End of the first day of the Territoriality/Raffestin workshop. Papers by Alec Murphy, myself, Jean Ruegg, Mike Heffernan and Juliet Fall. There was also a discussion session led by Elena dell’Agnese around three pieces of Raffestin’s work.
The workshop was an initiative mainly of Francisco Klauser, along with Joe Painter and myself. We wanted to bring Raffestin’s valuable work, most of which is unavailable in English, into dialogue with Anglophone debates. We’d hoped Raffestin himself would give a major paper to orientate discussions, but he was very unfortunately too unwell to travel to Durham. He is still hoping to finish the paper for subsequent publication in a projected theme section of Society and Space.
The discussions were wide-ranging and seemed to go well. My own paper, which was entitled ‘Space, Territory, and Territoriality’ tried to argue for a conceptual separaration between territory and territoriality. I began with the three part claim.
- Territory is a concept that requires explanation
- Territoriality is proposed as a notion that can provide an explanation
- While territoriality undoubtedly provides an explanation, my contention is that it is not an explanation of territory
I therefore spent a bit of time outlining a genealogy of the notion of territoriality (animal ethology; human geography of a behaviourist angle; Robert Sack’s challenge) and tried to show its limits. I then moved to a discussion of Raffestin, saying that while I found him helpful in my broader project on territory, he was less helpful when he used territoriality as the way into such debates.
I closed with this claim:
Territory is a concept and practice that needs explanation. It is not, itself, an explanation. But, neither is territoriality an explanation of territory. Territoriality and territory need to be distinguished, but I think that a more sophisticated and nuanced understanding of territory might help us to rethink what territoriality – to return to a valuable earlier meaning of the word as a condition of territory – is.
An intentionally provocative paper – especially for a workshop on territoriality – which did indeed lead to a good discussion. Four more papers tomorrow.