Published online by Cambridge University Press: 16 March 2018
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.
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.
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).
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.
14 Few international lawyers beyond or since Carl Schmitt: The Nomos of the Earth: in the International law of the Jus Publicum Europaeum (2006).
16 This flows in part from what Lefebvre called the geometric ‘science of space’. See H. Lefebvre, The Production of Space (1984), 1–2.
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.
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.
30 Kitchin and Dodge, supra note 23, at 334.
31 Rankin, supra note 20, at 15–16.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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).
Full text views reflects PDF downloads, PDFs sent to Google Drive, Dropbox and Kindle and HTML full text views.