Skip to main content Accessibility help
Hostname: page-component-5c569c448b-q9r9l Total loading time: 0.278 Render date: 2022-07-05T13:53:33.212Z Has data issue: true Feature Flags: { "shouldUseShareProductTool": true, "shouldUseHypothesis": true, "isUnsiloEnabled": true, "useRatesEcommerce": false, "useNewApi": true } hasContentIssue true

Space, scale, and global politics: Towards a critical approach to space in international relations

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  09 July 2021

Daniel Lambach*
Research Centre Normative Orders, Goethe-Universität Frankfurt, Germany
*Corresponding author. Email:


Space matters for global politics but the treatment thereof in International Relations (IR) has been uneven. There is broad interest in spatial aspects across many research communities but only a nascent theoretical discussion and little cross-field communication. This article argues for a fuller engagement of IR scholars with sociospatial concepts and proposes a spatial approach to global politics based on four essential dimensions: a spatial ontology, the constructedness of space, a scalar perspective, and the interaction of materiality and ideas. As one possible way of integrating these aspects into a more specific concept, the article elaborates a framework of spatial practices and uses the example of Arctic Security research to illustrate the upsides of such a spatial approach for IR research.

Research Article
Copyright © The Author(s), 2021. Published by Cambridge University Press on behalf of the British International Studies Association

Access options

Get access to the full version of this content by using one of the access options below. (Log in options will check for institutional or personal access. Content may require purchase if you do not have access.)


1 Tim Marshall, Prisoners of Geography: Ten Maps That Tell You Everything You Need to Know About Global Politics (London, UK: Elliot and Thompson, 2016).

2 Barney Warf and Santa Arias, ‘Introduction: The reinsertion of space in the humanities and social sciences’, in Barney Warf and Santa Arias (eds), The Spatial Turn: Interdisciplinary Perspectives (Abingdon, UK: Routledge, 2009), pp. 1–10 (p. 1), emphasis in the original.

3 Beth A. Simmons and Hein E. Goemans, ‘Built on borders: Tensions with the institution liberalism (thought it) left behind’, International Organization (2021), pp. 1–24. This article uses (upper case) International Relations (IR) to refer to the academic discipline and (lower case) international relations to the objects and processes to be studied. For the sake of consistency, the same rule is applied to (political) geography and sociology.

4 John Agnew, ‘The territorial trap: The geographical assumptions of International Relations theory’, Review of International Political Economy, 1 (1994), pp. 53–80.

5 Gazit, Orit, ‘A Simmelian approach to space in world politics’, International Theory, 1 (2018), pp. 219–52CrossRefGoogle Scholar (p. 220), emphasis in the original; see also Simon Reid-Henry, ‘The territorial trap fifteen years on’, Geopolitics, 15 (2010), pp. 752–6; Shah, Nisha, ‘The territorial trap of the territorial trap: Global transformation and the problem of the state's two territories’, International Political Sociology, 6 (2012), pp. 5776CrossRefGoogle Scholar; Wisaijorn, Thanachate, ‘The inescapable territorial trap in International Relations: Borderland studies and the Thai-Lao border from 1954 to the present’, Geopolitics, 24 (2019), pp. 194229CrossRefGoogle Scholar.

6 As the commendable exception that proves the rule, the edited volume by Edkins and Zehfuss features an article by a political geographer discussing the territorial division of the world; see Jenny Edkins and Maja Zehfuss (eds), Global Politics: A New Introduction (London, UK: Routledge, 2009); Stuart Elden, ‘Why is the world divided territorially?’, in Edkins and Zehfuss (eds), Global Politics, pp. 192–219.

7 See Dunne, Tim, Hansen, Lene, and Wight, Colin, ‘The end of International Relations theory?’, European Journal of International Relations, 19 (2013), pp. 405–25CrossRefGoogle Scholar; and the other articles of the issue.

8 Jackson, Patrick T. and Nexon, Dan H., ‘International theory in a post-paradigmatic era: From substantive wagers to scientific ontologies’, European Journal of International Relations, 19 (2013), pp. 543–65CrossRefGoogle Scholar (p. 550).

9 Simmons and Goemans, ‘Built on borders’.

10 Clearly, not all IR research needs to adopt spatial perspectives. While all political issues have spatial dimensions, these dimensions are not equally important in all cases. This article is based on the a priori assumption that a spatial perspective will improve more analytical strategies than is generally thought.

11 Gazit, ‘A Simmelian approach to space in world politics’; Liste, Philip, ‘Colliding geographies: Space at work in global governance’, Journal of International Relations and Development, 19 (2016), pp. 199221CrossRefGoogle Scholar.

12 Squire, Vicky, ‘Reshaping critical geopolitics? The materialist challenge’, Review of International Studies, 41 (2015), pp. 139–59CrossRefGoogle Scholar; Edward Soja, Postmodern Geographies (London, UK: Verso, 1989).

13 Arthur, Peter, ‘ECOWAS and regional peacekeeping integration in West Africa: Lessons for the future’, Africa Today, 57 (2010), pp. 224CrossRefGoogle Scholar.

14 Didier Bigo, ‘International Political Sociology: Rethinking the international through dynamics of power’, in Tugba Basaran, Didier Bigo, Emmanuel-Pierre Guittet, and R. B. J. Walker (eds), International Political Sociology: Transversal Lines (Abingdon, UK: Routledge, 2017), pp. 24–48.

15 Liste, ‘Colliding geographies’.

16 Elden, ‘Why is the world divided territorially?’.

17 John Agnew, ‘Continuity, discontinuity and contingency: Insights for International Political Sociology from Political Geography’, in Basaran et al. (eds), International Political Sociology, pp. 49–67 (p. 49).

18 John G. Ruggie, ‘Territoriality and beyond: Problematizing modernity in International Relations’, International Organization, 47 (1993), pp. 139–74 (p. 174).

19 Atzili, Boaz and Kadercan, Burak, ‘Territorial designs and international politics: The diverging constitution of space and boundaries’, Territory, Politics, Governance, 5 (2017), pp. 115–30CrossRefGoogle Scholar (p. 116).

20 Kadercan, Burak, ‘Triangulating territory: A case for pragmatic interaction between political science, political geography, and critical IR’, International Theory, 7 (2015), pp. 125–61CrossRefGoogle Scholar; Branch, Jordan, ‘Territory as an institution: Spatial ideas, practices and technologies’, Territory, Politics, Governance, 5 (2017), pp. 131–44CrossRefGoogle Scholar.

21 Branch, ‘Territory as an institution’, p. 136.

22 Lisle, Debbie, ‘Failing worse? Science, security and the birth of a border technology’, European Journal of International Relations, 24 (2017), pp. 887910CrossRefGoogle Scholar.

23 R. B. J. Walker, Inside/Outside: International Relations as Political Theory (Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 1993), p. 125.

24 Ibid., p. 131.

25 Bigo, ‘International Political Sociology’; Michael Keating, Rescaling the European State: The Making of Territory and the Rise of the Meso (Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press, 2013).

26 John Agnew, ‘Still trapped in territory?’, Geopolitics, 15 (2010), pp. 779–84 (p. 780).

27 Yale H. Ferguson and Richard Mansbach, Polities: Authority, Identities, and Change (Columbia, SC: University of South Carolina Press, 1996).

28 John Agnew, Globalization and Sovereignty (Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield, 2009); Agnew, ‘Continuity, discontinuity and contingency’; see also Or Rosenboim, ‘State, power and global order’, International Relations, 33 (2019), pp. 229–45.

29 See Stuart Elden, The Birth of Territory (Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press, 2013) for an example from Geography.

30 Shah, ‘The territorial trap of the territorial trap’; Agnew, ‘Continuity, discontinuity and contingency’.

31 Herz, John H., ‘Rise and demise of the territorial state’, World Politics, 9 (1957), pp. 473–93CrossRefGoogle Scholar; Kratochwil, Friedrich, ‘Of systems, boundaries, and territoriality: An inquiry into the formation of the state system’, World Politics, 39 (1986), pp. 2752CrossRefGoogle Scholar.

32 Richard K. Ashley, ‘The geopolitics of geopolitical space: Toward a critical social theory of international politics’, Alternatives, 12 (1987), pp. 403–34; Walker, Inside/Outside.

33 Ruggie, ‘Territoriality and beyond’; Agnew, ‘The territorial trap’.

34 See, for example, Mathias Albert, David Jacobson, and Yosef Lapid (eds), Identities, Borders, Orders: Rethinking International Relations (Minneapolis, MN: University of Minnesota Press, 2001); Michael J. Shapiro and Hayward Alker (eds), Challenging Boundaries: Great Flows and Territorial Identities (Minneapolis, MN: University of Minnesota Press, 1996); Yale H. Ferguson and R. J. Barry Jones (eds), Political Space: Frontiers of Change and Governance in a Globalizing World (Albany, NY: State University of New York Press, 2002).

35 Lapid, Yosef, ‘Where should we begin? Political geography and international relations’, Political Geography, 18 (1999), pp. 895900CrossRefGoogle Scholar (p. 897).

36 See also Gazit, ‘A Simmelian approach to space in world politics’, pp. 224–8.

37 Colin Gray, ‘In defence of the Heartland: Sir Halford Mackinder and his critics a hundred years on’, Comparative Strategy, 23 (2004), pp. 9–25; Robert Jervis and Jack Snyder (eds), Dominoes and Bandwagons: Strategic Beliefs and Great Power Competition in the Eurasian Rimland (Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press, 1991); Paul R. Hensel and Paul F. Diehl, ‘Testing empirical propositions about shatterbelts, 1945–76’, Political Geography, 13 (1994), pp. 33–51; Susanna Hast, Spheres of Influence in International Relations: History, Theory and Politics (Abingdon, UK: Routledge, 2016).

38 Stefano Guzzini (ed.), The Return of Geopolitics in Europe: Social Mechanisms and Foreign Policy Identity Crises (Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2012); Andreas Behnke, NATO's Security Discourse after the Cold War: Representing the West (London, UK: Routledge, 2012).

39 James M. Goldgeier and Michael McFaul, ‘A tale of two worlds: core and periphery in the post-Cold War era’, International Organization, 46 (1992), pp. 467–91; Frank F. Klink, ‘Rationalizing core-periphery relations: The analytical foundations of structural inequality in world politics’, International Studies Quarterly, 34 (1990), pp. 183–209; Arlene B. Tickner, ‘Core, periphery and (neo)imperialist International Relations’, European Journal of International Relations, 19 (2013), pp. 627–46.

40 Frédréric Varone, Stéphane Nahrath, David Aubin, and Jean-David Gerber, ‘Functional regulatory spaces’, Policy Sciences, 46 (2013), pp. 311–33; Genevieve Lebaron and Jane Lister, ‘Benchmarking global supply chains: The power of the “ethical audit” regime’, Review of International Studies, 41 (2015), pp. 905–24; Julien Mercille, ‘The radical geopolitics of US foreign policy: Geopolitical and geoeconomic logics of power’, Political Geography, 27 (2008), pp. 570–86; Bob Jessop, ‘The crisis of the national spatio-temporal fix and the tendential ecological dominance of globalizing capitalism’, International Journal of Urban and Regional Research, 24 (2000), pp. 323–60.

41 Tugba Basaran, Didier Bigo, Emmanuel-Pierre Guittet, and R. B. J. Walker, ‘Transversal lines: An introduction’, in Basaran et al. (eds), International Political Sociology, pp. 1–9; Didier Bigo and R. B. J. Walker, ‘Political sociology and the problem of the international’, Millennium, 35 (2007), pp. 725–39.

42 Iver B. Neumann, ‘A region-building approach to northern Europe’, Review of International Studies, 20 (1994), pp. 53–74.

43 Beth A. Simmons, ‘Border rules’, International Studies Review, 21 (2019), pp. 256–83.

44 Jan A. Scholte, Globalization: A Critical Introduction (2nd edn, Houndmills, UK: Palgrave Macmillan, 2005); James N. Rosenau, ‘Governance in the twenty-first century’, Global Governance, 1 (1995), pp. 13–43; Lisbeth Hooghe and Gary Marks, ‘Unraveling the central state, but how? Types of multi-level governance’, American Political Science Review, 97 (2003), pp. 233–43; Alison Mountz, Political geography III: Bodies’, Progress in Human Geography, 42 (2017), pp. 759–69.

45 Thomas M. Callaghy, Ronald Kassimir, and Robert Latham (eds), Intervention and Transnationalism in Africa: Global-Local Networks of Power (Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2001).

46 Jacob D. Kathman, ‘Civil war diffusion and regional motivations for intervention’, Journal of Conflict Resolution, 55 (2011), pp. 847–76; Halvard Buhaug and Kristian S. Gleditsch, ‘Contagion or confusion? Why conflicts cluster in space’, International Studies Quarterly, 52 (2008), pp. 215–33.

47 Morgan Brigg and Nicole George, ‘Emplacing the spatial turn in peace and conflict studies’, Cooperation and Conflict, 55 (2020), pp. 409–20; John Heathershaw and Daniel Lambach, ‘Introduction: Post-conflict spaces and approaches to statebuilding’, Journal of Intervention and Statebuilding, 2 (2008), pp. 269–83.

48 Séverine Autessere, Peaceland: Conflict Resolution and the Everyday Politics of International Intervention (Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2014). Honourable mentions from other fields include: Lövbrand and Stripple's argument that global climate governance territorialises the carbon cycle, see Eva Lövbrand and Johannes Stripple, ‘The climate as political space: On the territorialisation of the global carbon cycle’, Review of International Studies, 32 (2006), pp. 217–35; Herrera's notion of state deterritorialisation in cyberspace governance, see Geoffrey Herrera, ‘Cyberspace and sovereignty: Thoughts on physical space and digital space’, in Miriam Dunn Cavelty, Victor Mauer, and Sai F. Krishna-Hensel (eds), Power and Security in the Information Age: Investigating the Role of the State in Cyberspace (Aldershot, UK: Ashgate, 2007), pp. 67–93; or Salter's work on mobility and circulation across boundaries; see Mark B. Salter, ‘To make move and let stop: Mobility and the assemblage of circulation’, Mobilities, 8 (2013), pp. 7–19. Finally, recent attempts to ‘globalise’ IR or bring in voices from the Global South integrate spatial criteria into the very act of theory-building; see Ingo Peters and Wiebke Wemheuer-Vogelaar (eds), Globalizing International Relations: Scholarship Amidst Divides and Diversity (London, UK: Palgrave Macmillan, 2016); and Amitav Acharya, ‘Global International Relations (IR) and regional worlds: A new agenda for international studies’, International Studies Quarterly, 58 (2014), pp. 647–59.

49 Akhil Gupta and James Ferguson, ‘Beyond “culture”: Space, identity, and the politics of difference’, Cultural Anthropology, 7 (1992), pp. 6–23; Roma Sendyka, ‘Sites that haunt’, East European Politics and Societies, 30 (2016), pp. 687–702.

50 Soja, Postmodern Geographies, p. 120.

51 Gazit, ‘A Simmelian approach to space in world politics’, p. 221.

52 Ibid., p. 231.

53 Ibid., p. 244.

54 Ibid., p. 233.

55 David Harvey, Spaces of Capital: Towards a Critical Geography (Edinburgh, UK: Edinburgh University Press, 2001).

56 Bob Jessop, Neil Brenner, and Martin Jones, ‘Theorizing sociospatial relations’, Environment and Planning D: Society and Space, 26 (2008), pp. 389–401.

57 See also Lapid, ‘Where should we begin’.

58 Jessop, Brenner, and Jones, ‘Theorizing sociospatial relations’, p. 391.

59 Ibid., p. 394; see Martin Jones and Bob Jessop, ‘Thinking state/space incompossibly’, Antipode, 42 (2010), pp. 1119–49, for a further exploration of this point.

60 Mountz, ‘Political geography III: Bodies’; Robyn Longhurst, ‘Situating bodies’, in Lise Nelson and Joni Seager (eds), Companion to Feminist Geography (Williston, ND: Wiley, 2005), pp. 337–49.

61 Alison Mountz, ‘Political geography II: Islands and archipelagos’, Progress in Human Geography, 39 (2014), pp. 636–46.

62 Salter, ‘To make move and let stop’.

63 Thomas Greider and Lorraine Garkovich, ‘Landscapes: The social construction of nature and the environment’, Rural Sociology, 59 (1994), pp. 1–24.

64 Curran Flynn, ‘Political geography and Morgenthau's early American works’, Cambridge Review of International Affairs, 29 (2016), pp. 1582–602 (p. 1585).

65 Harvey Starr, ‘On geopolitics: Spaces and places’, International Studies Quarterly, 57 (2013), pp. 433–9 (p. 433).

66 Klaus Dodds, Global Geopolitics: A Critical Introduction (London, UK: Routledge, 2005), p. 38.

67 Doreen Massey, For Space (London, UK: Sage, 2005), p. 10.

68 Martina Löw, The Sociology of Space: Materiality, Social Structures and Action (Basingstoke, UK: Palgrave Macmillan, 2016), p. 106.

69 John Agnew, ‘Space’, in Aoileann Ní Mhurchú and Reiko Shindo (eds), Critical Imaginations in International Relations (London, UK: Routledge, 2016), p. 200.

70 Henri Lefebvre, The Production of Space (Cambridge, UK: Blackwell, 1991); Massey, For Space.

71 John Agnew and Stuart Corbridge, Mastering Space: Hegemony, Territory and International Political Economy (London, UK: Routledge, 1995); Anssi Paasi, ‘Territory’, in John Agnew, Katharyne Mitchell, and Gearóid Ó Tuathail (eds), A Companion to Political Geography (Malden, UK: Blackwell, 2003), pp. 109–22; Doreen Massey, Space, Place and Gender (Cambridge, UK: Polity Press, 1994).

72 Gazit, ‘A Simmelian approach to space in world politics’, p. 220.

73 Stuart Elden, ‘Terrain, politics, history’, Dialogues in Human Geography, online (2020).

74 Setha M. Low, Spatializing Culture: The Ethnography of Space and Place (London, UK: Routledge, 2016), p. 32.

75 Liz Bondi and Joyce Davidson, ‘Situating gender’, in Nelson and Seager (eds), Companion to Feminist Geography, pp. 15–31.

76 Robert D. Sack, Human Territoriality: Its Theory and History (Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 1986), p. 21.

77 Mark Monmonier, No Dig, No Fly, No Go: How Maps Restrict and Control (Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press, 2010), pp. 31–9.

78 Sack, Human Territoriality, p. 5.

79 Kimberley Peters, Philip Steinberg, and Elaine Stratford (eds), Territory Beyond Terra (London, UK: Rowman & Littlefield, 2018).

80 Kevin R. Cox, ‘Territory, scale, and why capitalism matters’, Territory, Politics, Governance, 1 (2013), pp. 46–61.

81 Sally A. Marston, ‘The social construction of scale’, Progress in Human Geography, 24 (2000), pp. 219–42.

82 Jessop, Brenner, and Jones, ‘Theorizing sociospatial relations’, p. 390.

83 Marston, ‘The social construction of scale’.

84 Rosenboim, ‘State, power and global order’, p. 230.

85 Bigo, ‘International Political Sociology’, pp. 24–5.

86 Neil Brenner, ‘Beyond state-centrism? Space, territoriality, and geographical scale in globalization studies’, Theory and Society, 28:1 (1999), pp. 39–78; Saskia Sassen, Territory, Authority, Rights: From Medieval to Global Assemblages (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2006).

87 Keating, Rescaling the European State.

88 Gilles Deleuze and Felix Guattari, A Thousand Plateaus: Capitalism and Schizophrenia (Minneapolis, MN: University of Minnesota, 1987); Gearóid Ó Tuathail and Timothy W. Luke, ‘Present at the (dis)integration: Deterritorialization and reterritorialization in the new wor(l)d order’, Annals of the Association of American Geographers, 84 (1994), pp. 381–98; Mathias Albert, ‘On boundaries, territory and postmodernity: An International Relations perspective’, Geopolitics, 3 (1998), pp. 53–68.

89 Stuart Elden, ‘Missing the point: Globalization, deterritorialization and the space of the world’, Transactions of the Institute of British Geographers, 30 (2005), pp. 8–19.

90 Albert, ‘On boundaries, territory and postmodernity’, p. 61.

91 Gabriel Popescu, ‘Deterritorialization and reterritorialization’, in Barney Warf (ed.), Encyclopedia of Geography (Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage, 2010), pp. 722–4 (p. 724).

92 Low, Spatializing Culture, pp. 9, 10.

93 Gearóid Ó Tuathail, Critical Geopolitics: The Politics of Writing Global Space (Minneapolis, MN: University of Minnesota Press, 1996), p. 68; John Agnew, Geopolitics: Re-visioning World Politics (London, UK: Routledge, 1998), p. 2.

94 Lefebvre, The Production of Space; Harvey, Spaces of Capital.

95 Soja, Postmodern Geographies, p. 120.

96 Gearóid Ó Tuathail, The Near Abroad: Putin, the West and the Contest over Ukraine and the Caucasus (Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press, 2016).

97 Lene Hansen, Security as Practice: Discourse Analysis and the Bosnian War (London, UK: Routledge, 2006); Agnew, Globalization and Sovereignty; Jo Sharp, ‘Materials, forensics and feminist geopolitics’, Progress in Human Geography, online (2020).

98 Ó Tuathail, Critical Geopolitics.

99 Jason Dittmer, ‘Captain America's empire: Reflections on identity, popular culture, and post-9/11 geopolitics’, Annals of the Association of American Geographers, 95 (2005), pp. 626–43.

100 Garry Peterson, ‘Political ecology and ecological resilience: An integration of human and ecological dynamics’, Ecological Economics, 35 (2000), pp. 323–36; Greider and Garkovich, ‘Landscapes’; Fikret Berkes, Johan Colding, and Carl Folke (eds), Navigating Social-Ecological Systems: Building Resilience for Complexity and Change (Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2003).

101 Stuart Elden, ‘Legal terrain: The political materiality of territory’, London Review of International Law, 5 (2017), pp. 199–224.

102 Simon Dalby, ‘Rethinking geopolitics: Climate security in the Anthropocene’, Global Policy, 5:1 (2014), pp. 1–9 (p. 7).

103 Mathias Albert and Andreas Vasilache, ‘Governmentality of the Arctic as an international region’, Cooperation and Conflict, 53:1 (2017), pp. 3–22 (p. 6).

104 Daniel W. Drezner, ‘Technological change and international relations’, International Relations, 33 (2019), pp. 286–303.

105 Scott Kirsch, ‘The incredible shrinking world? Technology and the production of space’, Environment and Planning D: Society and Space, 13 (1995), pp. 529–55; Michael Mann, The Sources of Social Power, Vol. 1: A History of Power from the Beginning to AD 1760 (Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 1986).

106 Andrew Barry and Evelina Gambino, ‘Pipeline geopolitics: Subaquatic materials and the tactical point’, Geopolitics (2019), pp. 1–34; Daniel Lambach, ‘The territorialization of cyberspace’, International Studies Review, 22:3 (2020), pp. 482–506.

107 Margit Mayer, ‘To what end do we theorize sociospatial relations?’, Environment and Planning D: Society and Space, 26 (2008), pp. 414–19 (p. 416).

108 Walker, Inside/Outside, p. 168. See also Longhurst, ‘Situating bodies’.

109 Emanuel Adler and Vincent Pouliot, ‘International practices’, International Theory, 3 (2011), pp. 1–36 (p. 4).

110 Adler and Pouliot, ‘International practices’, pp. 6–7.

111 Michele Acuto and Simon Curtis (eds), Reassembling International Theory: Assemblage Thinking and International Relations (New York, NY: Palgrave Macmillan, 2014).

112 Jamie Lorimer, ‘Moving image methodologies for more-than-human geographies’, Cultural Geographies, 17 (2010), pp. 237–58; Maria Erofeeva, ‘On multiple agencies: when do things matter?’, Information, Communication & Society, 22 (2019), pp. 590–604.

113 Marijn Hoijtink and Matthias Leese (eds), Technology and Agency in International Relations (London, UK: Routledge, 2019).

114 Löw, The Sociology of Space.

115 Andrea M. Brighenti, ‘On territorology: Towards a general science of territory’, Theory, Culture and Society, 27 (2010), pp. 52–72.

116 Jeff Malpas, ‘Putting space in place: Philosophical topography and relational geography’, Environment and Planning D: Society and Space, 30 (2012), pp. 226–42 (pp. 233–4).

117 Hans Vollaard, ‘The logic of political territoriality’, Geopolitics, 14 (2009), pp. 687–706; John McHugo, ‘How to Prove Title to Territory: A Brief, Practical Introduction to the Law and Evidence’, Boundary & Territory Briefing (Durham, UK: International Boundaries Research Unit, 1998); Lefebvre, The Production of Space.

118 Massey, Space, Place and Gender, p. 3.

119 Jessop, Brenner, and Jones, ‘Theorizing sociospatial relations’.

120 See, for example, Lambach, ‘Territorialization of cyberspace’.

121 Jones and Jessop, ‘Thinking state/space incompossibly’.

122 See Johanne M. Bruun and Ingrid A. Medby, ‘Theorising the thaw: Geopolitics in a changing arctic’, Geography Compass, 8 (2014), pp. 915–29.

123 Oran Young, Arctic Politics: Conflict and Cooperation in the Circumpolar North (Hanover, NH: University Press of New England, 1992), pp. 1–30.

124 Margaret Blunden, ‘Geopolitics and the Northern Sea Route’, International Affairs, 88 (2012), pp. 115–29; Michael Byers, ‘Crises and international cooperation: An Arctic case study’, International Relations, 31 (2017), pp. 375–402; Sebastian Knecht and Kathrin Keil, ‘Arctic geopolitics revisited: Spatialising governance in the circumpolar North’, The Polar Journal, 3 (2013), pp. 178–203.

125 Scott R. Stephenson, ‘Confronting borders in the Arctic’, Journal of Borderlands Studies, 33 (2018), pp. 183–90 (p. 184).

126 Ingrid A. Medby, ‘Language-games, geography, and making sense of the Arctic’, Geoforum, 107 (2019), pp. 124–33 (p. 127).

127 Jason Dittmer, Sami Moisio, Alan Ingram, and Klaus Dodds, ‘Have you heard the one about the disappearing ice? Recasting Arctic geopolitics’, Political Geography, 30 (2011), pp. 202–14.

128 Rolf Tamnes and Kristine Offerdal, ‘Introduction’, in Rolf Tamnes and Kristine Offerdal (eds), Geopolitics and Security in the Arctic: Regional Dynamic in a Global World (Abingdon, UK: Routledge, 2014), pp. 1–11; see also Klaus Dodds, ‘“Real interest”? Understanding the 2018 Agreement to Prevent Unregulated High Seas Fisheries in the Central Arctic Ocean’, Global Policy, 10 (2019), pp. 542–53.

129 Oran Young, ‘Arctic governance: Bringing the high latitudes in from the cold’, International Environmental Affairs, 9 (1997), pp. 54–68 (p. 54).

130 Albert and Vasilache, ‘Governmentality of the Arctic’.

131 Corine Wood-Donnelly, Performing Arctic Sovereignty: Policy & Visual Representations (London, UK: Routledge, 2018).

132 Scott R. Stephenson and John A. Agnew, ‘The work of networks: Embedding firms, transport, and the state in the Russian Arctic oil and gas sector’, Environment and Planning A: Economy and Space, 48 (2016), pp. 558–76; Daniel Lambach, ‘Cooperation in the cold: The Arctic Search and Rescue Agreement', in Joachim F. Weber (ed.), Handbook on Geopolitics and Security in the Arctic: The High North Between Cooperation and Confrontation (Cham: Springer Nature, 2020), pp. 273–89.

133 Lambach, ‘Cooperation in the cold’.

134 Klaus Dodds and Chih Y. Woon, ‘Triumphant geopolitics? Making space of and for Arctic geopolitics in the Arctic Ocean’, in Nikolas Sellheim, Yulia V. Zaika, and Ilan Kelman (eds), Arctic Triumph: Northern Innovation and Persistence (Cham: Springer International Publishing, 2019), pp. 163–80.

135 Wilfrid Greaves, ‘Arctic (in)security and Indigenous peoples: Comparing Inuit in Canada and Sámi in Norway’, Security Dialogue, 47 (2016), pp. 461–80.

136 Jessica M. Shadian, ‘Navigating political borders old and new: The territoriality of Indigenous Inuit governance’, Journal of Borderlands Studies, 33 (2018), pp. 273–88.

137 Stephen P. Leonard, ‘The need to “belong”: Social connectedness and spatial attachment in Polar Eskimo settlements’, Polar Record, 50 (2014), pp. 138–46; Mia M. Bennett, Wilfrid Greaves, Rudolf Riedlsperger, and Alberic Botella, ‘Articulating the Arctic: Contrasting state and Inuit maps of the Canadian north’, Polar Record, 52 (2016), pp. 630–44.

138 Kirsten Hastrup, ‘The nomadic landscape: People in a changing Arctic environment’, Geografisk Tidsskrift-Danish Journal of Geography, 109 (2009), pp. 181–9; see also Bennett et al., ‘Articulating the Arctic’; Leonard, ‘The need to “belong”’.

139 Rauna Kuokkanen and Victoria Sweet, ‘Indigenous Security theory: Intersectional analysis from the bottom up’, in Gunhild Hoogensen Gjørv, Marc Lanteigne, and Horatio Sam-Aggrey (eds), Routledge Handbook of Arctic Security (London, UK: Routledge, 2020), pp. 80–90 (p. 80).

140 Byers, ‘Crises and international cooperation’.

141 Robert W. Murray, ‘Arctic politics in the emerging multipolar system: Challenges and consequences’, The Polar Journal, 2 (2012), pp. 7–20; Heather Nicol, ‘Rescaling borders of investment: The Arctic Council and the economic development policies’, Journal of Borderlands Studies, 33 (2018), pp. 225–38.

142 Pauline Pic and Frédéric Lasserre, ‘What is “Arctic” about “Arctic security”?’, in Lassi Heininen, Heather Exner-Pirot, and Justin Barnes (eds), Arctic Yearbook 2019: Redefining Arctic Security (Akureyri: Northern Research Forum, 2019), pp. 405–20; see also Young, Oran R., ‘Is it time for a reset in Arctic governance?’, Sustainability, 11 (2019)CrossRefGoogle Scholar.

143 Stephenson, ‘Confronting borders in the Arctic’, p. 185.

144 Greaves, ‘Arctic (in)security and Indigenous peoples’; Farish, Matthew, ‘Frontier engineering: From the globe to the body in the Cold War Arctic’, The Canadian Geographer / Le Géographe canadien, 50 (2006), pp. 177–96CrossRefGoogle Scholar.

145 Cameron, Emilie S., ‘Securing indigenous politics: A critique of the vulnerability and adaptation approach to the human dimensions of climate change in the Canadian Arctic’, Global Environmental Change, 22 (2012), pp. 103–14CrossRefGoogle Scholar.

146 Fitjar, Rune D., ‘Region-building in the arctic periphery: The discursive construction of a petroleum region’, Geografiska Annaler: Series B, Human Geography, 95 (2013), pp. 7188CrossRefGoogle Scholar.

147 See, for example, Andreas Østhagen, Coast Guards and Ocean Politics in the Arctic (Singapore: Springer Singapore, 2020); Jakobsson, Martin, Cherkis, Norman, Woodward, John, Macnab, Ron, and Coakley, Bernard, ‘New grid of Arctic bathymetry aids scientists and mapmakers’, Eos, Transactions of the American Geophysical Union, 81 (2000), pp. 8996CrossRefGoogle Scholar.

148 Väätänen, Vesa and Zimmerbauer, Kaj, ‘Territory–network interplay in the co-constitution of the Arctic and “to-be” Arctic states’, Territory, Politics, Governance, 8 (2020), pp. 372–89CrossRefGoogle Scholar (p. 373).

149 Young, ‘Is it time for a reset in Arctic governance?’, p. 2.

150 Stephenson and Agnew, ‘The work of networks’.

151 Farish, ‘Frontier engineering’, p. 190.

152 Kuokkanen and Sweet, ‘Indigenous Security theory’.

153 Ingólfsdóttir, Auður H., ‘“Go North, young man”: Gendered discourses on climate change and security in the Arctic’, Nordia Geographical Publications, 40 (2011), pp. 8998Google Scholar.

154 Sæþórsdóttir, Anna D., Hall, C. Michael, and Saarinen, Jarkko, ‘Making wilderness: Tourism and the history of the wilderness idea in Iceland’, Polar Geography, 34 (2011), pp. 249–73CrossRefGoogle Scholar.

155 Lund, Katrín A., Kjartansdóttir, Katla, and Loftsdóttir, Kristín, ‘“Puffin love”: Performing and creating Arctic landscapes in Iceland through souvenirs’, Tourist Studies, 18 (2018), pp. 142–58CrossRefGoogle Scholar.

156 Rowland, J. C., Jones, C. E., Altmann, G., Bryan, R., Crosby, B. T., Hinzman, L. D., Kane, D. L., Lawrence, D. M., Mancino, A., Marsh, P., McNamara, J. P., Romanvosky, V. E., Toniolo, H., Travis, B. J., Trochim, E., Wilson, C. J., and Geernaert, G. L., ‘Arctic landscapes in transition: Responses to thawing permafrost’, Eos, Transactions of the American Geophysical Union, 91 (2011), pp. 229–30CrossRefGoogle Scholar; Benjaminsen, Tor A., Reinert, Hugo, Sjaastad, Espen, and Sara, Mikkel N., ‘Misreading the Arctic landscape: A political ecology of reindeer, carrying capacities, and overstocking in Finnmark, Norway’, Norsk Geografisk Tidsskrift / Norwegian Journal of Geography, 69 (2015), pp. 219–29CrossRefGoogle Scholar.

157 Oran R. Young, 'The sustainability transition: Governing coupled human/natural systems', in Gunhild Hoogensen Gjørv, Dawn Bazely, Marina Goloviznina, and Andrew J. Tanentzap (eds), Environmental and Human Security in the Arctic (London, UK: Routledge, 2014), pp. 83–97.

158 Szpak, Agnieszka, ‘Human security of the Sámi in the new Sámi Arctic Strategy’, European Security, 29 (2020), pp. 212–34CrossRefGoogle Scholar.

159 Walker, Inside/Outside.

160 Agnew, ‘Space’.

Cited by

Save article to Kindle

To save this article to your Kindle, first ensure 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 saving to your Kindle.

Note you can select to save to either the or variations. ‘’ emails are free but can only be saved to your device when it is connected to wi-fi. ‘’ 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.

Space, scale, and global politics: Towards a critical approach to space in international relations
Available formats

Save article to Dropbox

To save 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 used this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your Dropbox account. Find out more about saving content to Dropbox.

Space, scale, and global politics: Towards a critical approach to space in international relations
Available formats

Save article to Google Drive

To save 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 used this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your Google Drive account. Find out more about saving content to Google Drive.

Space, scale, and global politics: Towards a critical approach to space in international relations
Available formats

Reply to: Submit a response

Please enter your response.

Your details

Please enter a valid email address.

Conflicting interests

Do you have any conflicting interests? *