Human geography9


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Human geography9

  1. 1. Human Geography: Places and Regions in Global Context, 5e Chapter 9: The Politics of Territory and Space Paul L. Knox & Sallie A. Marston PowerPoint Author: Keith M. Bell
  2. 2. Overview The actions of states extending their spheres of influence has had a considerable impact on economic globalization. Today states are the building blocks of the world-system. This was not always the case. In fact, a world divided largely into independent states is a feature of the last half of the twentieth century. Prior to that, many parts of the world were dependent territories or colonies, controlled by powers beyond their own borders. This chapter looks at the origins of the present world-system, examining the rise of an expansionist Europe, leading to colonialism, and followed by decolonization. Students should be aware that states are independent political units, not just sub-divisions of the United States, and that nations are groups of people sharing common elements of culture. These terms are often confused. Politics and geography have a lot to say to each other. The maps we are accustomed to seeing and using are political maps, showing the boundaries of states and other political units. States are not always static entities, as the recent history of Europe has demonstrated. Analyzing the breakdown of the Soviet Union and changes in the map of Europe in the 1990s provides a good example of many aspects of political geography, including the concept of the state, nations and nation-states, and the impact of states on the world-system.
  3. 3. Chapter Objectives • The objectives of this chapter are to: – Understand the geopolitical model of the state, and to explore its boundaries and frontiers – Examine geopolitics and the world order – Prepare a foundation for the understanding of geopolitics
  4. 4. Chapter Outline • The Development of Political Geography (p. 340) – Geopolitics – Boundaries and frontiers • Geopolitics and the World Order (p. 348) – States and nations – Imperialism and colonialism – Decolonization and post-coloniality – Theories of the state – Terrorism and the New World Order • International and Supranational Organizations and New Regimes of Global Governance (p. 371) – Supranational organizations – International regimes • The Two-Way Street of Politics and Geography (p. 375) – Regionalism and sectionalism – Urban, suburban, and rural divides – Electoral geography • Conclusion (p. 384)
  5. 5. Geography Matters • 9.1 Window on the World—Afghanistan: From the Cold War to the New World Order (p. 366) – Changes in Afghanistan’s geopolitics and political geography • 9.2 Geography Matters—State Terrorism in Chechnya (p. 370) – When the state turns against its own citizens • 9.3 Window on the World—The Palestinian– Israeli Conflict (p. 380) – A brief history of the Palestinian–Israeli conflict
  6. 6. The Politics of Territory and Space Political geography, a subfield of the discipline of geography, examines complex relationships between politics and geography (both human and physical). Political geographers recognize that the relationship between politics and geography is two-way: the geography of politics and the politics of geography. The relations between politics and geography are often driven by particularly theories and practices of the world’s states. Political geography deals with the phenomena occurring at all scales of resolution, from the global to the individual: East/West and North/South divisions dominate international politics. Regionalism, sectionalism, and other divisions dominate intrastate politics.
  7. 7. The Development of Political Geography • Geopolitics is the state’s power to control space or territory and shape the foreign policy of individual states and international political relations. • Friedrich Ratzel, a German geopolitical theorist and social Darwinist, portrayed the state as behaving like a biological organism; geopolitics stems from the interactions of power and territory. • Russia’s intervention in Georgian state politics in 2008 was a reassertion of Russia’s sphere of political (and military) influence.
  8. 8. The Geopolitical Model of the State • Ratzel employed biological metaphors adopted from Charles Darwin to describe his seven laws of state growth: – The space of the state grows with the expansion of the population having the same culture (e.g., Hitler’s Lebensraum). – Territorial growth follows other aspects of development. – A state grows by absorbing smaller units. – The frontier is the peripheral organ of the state that reflects the strength and growth of the state; hence, it is not permanent. – States in the course of their growth seek to absorb politically valuable territory. – The impetus for growth comes to a primitive state from a more highly developed civilization. – The trend toward territorial growth is contagious and increases in the process of transmission.
  9. 9. The Changing Map of Europe
  10. 10. Boundaries U.S.–Mexico border Rural–urban boundary Some borders are exclusionary, like the heavily patrolled U.S.–Mexico Tijuana River estuary, while others signal differences in settlement activities that may be governed by land-use regulations.
  11. 11. Boundaries and Frontiers India/Pakistan border Fall of the Berlin Wall The delimited area over which a state exercises control, and which is recognized by other states, is territory. Such an area may include both land and water, and may be highly contested at the fringes.
  12. 12. Boundary Formation Geometric boundary formation De jure territories Formal boundaries tend first to follow natural barriers, such as rivers, mountain ranges, and oceans. Where no natural features occur, formal boundaries tend to be fixed along the easiest and most practical cartographic device: a straight line.
  13. 13. Township-and-Range System • Formal boundaries often detour from straight lines and natural barriers in order to accommodate special needs and claims. • After primary divisions have been established, internal boundaries tend to evolve as smaller, secondary territories are demarcated. • U.S. Land Ordinance of 1785 • Northwest Territories Act of 1803 • Homestead Act of 1863
  14. 14. States and Nations • Given that nations were created out of very diverse populations, it is not surprising that no entirely pure nation-states exist today. • Nationalism is the feeling of belonging to a nation, as well as the belief that a nation has a natural right to determine its own affairs. • The history and the present status of the former Soviet Union also clearly illustrates the tensions among and between state, nations, and nationalism. • Tsarist Russia; USSR; CIS
  15. 15. Soviet State Expansionism Soviet expansion in the 1940–1950s was a product of Lenin’s ideas about the spread of Bolshevism: once international inequalities were diminished and the many nationalities became one Soviet people, nationalism would be replaced by communism.
  16. 16. Independent States of the Former USSR By 1988, grassroots national movements were emerging in the Baltic states and elsewhere as a reaction to Gorbachev’s glastnost and perestroika. By 1991, the relatively peaceful breakup of the Soviet Union was under way, and new states had emerged to claim their independence.
  17. 17. Process of Exploration Geographers have figured prominently in the process of exploration by identifying areas to be explored as well as actually traveling to those places and cataloging resources and people. Exploration is one step in the process of imperialism; colonization is another.
  18. 18. Imperialism and Colonialism South America: 1496–1667 Africa: 1496–1912
  19. 19. British Colonialism in India Orientalism is a discourse that posits the West as culturally superior to the East. Westerners deemed Orientals (e.g., Arabs, Indians, etc.) inferior and in need of disciplining in the eyes of the superior and enlightened colonizer. But, in the case of India, Indian and British cultural practices intermingled, changing both.
  20. 20. Decolonization Africa Asia and the South Pacific
  21. 21. Mackinder’s “Heartland Theory” Mackinder’s world-view map provides a good example of how cartographic representations can be employed to support ideological arguments. Notice the dominant area of the “Pivot.”
  22. 22. East/West Divide: Domino Theory • The East/West divide refers to the gulf between communist and non- communist countries, respectively. • American foreign policy pitched it against the Soviet Union after WWII. • Domino theory held that if one country in a region chose or was forced to accept a communist political and economic system, neighboring countries would fall to communism as well. • NATO was formed in 1949 to safeguard the Western core countries against Soviet expansion. • The Vietnam War was the most serious global manifestation of the Cold War.
  23. 23. Afghanistan and the Khyber Pass
  24. 24. Afghanistan An important transportation and diffusion axis over the centuries, Afghanistan. Greeks, Mongols, British, Russian, and now Americans found this landlocked nation a transition point between regions of Central Asia and South Asia.
  25. 25. Opposition to the New World Order • At the end of the Cold War (1991), Pres. H.W. Bush proclaimed a “new world order,” where the United States became the sole superpower. • With the political, economic, and cultural dominance of the United States comes the worldwide promotion of liberal democracy and transnational capitalistic growth. • Both domestic and international opposition to these “Western ideals” came in the form of asymmetrical warfare (e.g., Murrah Federal Building, 9/11 attacks, U.S.S. Cole, U.S. embassy bombings in Africa, etc.), termed by most as “terrorism.”
  26. 26. War in Iraq: Casualties and Outcomes • Since former Pres. Bush’s troop surge in 2007, violence has diminished across Iraq. Moreover, military troop build- up was coupled with financial incentives to Iraqi groups to quell violence. • Ethnic cleansing of minorities in Shia/Sunni dominated neighborhoods also reduced tensions between the factions. • Kurdish autonomy in northern Iraq poses unity problems within the country, as well as cross-border tensions with the U.S.’s NATO ally, Turkey.
  27. 27. State Terrorism in Chechnya The Northern Caucasus region Grozny refugees Chechnya provides a useful example of state terrorism. It also provides an illustration of the complexity of terrorism as a concept by showing that it can be practiced by both individuals as well as institutions, by rogue forces as well as legitimate ones.
  28. 28. Transnational Political Integration A supranational organization is a collection of individual states with a common goal that may be economic and/or political in nature. These organizations also reduce the independence of individual states.
  29. 29. European Union The goal of the EU is to increase economic integration and cooperation among the 27 member states. Twelve recent members show the growth of the organization into eastern Europe.
  30. 30. Regionalism and Sectionalism At a demonstration in Germany, Kurdish immigrants hold up signs on behalf of Abdullah Ocalan, the Kurdish rebel leader who founded the Kurdistan Workers Party (the PKK), and undertook armed attacks on the Turkish government in order to secure an independent Kurdish state.
  31. 31. U.S. Presidential Elections 1860 1992 In the 1860 election, sectionalism played a role as none of the slave-holding states voted for Lincoln. Third party candidates can be successful at gaining electors when they are geographically concentrated, but as the 1992 vote shows, garnering popular votes does not ensure that electoral votes will follow (i.e., Ross Perot).
  32. 32. The Geography of Politics Hierarchy of representation Gerrymandering Democratic rule is a system in which public policies and officials are directly chosen by popular vote. Territorial organization is a system of government formally structured by area, not by social groups. But in the practice of redistricting for partisan purposes, known as gerrymandering, boundaries of districts are redrawn to advantage a particular political party or candidate.
  33. 33. End of Chapter 9
  34. 34. Discussion Topics and Lecture Themes • What is geopolitics? How does geopolitics differ from political geography more generally? – Geopolitics is the state’s power to control space or territory and shape the foreign policy of individual states and international political relations; it is essentially the study of a state beyond its borders (remember that the word “state” in this case refers to countries and not subdivisions of the United States).
  35. 35. • Discuss Friedrich Ratzel’s interpretation of the state. How might his organic metaphors have influenced state policy-making, especially in twentieth century Europe? – Ratzel used biological metaphors to describe the state as well as seven laws of state growth: • The space of the state grows with the expansion of the population having the same culture. • Territorial growth follows other aspects of development. • A state grows by absorbing smaller units. • The frontier is the peripheral organ of the state that reflects the strength and growth of the state: hence it is not permanent. • States in the course of their growth seek to absorb politically valuable territory. • The impetus for growth comes to a primitive state from a more highly developed civilization. • The trend toward territorial growth is contagious and increases in the process of transmission. – Ratzel’s model uses organic metaphors: the state is seen as being like an organism, and, like an organism, it can grow and expand. See Figure 9.1 as well as pages 340–342 in the textbook for a discussion of the impact of Ratzel’s ideas on European geopolitics. Discussion Topics and Lecture Themes
  36. 36. • Using Figure 9.1, what changes have taken place on the map of Europe in the 1990s? Which new countries have appeared? Which have disappeared? What similarities does the map of 2008 have with that of 1924? What has accounted for these changes? – Figure 9.1 is on page 341 of the textbook. In the 1990s, the federal republic of Yugoslavia broke up into its constituent parts, creating new countries such as Slovenia and Croatia (among others). Germany unified, so that the German Democratic Republic (East Germany) no longer exists. Czechoslovakia split into the Czech and Slovak Republics. The breakup of the Soviet Union also created a number of new states in Europe. Many of these states, such as Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania, were independent in 1924, but were later incorporated into the Soviet Union, as depicted on the map of 1989. Discussion Topics and Lecture Themes
  37. 37. Fig 9.1
  38. 38. • What is the difference between a nation and a state? Can you give some examples of nation-states as well as multinational states? What factors account for the creation of multinational states? – A nation is a group of people sharing common elements of culture such as religion or language, or a history or political identity, whereas a state is an independent political unit with recognized boundaries. A nation-state is an ideal form in which a homogenous group of people is governed by their own state; Denmark is often given as an example of a nation- state. Multinational states include India, Papua New Guinea, and the United Kingdom, among many others. A variety of historical factors account for the existence of multinational states, including historical conquest, settlement, and acts of union, as in the United Kingdom, or boundaries drawn by colonial powers, as in India and Papua New Guinea. Discussion Topics and Lecture Themes
  39. 39. • Most states create or establish a national identity at least partly through the use of symbols. These national symbols are often depicted on national flags, postage stamps, coins, and banknotes. Collect some examples of these from different countries. How are these national symbols being used? Have they succeeded in creating a sense of national identity and union? – It should be fairly easy to collect a variety of postage stamps, coins, banknotes, and even flags (or pictures of them). These can be photographed and made into slides for easy viewing by the class. Discussion Topics and Lecture Themes
  40. 40. • What were the factors that led to the breakup of the Soviet Union? Was the breakup inevitable, or could it have been stopped? If you had been Mikhail Gorbachev, what steps would you have taken? Why? – The factors accounting for the breakup are debatable, but include a declining economy, increasing nationalism in the Soviet republics, and reformist ideas among the Soviet leadership. Gorbachev’s actions certainly speeded up a process that many commentators felt was inevitable. Discussion Topics and Lecture Themes
  41. 41. • What kind of boundaries does your state of residence (national and sub-national state) have? Why were boundaries drawn in these particular ways? – Boundaries may be natural features such as rivers, lakes, and mountain ranges, or straight lines drawn by surveyors. State land agencies, and state histories, may be able to provide some information about why boundaries were drawn in particular ways. Discussion Topics and Lecture Themes
  42. 42. • Give some examples of nationalist movements in the world today. What are these movements trying to achieve? How are they going about achieving it? – The Scottish Independence Movement and the Tibet Independence Movement are two examples of nationalist movements active today. See the Tibet website at, and the Scottish site at Discussion Topics and Lecture Themes
  43. 43. • What is meant by the North/South divide? How did this divide come about, and what implications does it have for the world of today? – The North/South divide is the differentiation made between the colonizing states of the Northern Hemisphere and the formerly colonized states of the Southern Hemisphere (very generally defined geographically). The divide is characterized by a relation of dependence, in which the countries of the South are economically dependent on the countries of the North. North/South divide is less precise than a dichotomy between developed and less- developed countries. Discussion Topics and Lecture Themes
  44. 44. • What are the boundaries of your federal congressional district? How was this boundary drawn? Is it a gerrymandered boundary? Why or why not? – Information on congressional boundaries can be obtained from your representative’s office. Boundaries are often shown on the maps contained in telephone directories as well. Discussion Topics and Lecture Themes
  45. 45. • Using current newspapers and the Internet, discuss contemporary global conflicts. How do these illustrate the issues that concern political geographers? – All three boxed text materials in this chapter cover contemporary global conflicts (Afghanistan, Chechnya, and the Palestinian–Israeli conflict). Discussion Topics and Lecture Themes