Murphy A B, 2012, "Entente territorial: Sack and Raffestin on territoriality" Environment and Planning D: Society and Space 30(1) 159 – 172
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Entente territorial: Sack and Raffestin on territoriality
Alexander B Murphy
Received 25 February 2011; in revised form 8 July 2011
Abstract. Two of the most prolific contributors to the theoretical literature on territoriality—Robert Sack and Claude Raffestin—treat territoriality in fundamentally different ways. Sack conceives of territoriality as a spatial strategy that individuals, groups, and organizations use to achieve particular social and political ends. Raffestin, in contrast, takes a relational approach to territoriality—seeing it as arising out of, integral to, and reinforcing of interactions and structural circumstances. These contrasting approaches reflect different types of scholarly projects. The reading of one against the other shows that Raffestin’s relational approach is critical to capturing the territorial ideas and practices of everyday life, as these are not reducible to simple strategies to control space. But as these ideas and practices congeal into territorial structures and norms of the sort exemplified by the emergence of the modern state system they produce understandings and arrangements that lend themselves to the type of theorization of territoriality proposed by Sack. Rather than treating the relationship between Raffestin’s and Sack’s approaches to territoriality as strictly oppositional, it is more constructive to explore the circumstances in which relational territoriality, as developed by Raffestin, produces understandings and arrangements that can be effectively captured through the territoriality-as-spatial-strategy approach of Sack.
Keywords: territoriality, political geography, social theory, relationality, fixity
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