Spaces of Globalization: Reasserting the Power of the Local

By Kevin R. Cox | Go to book overview

CHAPTER 9

Representation Unbound
GLOBALIZATION AND
DEMOCRACY

Murray Low

In late-modernity, the nostalgic idealism of territorial
democracy fosters the nostalgic realism of international
relations and vice-versa. The nostalgia is for a time
when a coherent politics of "place" could be imagined
as a real possibility for the future.

—CONNOLLY (1991, p. 463)


INTRODUCTION

When politics is viewed spatially it is, more often than not, characterized as a set of areal phenomena. The geography of states, from geopolitics to neo‐ Marxism, has been centered on a territorialized politics characterized by the construction of areal spaces by state organizations at various scales. Electoral geography, likewise, has focused the vision of political geography on the region, district, constituency, or locality as constitutive elements of the areal space of modern politics.

The metaphors of the arena or container have become common in geographically informed writings on politics. The arena as a space of direct physical conflict has long been irresistible as a representation of political conflict. Skocpol (1979) has drawn attention to this metaphor in her work on states, to try and sustain a conception of the state as an independent political actor, and to draw attention to how domestic processes and events are partly constituted by processes at the level of systems of states. Giddens (1981) speaks of states as "power containers," and Taylor (1994, 1995) has written on the implications of such a conception of "states as containers" in the geopolitical context.

The use of areal metaphors in talking about states is a recognition of the im

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