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4 - Re-imagining the Concept of Territory

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  07 March 2024

Gail Lythgoe
Affiliation:
University of Edinburgh
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Summary

This chapter turns to how the concept of territory might be reimagined, exploring how the concept of territory might be rethought of as the product of social relations. It offers a way for international law as a discipline to differently conceptualise territory, drawing on insights from (critical) spatial theorists about space to ‘update’ the discipline’s onto-theoretical approach to conceptualising territory. These insights allow us to rethink the concept of territory and emancipate international law’s spatial imaginary, by developing a legal theoretical understanding of control and authority that better reflects contemporary governance, law-making, and regulatory practices, rather than one limited to a twentieth-century state-centric international legal positivism. As a result, it also offers insights that enable the better observation of the relationship between power, law, and space, making sense of the competing state and non-state institutions and their territories ‘physically’ overlapping one another.

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Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2024

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