Today's global politics demands a new look at the concept of territory. From so-called deterritorialized terrorist organizations such as al-Qaeda to U.S.-led overthrows of existing regimes in the Middle East, the relationship between territory and sovereignty is under siege. Unfolding an updated understanding of the concept of territory, Stuart Elden shows how the contemporary "war on terror" is part of a widespread challenge to the connection between the state and its territory.
Although the importance of territory has been disputed under globalization, territorial relations have not come to an abrupt end. Rather, Elden argues, the territory/sovereignty relation is being reconfigured. Traditional geopolitical analysis is transformed into a critical device for interrogating hegemonic geopolitics after the Cold War, and is employed in the service of reconsidering discourses of danger that include "failed states," disconnection, and terrorist networks.
Looking anew at the "war on terror"; the development and application of U.S. policy; the construction and demonization of rogue states; events in Lebanon, Somalia, and Pakistan; and the wars continuing in Afghanistan and Iraq, Terror and Territory demonstrates how a critical geographical analysis, informed by political theory and history, can offer an urgently needed perspective on world events.
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Stuart Elden is professor of political geography at Durham University, UK.
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