Skip to main content Accessibility help
×
Home
Hostname: page-component-559fc8cf4f-9dmbd Total loading time: 0.241 Render date: 2021-03-06T06:45:37.156Z Has data issue: true Feature Flags: { "shouldUseShareProductTool": true, "shouldUseHypothesis": true, "isUnsiloEnabled": true, "metricsAbstractViews": false, "figures": false, "newCiteModal": false, "newCitedByModal": true }

The Visual Conquest of International Law: Brute Boundaries, the Map, and the Legacy of Cartogenesis

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  16 March 2018

Abstract

The late critical geographer Brian Harley forewarned that modern cartography had come to control and even ‘imprison’ spatial understandings of the earth. Where does this leave international lawyers when they encounter a quintessential ‘World Map’? Quite bluntly: tied to an inscriptive institution that has embodied the modern legibility and visualization of earth space. When speaking about the global arrangements of economic and political power constituted through law, what emerges, therefore, is the need for an expanded spatial literacy among international lawyers that critically engages the graphic legacy and influence of the geometric map. To enhance that literacy, I reach beyond the doctrinal field to engage a powerful spatial critique that has thus far encompassed scholarship across geography, international relations (IR) and sociology. A critique that took impetus over 20 years ago with John Agnew's assertion that modern social science had become captured by a ‘territorial trap’. The article attempts to enrich that critique with Mark Salter's insight on material power, Marshall McLuhan's emphasis on the medium of communication, and Bruno Latour's critique of cartographic naturalism. Specifically, I introduce the concept of cartogenesis as a way of underlining the deeper legacy and consequence of modern cartography, and specifically how the map medium should be grasped as a historical actant that has inscribed a particular ‘ground map’ of international authority. Lastly, the article looks at how geometric mapping now confronts new inscriptive ordering in the forms of transnational lists and contracts, which assert a growing scale of authority over earth space to an extent not seen since the Mercator Projection was recognized as an overriding geographic model.

Type
INTERNATIONAL LEGAL THEORY: Symposium on International Law and Political Economy
Copyright
Copyright © Foundation of the Leiden Journal of International Law 2018 

Access options

Get access to the full version of this content by using one of the access options below.

References

1 Bethlehem, D., ‘The End of Geography: The Changing Nature of the International System and the Challenge to International Law’, (2014) 25 EJIL 9CrossRefGoogle Scholar; see also Rajkovic, N.M., ‘On Fragments and Geometry: The International Legal Order as Metaphor and How it Matters’, (2013) 6 Erasmus Law Review 6Google Scholar.

2 Pauwelyn, J., Wessel, R.A. and Wouters, J., ‘When Structures Become Shackles: Stagnation and Dynamics in International Lawmaking’, (2014) 25 EJIL 733CrossRefGoogle Scholar.

3 Harley, J.B., ‘The Map and the development of the history of Cartography’, in Harley, J.B. and Woodward, D. (eds.), The History of Cartography (1987) Vol. 1, at 3Google Scholar.

4 J. Branch, The Cartographic State: Maps, Territory, and the Origins of Sovereignty- (2014), Ch. 4: ‘Mapping the Territorial State’, at 68–71. See also D. Wood, The Power of Maps (1992).

5 Brenner, N., ‘Beyond state-centrism? Space, Territoriality, and geographical scale in globalization studies’, (1999) 28 Theory and Society 39, at 46CrossRefGoogle Scholar.

6 Harrington, C., ‘The Ends of the World: International Relations and the Anthropocene’, (2016) 44 Millennium 478CrossRefGoogle Scholar.

7 See The IGLP Law and Global Production Working Group, ‘The Role of Law in Global Value Chains: A Research Manifesto’, (2016) 4 London Review of International Law 57.

8 See Gregory, T., ‘Drones, Targeted Killings, and the Limitations of International Law’, (2015) 9 International Political Sociology 197CrossRefGoogle Scholar; Niva, S., ‘Disappearing violence: JSOC and the Pentagon's new cartography of networked warfare’, (2013) 44 Security Dialogue 185CrossRefGoogle Scholar; Lubell, N. and Derejko, N., ‘A Global Battlefield? Drones and the Geographical Scope of Armed Conflict’, (2013) 11 JICL 65Google Scholar.

9 See Severson, D., ‘American Surveillance of Non-US Persons: Why new Privacy Protections offer only Cosmetic Change’, (2015) 56 HILJ 465Google Scholar.

10 Bartelson, J., ‘The Social Construction of Globality’, (2010) 4 IPS 219, at 222–3Google Scholar. See also Branch, supra note 4, Ch. 3: ‘The Cartographic Revolution’, at 42–5.

11 J. Pickles, A History of Spaces: Cartographic reason, mapping and the geo-coded world (2004), Ch. 1: ‘Maps and worlds’, at 6.

12 P. Khanna, Connectography: Mapping the Global Network Revolution (2016), 11.

13 Harley, J.B., ‘Historical Geography and the Cartographic Illusion’, (1989) 15 Journal of Historical Geography 80, at 85CrossRefGoogle Scholar.

14 Few international lawyers beyond or since Carl Schmitt: The Nomos of the Earth: in the International law of the Jus Publicum Europaeum (2006).

15 de Sousa Santos, B., ‘Law: A Map of Misreading. Toward a Postmodern Conception of Law’, (1987) 14 Journal of Law and Society 279, at 282CrossRefGoogle Scholar.

16 This flows in part from what Lefebvre called the geometric ‘science of space’. See H. Lefebvre, The Production of Space (1984), 1–2.

17 Elden, S., ‘Missing the point: globalization, deterritorialization and the space of the world’, (2005) 30 Transactions of the Institute of British Geographers, New Series 1, at 11–15CrossRefGoogle Scholar.

18 Agnew, J., ‘The Territorial Trap: The Geographical Assumptions of International Relations Theory’, (1994) 1 Review of International Political Economy 53CrossRefGoogle Scholar.

19 Ford, R.T., ‘Law's Territory: A History of Jurisdiction’, (1999) 97 Michigan Law Review 843, at 843–4CrossRefGoogle Scholar.

20 W. Rankin, After the Map: Cartography, Navigation, and the Transformation of Territory in the Twentieth Century (2016), 2–5.

21 A. Giddens, A Contemporary Critique of Historical Materialism. The Nation-State and Violence (1985), Vol 2.

22 Hobson, J.M., ‘What's at stake in “bringing historical sociology back into international relations”? Transcending “chronofetishism” and “tempocentrism” in international relations’, in Hobden, S. and Hobson, J. (eds.) Historical Sociology of International Relations (2002), at 6Google Scholar.

23 Kitchin, R. and Dodge, M., ‘Rethinking Maps’, (2007) 31 Progress in Human Geography 331, at 331–2CrossRefGoogle Scholar.

24 J.B. Harley, The New Nature of Maps: Essays in the History of Cartography (2001), Ch. 5: ‘Deconstructing the Map’, at 153–4.

25 This is related in part to ‘carto-literacy’. See Harley, supra note 24, Ch. 2: ‘Maps, Knowledge, and Power’, at 53.

26 Elden, S., ‘Land, Terrain, Territory’, (2010) 34 Progress in Human Geography 799, at 800CrossRefGoogle Scholar.

27 Shah, N., ‘The Territorial Trap of the Territorial Trap: Global Transformation and the Problem of the State's Two Territories’, (2012) 6 International Political Sociology 57, at 58CrossRefGoogle Scholar.

28 For a problematization of territorial borders see Vaughan-Williams, N., ‘Borders, Territory, Law’ (2008) 2 International Political Sociology 322CrossRefGoogle Scholar.

29 Abbott, A., ‘Things of Boundaries’, (1995) 62 Social Research 857, at 860Google Scholar.

30 Kitchin and Dodge, supra note 23, at 334.

31 Rankin, supra note 20, at 15–16.

32 Tuathail, G.O., ‘Borderless Worlds? Problematizing discourses of deterritorialization’, (2000) 4 Geopolitics 139CrossRefGoogle Scholar.

33 See Ruggie, J.G., ‘Territoriality and Beyond: Problematizing Modernity in International Relations’, (1993) 47 International Organization 139CrossRefGoogle Scholar.

34 Kitchin and Dodge, supra note 23, at 335. See also Brenner, N., ‘Globalisation as reterritorialization: the re-scaling of urban governance in the European Union’, (1999) 36 Urban Studies 431CrossRefGoogle Scholar.

35 J. Crampton, The Political Mapping of Cyberspace (2004), at 49. See also M. Heidegger, Being and Time (1962), section 22.

36 Brenner, supra note 5, at 41.

37 For a discussion of morphogenesis, see Archer, M.S., ‘Morphogenesis versus Structuration: On Combining Structure and Action’, (1982) 33 British Journal of Sociology 455CrossRefGoogle Scholar.

38 See Kratochwil, F., ‘Of Systems, Boundaries, and Territoriality: An Inquiry into the Formation of the State System’, (1986) 39 World Politics 27CrossRefGoogle Scholar.

39 For a discussion of teleology and international law, see Koskenniemi, M., ‘Law, Teleology and International Relations: An Essay in Counter-disciplinarity’, (2012) 26 International Relations 3CrossRefGoogle Scholar.

40 Escobar, M., ‘Exploration, Cartography and the Modernization of State Power’, in Brenner, N. et al. (eds.) State/Space: A Reader (2003), at 35Google Scholar.

41 On the connection between legibility, mapping and the state J. Scott, Seeing like a State (1998).

42 See Harley, supra note 24.

43 Wittgenstein, L., On Certainty (edited by Anscombe, G.E.M. and von Wight, G.H., 1972), section 211Google Scholar.

44 J. Larkins, From Hierarchy to Anarchy: Territory and Politics Before Westphalia (2010), at 19–20, 35.

45 See Pauwelyn, J., Wessels, R.A. and Wouters, J. (eds.), Informal International Lawmaking (2012)CrossRefGoogle Scholar.

46 Zumbansen, P., ‘Transnational Legal Pluralism’, (2010) 1 Transnational Legal Theory 141CrossRefGoogle Scholar.

47 Krisch, N. and Kingsbury, B., ‘Introduction: Global Governance and Global Administrative Law in the International Legal Order’, (2006) 17 EJIL 1, at 1CrossRefGoogle Scholar.

48 Gottman, J., ‘The Evolution of the Concept of Territory’, (1975) 14 Social Science Information 29, at 29CrossRefGoogle Scholar.

49 Cox, K., ‘Redefining “Territory”’, (1991) 10 Political Geography 5CrossRefGoogle Scholar; S. Elden, Terror and Territory: The Spatial Extent of Sovereignty (2009); A. Linklater, The Transformation of Political Community: Ethical Foundations of the Post-Westphalian Era (1998); Newman, D. (ed.), Boundaries, Territory and Postmodernity (1999)Google Scholar; S. Sassen, Territory, Authority, Rights (2006); J.A. Scholte, Globalisation: A Critical Introduction (2000).

50 Agnew, supra note 18.

51 Agnew, J., ‘Sovereignty Regimes: Territoriality and State Authority in Contemporary World Politics’, (2005) 95 Annals of the Association of American Geographers 437CrossRefGoogle Scholar; J. Allen et al., Rethinking the Region (1998); J. Allen, Lost Geographies of Power (2003); N. Brenner, New State Spaces: Urban Governance and the Rescaling of Statehood (2004); D. Held et al., Global Transformations: Politics, Economics and Culture (1999); S. Sassen, Losing Control? (1996); Hall, R. and Biersteker, T.J. (eds.), The Emergence of Private Authority in Global Governance (2002)CrossRefGoogle Scholar; E.W. Soja, Postmetropolis: Critical Studies of Cities and Regions (2000).

52 Agnew, supra note 18, at 55.

53 Ibid., at 53.

Ibid

54 Ibid., at 56.

Ibid

55 Ibid., at 59.

Ibid

56 Ibid., at 374.

Ibid

57 Andreas, P., ‘Redrawing the Line: Borders and Security in the Twenty-first Century’, (2003) 28 International Security 78CrossRefGoogle Scholar; A. Appadurai, Modernity at Large: Cultural Dimension of Globalization (1996); Avant, D., Finnemore, M., and Sell, S. (eds.), Who Governs the Globe? (2010)CrossRefGoogle Scholar; D. Barney, The Network Society (2004); U. Beck, Cosmopolitan Vision (2006); M. Castells, The Rise of the Network Society (1996); Y.H. Ferguson and R.W. Mansbach, Remapping Global Politics (2004); Osiander, A., ‘Sovereignty, International Relations, and the Westphalian Myth’, (2003) 55 International Organization 251CrossRefGoogle Scholar; G.O. Tuathail, Critical Geopolitics: The Politics of Writing Global Space (1996).

58 Elden, supra note 26, at 800.

59 Brenner, N. and Elden, S., ‘Henri Lefebvre on State, Space, Territory’, (2009) 3 International Political Sociology 353, at 356CrossRefGoogle Scholar.

60 Agnew, supra note 18, at 53.

61 Salter, M., ‘Introduction: Making Assemblages International’, in Salter, M. (ed.) Making Things International 2 (2016), at xviGoogle Scholar.

62 K. Easterling, Extrastatecraft: The Power of Infrastructure (2014), at 14.

63 Salter, supra note 61, at viii–xvii.

64 M. Kokenniemi, The Gentle Civilizer of Nations: The Rise and Fall of International Law 1870-1960 (2001).

65 M. McLuhan, Understanding Media: The Extension of Man (2013, first edition 1964), at 8–9.

66 M. McLuhan, The Gutenberg Galaxy (2011), at 270.

67 Latour, B., ‘Onus Orbis Terrarum: About a Possible Shift in the Definition of Sovereignty’, (2016) 44 Millennium 305, at 308–9CrossRefGoogle Scholar.

68 Rankin, supra note 20, at 1.

69 Harley, supra note 24, at 53–5; Harley, supra note 3, at 1–5; see also Rankin, ibid., at 1, 24–6.

70 Pickles, supra note 11, at 4–5.

71 Latour, supra note 67, at 313–14.

72 Branch, supra note 4, at 52.

73 R.D. Sack, Human Territoriality: its theory and history (1986); R.D. Sack, Homo geographicus: a framework for action, awareness and moral concern (1997); T. Mitchell, Rule of Experts: Egypt, Techno-Politics, Modernity (2002); Harley, supra note 24.

74 Sassen, supra note 49, at 402.

75 McLuhan, supra note 65, at 19.

76 Branch, supra note 4, at 50–7.

77 Harley, supra note 3, at 1.

78 For discussion on maps as actants, see Kitchin and Dodge, supra note 23, at 334.

79 Branch, supra note 4, at 135.

80 Ibid., at 48–9, 125–31.

Ibid

81 Ibid., at 42–3.

Ibid

82 Ibid., at 48.

Ibid

83 J. Brotton, A History of the World in Twelve Maps (2012), at 84–5, 87–(91.

84 G. Deleuze and F. Guattari, A Thousand Plateaus: Capitalism and Schizophrenia (translated by B. Massuni) (2016), at 12.

85 On the importance of spatial inscription see Murray Li, T., ‘What is land? Assembling a resource for global investment’, (2014) 39 Transactions of the Institute of British Geographers 589Google Scholar.

86 For insight into the potential significance of quantum theorizing for international law see A. Wendt, Quantum Mind and Social Science (2015).

87 See de Goede, M., ‘Blacklisting and the ban: Contesting targeted sanctions in Europe’, (2011) 42 Security Dialogue 499CrossRefGoogle Scholar.

88 See Dietz, T., ‘Relational Contracts 2.0: Efficiency and power’, in Cutler, A.C. and Dietz, T. The Politics of Private Transnational Governance by Contract (2017), 115–30Google Scholar.

Altmetric attention score

Full text views

Full text views reflects PDF downloads, PDFs sent to Google Drive, Dropbox and Kindle and HTML full text views.

Total number of HTML views: 71
Total number of PDF views: 642 *
View data table for this chart

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between 16th March 2018 - 6th March 2021. This data will be updated every 24 hours.

Send article to Kindle

To send this article to your Kindle, first ensure no-reply@cambridge.org is added to your Approved Personal Document E-mail List under your Personal Document Settings on the Manage Your Content and Devices page of your Amazon account. Then enter the ‘name’ part of your Kindle email address below. Find out more about sending to your Kindle. Find out more about sending to your Kindle.

Note you can select to send to either the @free.kindle.com or @kindle.com variations. ‘@free.kindle.com’ emails are free but can only be sent to your device when it is connected to wi-fi. ‘@kindle.com’ emails can be delivered even when you are not connected to wi-fi, but note that service fees apply.

Find out more about the Kindle Personal Document Service.

The Visual Conquest of International Law: Brute Boundaries, the Map, and the Legacy of Cartogenesis
Available formats
×

Send article to Dropbox

To send this article to your Dropbox account, please select one or more formats and confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your <service> account. Find out more about sending content to Dropbox.

The Visual Conquest of International Law: Brute Boundaries, the Map, and the Legacy of Cartogenesis
Available formats
×

Send article to Google Drive

To send this article to your Google Drive account, please select one or more formats and confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your <service> account. Find out more about sending content to Google Drive.

The Visual Conquest of International Law: Brute Boundaries, the Map, and the Legacy of Cartogenesis
Available formats
×
×

Reply to: Submit a response


Your details


Conflicting interests

Do you have any conflicting interests? *