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The word ‘territory’ has taken on renewed significance in a world where its close association with state sovereignty has made a serious comeback, invoked alike by proponents of Brexit in the UK, ‘Making America Great Again’ in the USA, and myriad populists from India to Brazil by way of Italy and Hungary. The word has had a contentious history in social science and political theory. In its first seven years, the journal Territory, Politics, Governance has published numerous articles examining the ways in which territory figures into contemporary political debates and its limits as a concept when applied to a world in which sovereignty never has simply pooled up within self-evidently distinctive blocs of space named as ‘territories.’ Among other things, the limits of territory are apparent in terms of the history of a global capitalism that always bursts beyond established boundaries, the fact that some states are much more powerful and exercise much more spatial reach than do others, and that the political uses of territory in its current usage date back predominantly to seventeenth century Europe rather than being historically transcendental or worldwide.
The articles in this book are selected from Territory, Politics, Governance to survey many of the dilemmas and questions that haunt the concept of territory even as its current efflorescence in political discourse ignores them.