Mapping the Sovereign State: Technology, Authority, and Systemic Change
This article examines the effect of cartography on the development of the modern state system. I argue that new mapping technologies in early modern Europe changed how actors thought about political space, organization, and authority, thus shaping the creation of sovereign states and international relations. In particular, mapping was fundamental to three key characteristics of the medieval-to-modern shift: the homogenization of territorial authority, the linearization of political boundaries, and the elimination of nonterritorial forms of organization. Although maps have been interpreted as epiphenomenal to political change, each of these three transformations occurred first in the representational space of maps and only subsequently in the political practices of rulers and states. Based on evidence from the history of cartographic technologies and their use by political actors, the practices and texts of international negotiations, and the practical implementation of linearly bounded territoriality by states, this article argues that changes in the representational practices of mapmaking were constitutive of the early-modern transformation of the authoritative structure of politics. This explanation of the international system's historical transformation suggests useful new directions for investigations into the possibility of fundamental political change due to the economic, social, and technological developments of globalization.
Volume (Year): 65 (2011)
Issue (Month): 01 (January)
|Contact details of provider:|| Postal: Cambridge University Press, UPH, Shaftesbury Road, Cambridge CB2 8BS UK|
Web page: http://journals.cambridge.org/jid_INO
When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:cup:intorg:v:65:y:2011:i:01:p:1-36_00. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Keith Waters)
If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.
If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.
If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.
Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.