Mastering Space: Hegemony, Territory and International Political Economy

Mastering Space: Hegemony, Territory and International Political Economy

Mastering Space: Hegemony, Territory and International Political Economy

Mastering Space: Hegemony, Territory and International Political Economy


For two hundred years, the domination of some countries by others has been intrinsic to international relations, with national economic and political strength viewed as essential to a nation's survival and global position. Mastering Space maps paths out of the tangle of international relations by identifying the essential features of this "state-centredness" and suggests an optimistic alternative more in keeping with the contemporary post-Cold War climate. Drawing on recent geopolitical thinking, the authors claim that the dynamism of the international political economy has been obscured by excessive attention on the state as an unchanging actor. Dealing with such topical issues as Japan's rise to economic dominance and the US's perceived decline, as well as the global impact of continued geographical change, the book discusses the role of geographical organization in the global political economy and the impact of increasing economic globalization and political fragmentation infuture international relations. The authors identify the present time as crucial to the global political economy, and explore the possibilities of moving the world from mastering space to real reciprocity between people and places.


In my opinion, the rights of man consist in the authorisation to take possession of all that is unoccupied and to defend all that has been so acquired

(Moser 1790, in Meinecke, Historism: The Rise of a New Historical Outlook 1972, 285)

the earth is in effect one world, in which empty, uninhabited spaces virtually do not exist. Just as none of us is outside or beyond geography, none of us is completely free from the struggle over geography. That struggle is complex and interesting because it is not only about soldiers and cannons but also about ideas, about forms, about images and imaginings

(Said, Culture and Imperialism 1993, 7)

Nately could scarcely believe his ears. He had never heard such shocking blasphemies before, and he wondered with instinctive logic why G-men did not appear to lock the traitorous old man up. ‘America is not going to be destroyed!’ he shouted passionately.

‘Never?’ prodded the old man softly.

‘Well…’ Nately faltered.

The old man laughed indulgently, holding in check a deeper, more explosive delight. His goading remained gentle. ‘Rome was destroyed, Greece was destroyed, Persia was destroyed, Spain was destroyed. All great countries are destroyed. Why not yours? How much longer do you think your own country will last? Forever? Keep in mind that the earth itself is destined to be destroyed by the sun in twenty-five million years or so. ’

Nately squirmed uncomfortably. ‘Well, forever is a long time, I guess’

(Heller, Catch 22 1962 [1977 edn, 259])

News and history are written in the context of a dominant discourse—a narrative drama that sets the terms in which events are judged. Following the death of President Richard M. Nixon in April 1994, his foreign policy . . .

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