Rethinking territory

2014-10-23T10:17:26Z (GMT) by Marco Antonsich
This critical commentary engages, both methodologically and theoretically, the notion of territory as discussed by Stuart Elden (2010). Methodologically, I suggest that Elden's philological concern with the term 'territory' rather than with the idea of 'bounded political space' risks producing a partial historical account. As a way to enlarge the scope of analysis and include also forms of 'bounded political spaces' which existed before, during, and after the emergence of modern territory, I propose a new theoretical category, 'territorial'. This category reinstates the importance of 'b-ordering' practices, downgraded as second-order problem by Elden. Theoretically, the commentary also suggests the importance of 'peopling' territory, in order to bring social agency back in and avoiding treating modern territory as a mere terror(izing) tool. Prompted by Elden's account, this piece aims to stimulate a 'territory debate'.