Issues: Geopolitics Today States, Nations, Territories Stuart Elden Room B1.36"— Presentation transcript:

1 Burning Issues: Geopolitics Today States, Nations, Territories Stuart Elden Room B1.36

2 Thu What is Geopolitics? Thu States, Nations, Territories Thu Borders and Walls Thu Humanitarian Intervention and the International Community Thu The Ongoing ‘War on Terror’ Thu Environmental, Health and Resource Geopolitics Thu Popular Geopolitics and Resistance

3 Suggested readings Klaus Dodds, Geopolitics: A Very Short Introduction, Oxford University Press, 2007 (also his Global Geopolitics: A Critical Introduction, Prentice Hall, 2005). Jenny Edkins and Maja Zehfuss (eds.) Global Politics: A New Introduction, Routledge, 2 nd edition, Stuart Elden, Terror and Territory: The Spatial Extent of Sovereignty, Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2009 (also The Birth of Territory, University of Chicago Press, 2013). Colin Flint, Introduction to Geopolitics, 2 nd edition, Routledge, David Storey, Territories: The Claiming of Space, Routledge, Many readings for other modules will be relevant, and other texts will be discussed as we go…

4 The State and the Nation The formation of states with a centralised administration over a clearly defined geographical territory preceded the articulation of ideas of the nation… Example of where this is the case – France – French Revolution and national consciousness Two counter-examples – Germany and Italy – Movements for unification in the 19 th Century And then 20 th century ‘nation-building’

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7 What is a Nation? natio – birth nasci - to be born, natal, native Principles? – Race – Language – Religion – Shared Interests – Geography – Spiritual Principle

8 What is a Nation? “Forgetting, and, I would even say, historical error are an essential factor in the creation of a nation” “The Nation is an everyday plebiscite” Ernest Renan, What is a Nation?, 1882 Benedict Anderson, Imagined Communities (1991)

9 Self-Determination The idea that people should govern themselves; therefore that a distinct group should have their own state. National self-determination is especially problematic – the people decide, but who decides who the people are? Role of American war of independence (American Revolution) and the French Revolution; then Peace of Paris after World War I.

10 The State - The State has universal jurisdiction - The State has compulsory jurisdiction - Its ends are broader than those of other associations which pursue ‘privately conceived ends’ - The State has legal supremacy or sovereignty over other associations - The State ranks as equal with other nation-states, being ‘self- sovereign’ D. D. Raphael, The Problems of Political Philosophy

11 Raphael’s Terms - The State has universal jurisdiction [over all activity] - The State has compulsory jurisdiction [not elective] - Its ends are broader than those of other associations which pursue ‘privately conceived ends’ [i.e. business, or trade unions – though note the Marxist account] - The State has legal supremacy or sovereignty over other associations [provides framework within which they operate] - The State ranks as equal with other nation-states, being ‘self- sovereign’ [against terra nullius idea, but note colonialism as counter-example]

12 Examples of states with more than one nation? Examples of nations with more than one state? Examples of nations without a state?

13 What is the State? The modern state is a set of institutions comprising the legislature, executive, central and local administration, judiciary, police and armed forces. Its crucial characteristic is that it acts as the institutional system of political domination and has a monopoly of the legitimate use of violence.

14 Max Weber “The state is that human community, which within a certain area or territory [Gebietes] – this ‘area’ belongs to the feature – has a successful monopoly of legitimate physical violence” Max Weber, Economy and Society, edited by Guenther Roth & Claus Wittich, New York: Bedminster, 1968, p. 56

15 Max Weber The state is therefore defined by four features:- 1.human community 2.territory, area, region 3.monopoly of the means of physical violence 4.legitimacy (traditional, charismatic, legal-rational)

16 Territory is… A portion of geographical space under the jurisdiction of certain people (Jean Gottman) A portion of space occupied by a person, group, local economy or state (John Agnew) The geographical domain under the jurisdiction of a political unit, esp. of a sovereign state (Collins English Dictionary) Much more complicated than this!

17 Territory is a relation that can be understood as an outcome of territoriality Territory is a bounded space, with the state as a “bordered power-container” (Anthony Giddens) Jonssen, Tagil and Tornqvist, Organising European Space: ‘a territory is defined as a cohesive section of the earth’s surface that is distinguished from its surroundings by a boundary’ (2000, 3). Anssi Paasi: ‘boundaries, along with their communication, comprise the basic element in the construction of territories and the practice of territoriality’ (2003, 112).

18 Jean Gottman Although its Latin root, terra, means ‘land or ‘earth’, the word territory conveys the notion of an area around a place; it connotes an organisation with an element of centrality, which ought to be the authority exercising sovereignty over the people occupying or using that place and the space around it. Jean Gottman, The Significance of Territory, Charlottesville: University Press of Virginia, 1973, p. 5.

19 Edward Soja Conventional Western perspectives on spatial organisation are powerfully shaped by the concept of property, in which pieces of territory are viewed as ‘commodities’ capable of being bought, sold, or exchanged at the market place. Space is viewed as being subdivided into components whose boundaries are ‘objectively’ determined through the mathematical and astronomically based techniques of surveying and cartography. Edward Soja, The Political Organisation of Space, Commission on College Geography Resource Paper No 8, Washington: Association of American Geographers, 1971, p. 9.

20 David Storey Most usually used in reference to the area of land claimed by a country. However territories exist at a variety of spatial scales from the global down to the local. Territory refers to a portion of geographic space which is claimed or occupied by a person or group of persons or by an institution. It is, thus, an area of ‘bounded space’. David Storey, Territory: The Claiming of Space, London: Prentice Hall, 2001, p. 1.

21 ‘The Territorial Trap’ John Agnew, ‘The Territorial Trap: the Geographical Assumptions of International Relations Theory’, Review of International Political Economy, Vol 1, 1994, pp States as fixed units of sovereign space -That there is a strict distinction between domestic and foreign politics (between political science and international relations) -That the state acts as a ‘container’ for society

22 Land, Terrain, Territory Land is a relation of property, a commodity to be bought, sold and exchanged, a finite resource that is distributed, allocated and owned; a political-economic question. Terrain is a relation of power, with a heritage in geology and the military; the control of which allows establishment and maintenance of order. As a ‘field’, a site of work or battle, terrain is a political-strategic question. Territory must be approached in itself rather than through territoriality; and in relation to land and terrain.

23 Territory beyond Land and Terrain 1. The political-legal Questions of power/authority; notions of sovereignty Disputes in the Middle Ages concerning temporal and spiritual power Territorium as an object of political rule Jus territorialis Leibniz on the distinction between sovereignty and majesty Modern notion of territorial integrity

24 Territory beyond Land and Terrain 2. The political-technical Techniques, based on calculation Advances in geometry (especially coordinate or analytic geometry) Cartography and land-surveying Latitude, time and longitude Military technologies

25 Territory No longer merely the economic object of land; nor a static terrain; but a vibrant entity, “within its borders, with its specific qualities” (Foucault, ‘Governmentality’). A rendering of the emergent concept of ‘space’ as a political-legal category.

26 Territory as a political technology: techniques for measuring land and controlling terrain… Measure and control – the technical and the legal – alongside land and terrain Territory as a political question – economic, strategic, legal, technical

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31 Africa 012/sep/06/africa-map-separatist-movements- interactive ery/2012/oct/02/africa-maps-history

32 France “The modern conception of France as a tightly bounded space within which the French state was sovereign was opposed to an older conception of power as varying bundles of privileges related to different groups and territories”. John Breuilly, “Sovereignty and Boundaries: Modern State Formation and National Identity in Germany”, in Mary Fulbrook (ed.), National Histories and European History, London: University College London Press, 1993, p. 108.

33 Les limites naturelles Cardinal Richelieu, Testament Politique – “les limites naturelles” of France: Rhine, Alps, Pyrenees. To promote security of territory (which might require further conquest) and the consolidation of territory. Could work both ways: France’s aim of a straight line instead of the random South Netherlands border – adjoining territories assimilated and absorbed; the geographically isolated were lost. Pursued following the French Revolution – attempt to get rid of anomalous areas; consolidate France’s rule.

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37 Germany Internal boundary disputes (whether part of a state was in the confederation or not) External boundaries more or less secure depending on who that boundary was with:- – France – fixed with political-administrative precision – South – simply a line drawn on the map of Austria – North – disputed province of Schleswig-Holstein, a ‘boundary’ dispute which arose via the question of ‘national sovereignty’.

38 Key Changes 1.Gain of Schelswig- Holstein 2.Removal of Austrian Power 3.Defeat of France and incorporation of Alsace-Lorraine region

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41 Germany Only with the Weimar Republic did Germany actually become a state – under Bismarck it had been a Reich, an Empire. “the tragedy was that this state was also the product of defeat – its boundaries were seen as artificial and its constitution as imposed”. Breuilly, “Sovereignty and Boundaries”, p So with Germany it was well into the nineteenth century before some territorial issues were resolved, and its boundaries have been redrawn since – crucially in 1919, 1945 and 1989.


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