Agnew___Corbridge_pp_15-26

Agnew___Corbridge_pp_15-26 - 4'1 MW~ MASTERING SPACE that...

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4'1 MW~ 11 of MASTERING SPACE that 'space matters', therefore, it matters only contingently rather than necessarily (Malmberg 1992). This implies that it is possible to formulate abstract theories which identify the necessary relations between logical objects (states, classes, groups, etc.). Only in concrete empirical research is there a need to account for the contingencies of spatial arrangements. The theories remain unaffected. If the human world was closed and unchanging this would be unproblematic. Spatial effects would be predictable. The problem is that the human world is open and changing and the precise relationship between objects and the spatial fields that contain them is dynamic. To understand the world, therefore, requires that we understand its changing geography (Agnew 1989). Typically, however, the abstract concepts that are seen as producing political-economic difference have embedded in them implicit assumptions about how space mediates social processes (Agnew 1993). The division of the world into territorial entities we call 'states' produces actors that operate on a territorial definition of space i.e. a world divided into discrete and mutually exclusive blocks of space. Rather than a natural and universal process, however, this type of geographical division has a clear, if largely un examined, historicity. It originated in seventeenth-century Europe both as a normative ideal (and representational space) about how politics should be organized geographically and as an alternative mode of socio-economic organization to imperial or 'node and network' (trading system) ideals. It was a central feature of the uniquely European development of an expansive capitalism that slowly emerged between the fifteenth and eighteenth centuries (Palen 1992). The development was fastest where city-states were least well-established on the seaward and continental margins of Europe (Rokkan and Urwin 1983). There was not a movement from one to the other, as argued by Mumford (1961), among others. On the contrary, territorial states became established most strongly where city-state development was least entrenched. Only in the nineteenth century were the last of the city-state territories converted into the territorial states of Germany and Italy. The system of territorial states developed important legal and economic underpinnings as a wide range of spatial practices became more and more bounded by state-territorial limits. Through a social process of recognizing other spaces as potentially 'developed' and 'modern' insofar as they acquired the trappings of territorial statehood (armies, judiciaries, etc.), the state- territorial form of spatial organization came to encompass in some degree most of the world's population. Since the early nineteenth century and, more especially since the Second World War, international organizations, espe- cially the United Nations, have played a fundamental role in formalizing this process (Luke 1993; Murphy 1994). From
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Agnew___Corbridge_pp_15-26 - 4'1 MW~ MASTERING SPACE that...

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