1st Edition

The Confines of Territory

Edited By John Agnew Copyright 2021
    214 Pages 2 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    214 Pages 2 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    The word ‘territory’ has taken on renewed significance in a world where its close association with state sovereignty has made a serious comeback, invoked alike by proponents of Brexit in the UK, ‘Making America Great Again’ in the USA, and myriad populists from India to Brazil by way of Italy and Hungary. The word has had a contentious history in social science and political theory. In its first seven years, the journal Territory, Politics, Governance has published numerous articles examining the ways in which territory figures into contemporary political debates and its limits as a concept when applied to a world in which sovereignty never has simply pooled up within self-evidently distinctive blocs of space named as ‘territories.’ Among other things, the limits of territory are apparent in terms of the history of a global capitalism that always bursts beyond established boundaries, the fact that some states are much more powerful and exercise much more spatial reach than do others, and that the political uses of territory in its current usage date back predominantly to seventeenth century Europe rather than being historically transcendental or worldwide.

    The articles in this book are selected from Territory, Politics, Governance to survey many of the dilemmas and questions that haunt the concept of territory even as its current efflorescence in political discourse ignores them.

    1. Introduction

    John Agnew

    Section 1: Territorial Perspectives

    2. The territorialization of property in land: space, power and practice

    Nicholas Blomley

    3. Territory, Scale and Why Capitalism Matters

    Kevin R. Cox

    4. Territory, Politics, Governance and Multispatial Metagovernance

    Bob Jessop

    5. On the ecological blindspot in the territorial rights debate

    Omar Dahbour

    Section 2: Interrogating Territory

    6. When Territory Deborders Territoriality

    Saskia Sassen

    7. Taking back control? The myth of territorial sovereignty and the Brexit fiasco

    John Agnew

    8. How Should We Do the History of Territory?

    Stuart Elden

    Section 3: Confines of Territory

    9. Revisiting politicide: state annihilation in Israel/Palestine

    Merav Amir

    10. The intertwined geopolitics and geoeconomics of hopes/fears: China’s triple economic bubbles and the ‘One Belt One Road’ imaginary

    Ngai-Ling Sum

    11. Territories in contestation: relational power in Latin America

    Nick Clare, Victoria Habermehl and Liz Mason-Deese


    John Agnew is Distinguished Professor of Geography and Italian at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), USA. He was the Editor-in-Chief of Territory, Politics, Governance from 2011 until 2019. He is a Fellow of the British Academy and of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. In 2019, he was awarded the Vautrin Lud International Prize in Geography. He is the author of numerous books and articles including, for example, Mapping Populism: Taking Politics to the People (2019) and Globalization and Sovereignty: Beyond the Territorial Trap (2018).