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Geographies of Political Change. De- and Re- Territorializations. Where and how does change occur?. Sometimes peacefully European Union Often amidst conflict Looking for clarity in conflict zones……. Huntington’s civilizations. “Balkanization”. Conflicts in Africa: 1990-2002.

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geographies of political change

Geographies of Political Change

De- and Re-


where and how does change occur
Where and how does change occur?
  • Sometimes peacefully
    • European Union
  • Often amidst conflict
    • Looking for clarity in conflict zones…….
a better explanation of global political change
A better explanation of global political change?

The fundamental clash is not about civilizations but about “different conceptions of community and how these conceptions should be reflected in political arrangements and organizations.” (Holsti).

Key is linking

  • expressions of communal identity
  • territorial control
political geography key terms
Political Geography-Key Terms
  • State – political unit with defined territorial limits
  • Nation – group of people sharing cultural characteristics
    • Ethnographic boundaries – match nations to state boundaries
  • Regionalism: Government at the regional level
  • Global/International Governance and Politics
political geography two key imperatives
Political Geography-Two key imperatives
  • Centripetal forces - pushing together
    • citizenship rules, common language, strong state
    • regional unions
    • international agreements
  • Centrifugal forces – pulling apart
    • Multi-national state, regional disparities in income
    • Balkanization
    • Fragmentation
political change
Political change
  • In order to understand how the political world is changing…….

Need to understand where it has been and where it is now

Historical context

empires and kingdoms
Empires and Kingdoms
  • Pre-1000 AD: Discrete Empires
    • China, African kingdoms, Latin American (Pre-Colombian)
  • 1000 ADKingdoms
    • France, Germanic Empire, Principality of Poland, etc.
    • Feudalism
feudalism gives way to the state
Feudalism gives way to the State
  • End of Feudalism:
    • Struggles and peasant rebellions,
    • spread of trade,
    • Spread of Renaissance culture and classical political ideas
    • Military technology
early modern states
Early modern states
  • Two Types during 16th-18th C.
    • absolutist
      • France, Prussia, Spain, Austria, Russia, Sweden
    • constitutional monarchies
      • UK and Holland
  • Characteristics:
    • Absorption of smaller, weaker units
    • Strengthened ability to rule
    • Tightened system of law and order
    • Single sovereign head
Absolutism paved the way for the emergence of the nation state by virtue of INSTITUTIONS OF GOVERNANCE:
  • Territorial boundaries/uniform system of rule
  • Fiscal management
  • Centralized administration, military power
  • Development of diplomacy and standing armies
  • Law making and enforcement
the interstate system westphalian model
The Interstate System: Westphalian Model
  • The European “Society of States”: The Interstate System
    • Westphalian Model
    • Peace Treaties of Westphalia 1648, concluding 30 years war
    • 1648-1945 (or later)
  • Coalesced the system of politics and governance that we take for granted today
  • What are the unique attributes of the model of Westphalia?
how did the interstate system evolve
How did the Interstate system evolve?
  • Expansions of state system by colonialism
  • Intergovernmental organizations expand during end of 19th century
    • ITU
    • Postal Union
    • Railway Congress
    • Patents
    • Maritime Law
    • Scientific Standards
the modern nation state
The modern Nation-State
  • Territoriality: exact borders
  • Control over means of violence: “pacification” of peoples; breaking down of rivals (fragile achievement)
  • Impersonal structure of power: needed distance from power of religion and nobility
  • Claim to legitimacy: loyalty has to be won
  • Since WWII: rise of liberal democracies
    • 1974: 64% of states are authoritarian
    • 1995: 75% of states are more or less democratic
issues of concern amidst democratic growth
Issues of Concern amidst Democratic Growth
  • Cycles of Democratic Growth
    • Reversals of Democracy
    • Illiberal Democracies
  • Democracy and Human Rights
  • Post-war international norms: what are they?
  • Uneven development
  • Responses to Globalization
criteria for democracy
Criteria for Democracy
  • Constraints on the executive decision makers
  • Extent of competition among political forces
  • Regulation of political participation
  • Openness of recruitment into decision making bodies

From: O'Loughlin 1998

political geography two key imperatives1
Political Geography-Two key imperatives
  • Centripetal forces - pushing together
  • Centrifugal forces – pulling apart
  • What is the role of Borders?
    • Reinforced?
    • Made permeable?
    • Moved
    • Disappeared?


  • Irredentism
  • Separatism
  • Minority Rights
  • Border Issues
  • Statelessness

Group 5

Group 1


Countries 4

Group 2

variations on a theme



Maybe Georgia

Separatist movements


East Timor (already finished)

Border Conflicts


Kashmir (Pakistan/India)




Minority rights


Variations on a theme