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Political Organization of Space


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Title: Political Organization of Space

Political Organization of Space
Colonialism and Imperialism
  • Definition
  • Control by one state over another place
  • Often, as state that is colonizing has a more
    industrialized economy than the region it is
    taking over
  • European nation-states began building world
    empires in the 16th century and competing for
    territories across the globe up through World War
  • 1st period
  • The 1st period of colonialism occurred after
    European explorers discovered land in the Western
    Hemisphere in the 15th century
  • Columbus
  • 2nd period
  • Occurred in the late 1800s, as western European
    powers were competing to carve up Africa
    gaining more land to make them appear more
    powerful and to feed their industrializing
  • England and France occupied 70 of colonial
    territory in Africa
  • Portugal, Germany, Spain, Italy, and Belgium also
    colonized Africa

Colonialism and Imperialism
  • Mercantilism
  • Europeans raced to form colonies in the Western
    Hemisphere in order to extract resources to send
    back home
  • Definition
  • Economic system in which a state acquires
    colonies that can provide it with new raw
    materials to ship back home and use in making
    products for the population of the mother country
  • Other motives for colonization were to spread
    Christianity and to bask in the glory of having
    more land than other states

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Colonialism and Imperialism
  • Imperialism
  • Colonization fueled imperialism
  • The process of establishing political, social,
    and economic dominance over a colonized area
  • Europeans acculturated indigenous peoples to
    European Christianity and culture
  • Also destroyed indigenous landscapes and imposing
    European architecture to signify dominance

Colonialism and Imperialism
  • Dependence Theory
  • Theory many countries are poor today because of
    their colonization by European powers
  • Center of neo-colonialism
  • Proponents assert that former colonies in South
    America, Africa, and Asia have not been able to
    heal from the imperial domination established by
    the European colonizers and are still dependent
    upon them
  • In most cases, political boundaries drawn by the
    colonizers according to resources
  • When colonizers left and lands became independent
    states violent ethnonational conflicts
  • Nigeria, Sudan
  • Many colonial subjects still trade with former
    colonial rulers as their primary source of income
  • Senegal and France

Colonialism and Imperialism
  • Because the political and economic structures
    established by the Europeans benefited the
    colonizers, not the local people, essential
    elements of infrastructure were not built in most
    colonized lands
  • When European colonizers left, education systems,
    health care networks, roads, communication lines,
    and other basic elements were not in place for
    the regions to thrive on their own
  • Many colonies left with finances or ability to
    develop basic infrastructure
  • Left little choice to turn back on colonizers and
    ask for loans to build up economies
  • Today
  • To alleviate some of the effects of
    neo-colonialism, the American economist Jeffrey
    Sachs recommended that the entire African debt
    (ca. 200 billion U.S. dollars) be dismissed, and
    recommended that African nations not repay the
    World Bank and the International Monetary Fund
  • Neocolonialism
  • Definition
  • Continued economic dependence of new states on
    their former colonial masters
  • Also called post-colonial dependency
  • the term neo-colonialism describes the
    domination-praxis (social, economic, cultural) of
    countries from the developed world in the
    respective internal affairs of the countries of
    the developing world that, despite the
    decolonization occurred in the aftermath of the
    Second World War (193945), the (former) colonial
    powers continue to apply existing and past
    international economic arrangements with their
    former colony countries, and so maintain colonial

  • Definition
  • Branch of political geography that analyzes how
    states behave as political and territorial
  • Study of how states interact and compete in the
    political landscape
  • Organic Theory
  • 19th geopolitical thinker Freidrich Ratzel
  • Argues states are living organisims that hunger
    for land and want to grow larger through
    acquiring more nourishment in the form of land
  • Adolph Hitler used to justify invasion of other
  • Heartland Theory
  • Halford Mackinder
  • Theory that the era of sea power was ending and
    control over land was key to power
  • Believed that Eurasia was the world island and
    the key to dominating the world
  • Linked to Communist efforts to dominate Eastern
    Europe and to the United States containment

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  • Domino Theory
  • Warns that democratic allies must protect lands
    from falling into the Communists
  • Believed that it would result in Communist
    domination of the world
  • Prevalent during Cold war
  • Led to Containment theory
  • Vietnam War
  • Rimland Theory
  • Geopolitical thinker Nicolas Spkyman
  • Built on Mackinders theory and defined rimland
    to be Eurasias entire periphery
  • Encompassed Western Europe, and Southeast, South,
    and East Asia
  • Thought it was important to balance power in the
    rimland to prevent a global power from emerging
  • Linked to the Vietnam and Korean wars
  • Communist and non-communist countries fought for
    control of peripheral lands in the rimland

Challenges to Political-Territorial Arrangements
  • Core and Multicore States
  • The region in a state wherein political and
    economic power is concentrated, like the nucleus
    of a cell, is called a states core
  • A well-integrated core helps spread development
    throughout the country
  • Countries having more than one core region are
    called multicore states
  • There is not one dominate core
  • Exampled Nigeria
  • Several core regions compete for control
  • Strong infrastructural development can help
    distribute the growth generated in a core to less
    developed areas in a state
  • Ex. Roads, communication lines

Challenges to Political-Territorial Arrangements
  • Primate Cities
  • Definition
  • A capital city that is not only the political
    nucleus but is also more economically powerful
    than any other city in the state
  • Often exist in less developed countries
  • Usually where most of the resources are attracted
  • Examples
  • Ulaanbatar, Mongolia
  • Lagos, Nigeria
  • In countries with primate cities, governments
    often try to spread the growth and development
    out among different cities, rather than just
    allowing it to focus on the primate city.
  • Primate cities are also common in old
  • City has been cultural center for a long time
  • Examples
  • Britain
  • France

Challenges to Political-Territorial Arrangements
  • Forward Capitals
  • Definition
  • A capital city built by a state in order to
    achieve some national goal
  • Example
  • Saint Petersburg
  • Built by Czar Peter the Great to bring Russias
    capital closer to Europe
  • Islamabad, Pakistan
  • Built to spread development out more evenly
    throughout country
  • Brasilia, Brazil
  • Moved capital to help spread out population

Challenges to Political-Territorial Arrangements
  • Electoral boundaries
  • Boundaries separating legislative districts
    within countries are periodically redrawn to
    ensure that each district has approx. the same
  • U.S. House of Rep districts redrawn every 10
  • Redrawing usually assigned to independent
  • Except in U.S.

Challenges to Political-Territorial Arrangements
  • Gerrymandering
  • Redrawing electoral boundaries to give a
    political party an advantage
  • Named for Elbridge Gerry
  • Gov of Mass (1810-1812)
  • Signed a bill to redistrict the state to benefit
    his party
  • One looked like a salamander
  • Political cartoon led to gerrymander
  • Three forms
  • Wasted vote
  • Spreads opposition voters across many districts
  • Excess vote
  • Concentrates opposition voters into a few
  • Stacked vote
  • Links distant areas of like-minded voters through
    oddly shaped boundaries
  • Esp attractive for electing minorities
  • Supreme Court ruled illegal in 1985
  • But didnt require dismantling of districts

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Challenges to Political-Territorial Arrangements
  • Centrifugal and Centripetal Forces
  • Centrifugal
  • Divide and tear apart a states people and
  • Can lead to Balkanization
  • Broke apart Soviet Union
  • Examples
  • Separatism in a region
  • Internal boundary conflicts
  • Deep religious divisions
  • Centripetal
  • Unify a states people and regions
  • Examples
  • Unifying symbols
  • Pledge of allegiance
  • Strong identity based on language, religion, or
    other cultural traits.
  • Devolution
  • Definition
  • Process of transferring some power from the
    central government to regional governments
  • Often refers to the transfer of power that occurs
    when a state breaks up
  • States facing centrifugal forces are often forced
    to transfer to regional governments to reduce
  • Example
  • Scotland
  • Pushed for more autonomy in 1990s
  • United Kingdom devolved more power to Scotland
  • Given own representative parliament

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