Topologies of Power

Beyond territory and networks

By John Allen

© 2016 – Routledge

224 pages

Purchasing Options:
Paperback: 9780415521345
pub: 2016-02-27
Hardback: 9780415521338
pub: 2016-02-27
e–Inspection Copy

About the Book

Topologies of Power amounts to a departure in the way that geography and power have been understood. It calls into question the very idea that power is simply extended across a given territory or network. The pervasive quality of governments to reach into our lives, the ability of far flung corporations to register their presence at close quarters and the ease with which NGOS fold global harms into local campaigns, all speak to a world in which distance is no longer a question of what is near and what is far. Such actions speak to a world in which proximity and distance play across one another, where topology not topography offers a better grasp of the workings of power today.

Drawing upon a diverse range of case studies, this book will be invaluable for students in human geography, politics, cultural studies, STS and urban studies.

Table of Contents

1. Introduction: Power’s Shifting Geographies Part I: Topological Twists 2. Topological Landscapes: Beyond Territory and Networks 3. Topologies of Power: A More Ambiguous Spatiality 4. Untold Power, or the Power that Masks Zero-Sum Outcomes Part II: Powers of Reach 5. Jumped-up Powers?: Social Movements and the Mobilization of ‘Publics’ 6. Far-reaching Powers: Finance and the Engineering of Presence 7. Entangled Powers: Agribusiness and ‘Global’ Pandemics 8. Conclusion: Distant Proximities of Power

About the Author

John Allen is Professor of Economic Geography in the Faculty of Social Sciences at The Open University. He had authored or edited thirteen books, half of which are Open University undergraduate teaching texts. He is a member of the UK’s Academy of Social Sciences and has held visiting professorships at various universities in mainland Europe and Australia.

About the Series


Culture, Economy and the Social

This series establishes the importance of innovative contemporary, comparative and historical work on the relations between social, cultural and economic change. It publishes empirically-based research that is theoretically informed, that critically examines the ways in which social, cultural and economic change is framed and made visible, and that is attentive to perspectives that tend to be ignored or side-lined by grand theorising or epochal accounts of social change. The series addresses the diverse manifestations of contemporary capitalism, and considers the various ways in which the `social', `the cultural' and `the economic' are apprehended as tangible sites of value and practice. It is explicitly comparative, publishing books that work across disciplinary perspectives, cross-culturally, or across different historical periods.

We are particularly focused on publishing books in the following areas that fit with the broad remit of the series:

  • Cultural consumption
  • Cultural economy
  • Cities and urban change
  • Materiality, sociality and the post-human
  • Culture and media industries
  • Culture and governance
  • Emerging forms of cultural and economic practice

The series is actively engaged in the analysis of the different theoretical traditions that have contributed to critiques of the `cultural turn'. We are particularly interested in perspectives that engage with Bourdieu, Foucauldian approaches to knowledge and cultural practices, Actor-network approaches, and with those that are associated with issues arising from Deleuze's work around complexity, affect or topology. The series is equally concerned to explore the new agendas emerging from current critiques of the cultural turn: those associated with the descriptive turn for example. Our commitment to interdisciplinarity thus aims at enriching theoretical and methodological discussion, building awareness of the common ground has emerged in the past decade, and thinking through what is at stake in those approaches that resist integration to a common analytical model.

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
POLITICAL SCIENCE / Government / Comparative
POLITICAL SCIENCE / Political Freedom & Security / General
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Sociology / General