I have a review essay of four books coming out in Society and Space in issue 1 next year. The books are Jordan Branch, The Cartographic State; Saskia Sassen, Expulsions: Brutality and Complexity in the Global Economy; Tom Scott, The City-State in Europe, 1000-1600 and Darshan Vigneswaran, Territory, Migration, and the Evolution of the International System. The review is entitled “From Hinterland to the Global: New Books on Historical and Political Understandings of Territory”.
Here’s the beginning and end:
These four books all, in different ways, rely upon and contribute to understandings of territory. They move from the very historical to the resolutely contemporary, and in two cases combine the political-historical in important and insightful ways. The most fully historical is Tom Scott’s The City-State in Europe, which takes a broad comparative approach to the formation and transformation of polities in Western Europe from the high Middle Ages to the beginning of the early Modern period…
… In a previous review essay on territory I suggested that the books there, from within political science and philosophy, were “instances of a small but noticeable shift”, where attention was “being paid to the notion of territory in a way that had become unusual” (2010, page 238). While I found things to criticize in those books, and in those under review here, the general direction of inquiry is to be applauded. Here the multidisciplinary aspect is even more apparent – the authors hold positions in history, sociology, political science and urban studies. The shift in emphasis is no longer so small, and the attention not so unusual: the politics, history and concept of territory has become an important topic in a range of disciplines.