Territory

Territory is related to all the previous topics we have covered, the intersection of place, the state, and sovereignty. It is also as confusing as all these put together. It has both a physical meaning and a metaphorical meaning like place. It derives its meaning from the people like the state does, and territories only matter because the international community agrees that they do.

Originally, territories were very vaguely defined by today’s standards, probably due to the difficulty of exerting power at the edges of one’s domain. The modern territory arose simultaneously with capitalism, but was not the product of it solely. As with the other topics, it was the result of interactions between states. Around this same time, the definition of a state became inextricably bound to territory, namely the state’s monopoly of force in a given area.

Territory has become the cornerstone of state power, with its nature and definition changing over time to better suit the international climate at the time. The state now creates institutions to cement its territorial claims, and to create a stronger sense of territory in its citizens.

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