New book: Stuart Elden Terror and Territory

Stuart has a new book out: Terror and Territory, The Spatial Extent of Sovereignty. From the publisher:

A timely analysis of the contemporary state of territory

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.

Stuart Elden is professor of political geography at Durham University, UK.

304 pages | 11 maps | 5 1/2 x 8 1/2 | 2009



Introduction: Terror-State-Territory
1. Geographies of Fear, Threat, and Division
2. Territorial Strategies of Islamism
3. Rubble Reduced to Dust: Targeting Weak States
4. Iraq: Destruction and Reconstitution
5. Territorial Integrity and Contingent Sovereignty
Coda: The Spatial Extent of Sovereignty


Stuart tells me that this work includes some discussion of Foucault and is also grounded in the work he has done previously on Foucault. I might also add that Stuart is putting together quite a body of work on territory. In addition to the current book (and article) there is a long term project on the entire history of territory, as well as recent pieces on Lefebvre and Foucault.


Anthropology summer reading circle

While I’m linking to Savage Minds their summer reading circle this year is Donald S. Moore’s Suffering for Territory: Race Place and Power in Zimbabwe.

We’re hoping it will draw in people in geography, politics, maybe legal or environmental studies, so tell all your cool friends in the other disciplines too.

The book is substantial, 400 pages, 3 sections. I will try to post something by July 15th on the introduction, and then shoot for 1-2 chapters per week until mid-late August. I hope all the Savage Minds will chime in, and if anyone else wants to write anything substantial about a section of the book, I will happily post it here on your behalf. Let the suffering begin!

More here.