dunnettreader + renaissance + geography   1

Stuart Elden, 2013 The Birth of Territory, reviewed by Gerry Kearns | Society and Space - Environment and Planning D
The Birth of Territory interrogates texts from various dates to see if they describe rule as the legal control over a determined space. Time after time we learn that a set of political writings that concern land, law, terrain, sovereignty, empire, or related concepts do not articulate a fully-fledged notion of territory. We may end up asking like the proverbial kids in the back of the car: “Are we there yet.” Elden is certainly able to show that earlier formulations are reworked in later periods, as with the discussion of Roman law in the medieval period; there is a lot in the political thought of each period, however, that relates to land and power but does not get reworked in later times. This means that what really holds many of the chapters together is that they are studies of how land and power were discussed at that time, and that is not so very far from taking land and power as quasi-universals. In fact, there is probably a continuum between categories that have greater or lesser historical specificity, rather than there being a clear distinction between the two. Yet, I must admit that this singular focus gives a welcome coherence to the book for all that it seems to discard large parts of the exposition as not required for later chapters. -- see review for Elden views on Westphalia and HRE contra Teschke ; review references classic and recent works on geography, terrain, law,mapping
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june 2014 by dunnettreader

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