Jean Gottmann – The Significance of Territory

The editors of Geographica Helvetica have asked me to contribute a short piece to their relaunch issue. They asked me to write a piece on past geographical text, reevaluating its contemporary worth and relevance. This is for one of the types of articles they plan to run alongside regular pieces – the ‘Thinker’s Corner’ essays.

The suggestion was that I pick a text on territory, and given the journal’s remit I should try to think of it within/between different language traditions. The choice was obvious – Jean Gottmann’s The Significance of Territory. I’ve regularly said this is the best book out there on territory, and I’ve been trying to get a new edition of it published – it’s long out of print, and second hand copies are very expensive. Gottmann also wrote on this topic in French in the recently reissued book La politique des États et leur géographie. It will be fun to revisit these texts and write something about them.

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