- Publisher: University of Chicago Press
- Format: Paperback | 488 pages
- Dimensions: 152mm x 228mm x 34mm | 700g
- Publication date: 18 October 2013
- Publication City/Country: Chicago, IL
- ISBN 10: 0226202577
- ISBN 13: 9780226202570
- Edition statement: New.
- Illustrations note: 9 halftones, 6 line drawings
- Sales rank: 124,874
Territory is one of the central political concepts of the modern world and, indeed, functions as the primary way the world is divided and controlled politically. Yet territory has not received the critical attention afforded to other crucial concepts such as sovereignty, rights, and justice. While territory continues to matter politically, and territorial disputes and arrangements are studied in detail, the concept of territory itself is often neglected today. Where did the idea of exclusive ownership of a portion of the earth's surface come from, and what kinds of complexities are hidden behind that seemingly straightforward definition? The Birth of Territory provides a detailed account of the emergence of territory within Western political thought. Looking at ancient, medieval, Renaissance, and early modern thought, Stuart Elden examines the evolution of the concept of territory from ancient Greece to the seventeenth century to determine how we arrived at our contemporary understanding. Elden addresses a range of historical, political, and literary texts and practices, as well as a number of key players - historians, poets, philosophers, theologians, and secular political theorists - and in doing so sheds new light on the way the world came to be ordered and how the earth's surface is divided, controlled, and administered.
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Stuart Elden is professor of political geography at Durham University, UK, and social sciences director of Durham's Institute of Advanced Study. He is the author of four books, including, most recently, Terror and Territory: The Spatial Extent of Sovereignty.
"This is a brilliant intellectual exegesis of the concept of territory that will be of wide interest in a range of academic fields, from international relations to historical sociology and the history of political thought." (John Agnew, University of California, Los Angeles)"