Territory…where?

The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines territory in a couple ways. The first, and the way I think is the basic sense of what I believe fits the immediate idea of an area a state or institution holding power commands is:  

“a geographic area belonging to or under the jurisdiction of a governmental authority”

In this sense we can define space in a pseudo-binary fashion of being within a jurisdiction or not, or having authority somewhere or not, or being under a power or not. I think thinking solely like this defining a state’s territory or truly what territory is is fairly simple.

However, looking at another definition for territory in the Merriam-Webster Dictionary it gives it a more vernacular, personal feel:

“an area often including a nesting or denning site and a variable foraging range that is occupied and defended by an animal or group of animals”

What are humans other than animals, do we not work or “forage” to acquire resources our whole lives? This seems to be a better definition for place than many we saw in the reading for its respective sections of text. When we compare this to the definition of territory in the introduction of Paasi’s chapter by Hassner: 

“…territory is a compromise between a mythical aspect and a rational or pragmatic one…a piece of land, seen as a sacred heritage; a seat of power, and a functional space.”

and the first definition by Merriam-Webster, they seem to fit and fulfill one another nicely when they come together. The sacred history of our homes, past, family heritage and our connection to the area; the state that holds jurisdiction of the area; and the functional space is the land itself, our utilization of its resources as a means to survive and thrive, and even the citizen’s interaction with the state and power itself all come together to define territory in a more robust albeit more complicated way. It is this cohesion that defines it but also muddles its definition and makes it and other terms like space, place, power, and state so dynamic and relate to one another in such an important way.

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