Fixing Identity, Fabricating Space:
Sovereignty and Territoriality After the Cold War
Timothy W. Luke
Department of Political Science
Virginia Polytechnic Institute
and State University
Presented at the annual meeting of the
Association of American Geographers,
March 27-April 2, 1994
0. Realist Writings/Wrighting Realities
- Writing about the unusual political realities of the present necessarily entails wrighting an alternative presence for representing the peculiar dynamics of real politics. This obligation, however, is extremely demanding, so most writers evade it by taking ready-made rhetorics of political and epistemological realism from the storeroom of scholarly scripts as the right presentation of an objective presence for their theoretical embodiments of politics, reality, and the present. The characters of sovereignty and territoriality in these scripts are strong silent types, suggesting security, safety, and stability. Sovereignty typically implies freedom from external controls, supreme power over a body politic, or controlling influence within some territory, while territoriality suggests some geographic area belonging to or under the control of a political authority with a persistent attachment to that area it controls. We ought to challenge these conceptual routinizations of theorized reality, because many of the actual realities that we see now are no longer wrought by this set of theoretical or practical routines.
All writing gives meaning to actions and thoughts by wrapping realities in words; all reading takes significance from actions and thoughts by unwrapping words about realities. Yet, after the Cold War, today’s political realities remain wrapped in Cold War words, tying their sense of the present back to actions and thoughts grounded in the Cold War era’s representations of a political and epistemological realism suitable for the Cold War world. If the Cold War world has ended, should not Cold War words also come to an end?
A. Realist Representations
- In the fantastic political realities of the present, many continue clinging to the realistic fantasies of political and epistemological realism in presenting the world to themselves and others in reified reductionist categories. Political realism, as Morgenthau articulates its basic tenets, conceptually holds together a disorderly order in a world of sovereign states by positing six precepts: 1) the political sphere where statesmen act is autonomous; 2) no one nation acts in accord with the moral laws governing the universe; 3) political action is moral significant; 4) concrete interests in terms of power can be objectively determined; 5) states navigate through strategic landscapes by following interests defined as power; and, 6) all politics is governed by objective laws rooted in human nature (1973, pages 4-15). Political realists, as a result, see a global system of sovereign states that all have an objective interest in fixing « control over the minds and actions of other men » (Morgenthau, 1973, page 28). States have hardened borders, inviolate territorial spaces, and defensible centers in global order of other comparable states all dedicated to maintaining territorial control over their sovereign spaces, resisting outside threats to their borders, and containing internal challenges to their political autonomy. Operating in these conditions calls for a simple but consistent strategy: « Each state pursues its own interests, however defined, in ways it judges best. Force is a means of achieving the external ends of states because there exists no consistent, reliable process of reconciling the conflicts of interest that inevitably arise among similar units in a condition of anarchy. A foreign policy based on this image is neither moral nor immoral, but embodies merely a reasoned response to the world about us » (Waltz, 1959, page 238).
Responding rationally to the world about us, according to the political realists, requires that we also embrace epistemological realism: an acceptance foreshadowed by political realism’s espousal in its main precepts of objectifiable laws governing human nature (Bhaskar, 1989; Sayer, 1989). Political realists assume that there are objective categories of universal validity framing political interests, normative laws and empirical regularities dividing the realms of value and fact, and, finally, stable expectations of an autonomous political reason, divorcing calculations of state power from issues of legality or morality. Epistemological realism, in turn, assumes that there are constant tendencies embedded in what is regarded as objective reality, and human observation can identify these stable patterns with fixed concepts as a means of reasoning through propositions about how this world works or what aspects of its structure mean.
These coaligned disciplinary maneuvers, as we all know, are punishing in their rhetorical reconstruction of present-day Realpolitik. This tactic severely tests « what is » by its allegedly timeless standards of objective analysis, and it roughly treats any countermoves towards « what ought to be » as subversive wrongdoings against the established rightdoings of power politics. The discipline of these punishments, in turn, maintains strict discursive discipline among the professional ranks of the academic disciplines devoted to political and epistemological realism.
Our surrealizing of political realism, however, demands that we pull the established rightdoings of realist power politics inside-out, showing how and why there may be subversive wrongdoings working from the outside-in at every conjecture of realist rule. Where is Palestine, Bosnia, Angola, Afghanistan, Salvador, not the mention Beirut, Soweto, Belfast, or Los Angeles, in Morgenthau’s realist visions of world politics? How do the Colombian drug cartels, the Nigerian crime gangs, Chinese military corporations, or Russia state mafias fit into these spaces? Why can the chaos of Bhophal, Mexico City, Chernobyl, or Lagos, which all suggest no controlling influences exerting supreme authority over these places, occur in the realists’ vision of global events? Standing conventions about the nature of political reality, given all of these chaotic eruptions at this critical conjuncture of our writing about politics in the present and others wrighting their political presences for the 1990s, cannot be accepted without question (Ashley, 1984; Der Derian, 1990; and, Luke, 1993). One must ask whether the world of described in the scripts political realism is now being enacted around us? Are the representations of epistemological realism simply rehearsing old scripts for actualizing an order rather than writing new lines for grappling with the disorder that actually is? And, what should be a rational response to the apparent conditions of anarchy, shifts of power, and distortions of space inside and outside of nation-states still pretending to have territorial sovereignty?
What, then, are the qualities of the present that suggest the play of other characters, unknown authors, new presences? From the former territory of the Soviet Union to the alleged sovereignty of Sierra Leone, something other than what the old scripts tell us should happen is happening. Is Sierra Leone, for example, the sort of territorial sovereignty described in the typical scripts of everyday ordinary political realism? It is a place on a map with national borders, a national capital, and a national territory surrounded by similar entities that are located on the map as well as on the ground in West Africa. Sierra Leone’s presence outside of these diplomatic/cartographic representations, however, varies widely from the realist script. A twenty-something army captain controls Freetown, its capital, and some regions of the countryside while the sun is up. After sundown, and throughout most of the interior, no one has supreme power, while many criminals, renegade military commanders, guerilla movements, and village chiefs wield a controlling influence, but only in the narrow locales where they are operating at the time. Meanwhile, hundreds of thousands have been displaced by constant war. Many live in Guinea or Liberia, but thousands Liberians, which also is wracked by internal disorder, are displaced in Sierra Leone. Sierra Leone’s natural resources, like diamonds or tropical hardwoods, are being looted, while its people are being displaced as refugees. Diamonds from Sierra Leonian mines are more readily available for sale in Liberia, and only six percent of the country remains in primary rain forest. At independence in 1961, sixty percent of the land was rain forest (Kaplan, 1994; page 48).
These problems of chaotic presence are not only a feature of everyday life in West Africa. In Algeria, the FLN still pretends to have supreme power over the country’s body politic free from external controls. However, in the villages and cities, an Islamic revolution centered in Iran, Egypt, or Afghanistan is dismembering this body politic, and reattaching its pieces and parts to new international communities under the sway of authorities located elsewhere. In South Africa, the white republic’s efforts to devolve authority from one race to many peoples is colliding with ethnonational territorialities invented under the apartheid system. Consequently, geographic spaces occupied by different racial and ethnic groups with persistent attachments to the areas they inhabit, are being fought over by the ANC, Inkatha Freedom Party, National Party, and Afrikaner Resistance Movement, only name a few major players, to deny, deflect, or destroy the sovereign pretensions of each over the other. In the meantime, a shadowy « third force » of white South African police bureaucracies has given guns and guidance to thugs in the African homelands and shanty-towns, assisting the ANC and Inkatha fight a low-intensity civil war that has claimed over 11,000 lives since 1990.
The dissolution of territoriality and degradation of sovereignty as well-scripted plays of power not confined to Africa. A quick look elsewhere in the Cold War era’s « Third World » will turn up parallel problems in many other places–India, Pakistan, Myanmar, Thailand, Cambodia, Indonesia, Peru, Colombia, Brazil, Haiti, Guatemala, to mention only a few, all have similar catastrophes bubbling up within the « territorial expanses » bordered by their « sovereign authorities. » These tendencies, however, are also percolating up inside the old Cold War era’s « Second World » and « First World. » Within the former Soviet Union, the politics of republicanization since 1991 have been over « the who, whom » of territoriality and sovereignty. Yugoslavia has disintegrated into several simultaneous civil wars; Czechoslovakia has divided into two not entirely stable sovereignties; Hungary hears the voices of ethnic Hungarians in the Greater Hungary of 1914 that now is Romania, Slovenia, Croatia, Serbia, and Slovakia; and, Germany again listens to chants of ethnic purity, yelling « Germany for the Germans » at foreigners once encouraged in reside in the Federal Republic during the Cold War year’s Wirtschaftwunder.
Even in « the United States » of America, new chaotic presences are eroding the flux and flow of waffling territorialities and warping sovereignties. Sony, Toyota, and Sumitomo exert strong controlling influences over American territories; Japanese capitalism has conquered Hawaii in the 1980s in ways Japanese militarism during the 1940s could not. The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms, the International Revenue Service, and the Drug Enforcement Agency operate, like dictatorial Ministries of Internal Security, all across the nation, declaring hostilities as paramilitary war machines against members of the body politic that do not acknowledge their supreme power on backwoods Idaho ranches, in Texan fundamentalist communes, at Florida airstrips, or along California’s borders with Mexico. In the meantime, mafia potentates in New York, Asian crime gangs, Jamaican posses, Haitian toughs, Colombian drug lords, and Nigerian syndicates all are exercising supreme power in hundreds of housing projects, poor neighborhoods, and city halls all over the United States–those who dissent against them can be tortured, those who oppose them are murdered, those who accept them are exploited. Consequently, politics in many places gradually is becoming what power games always are without a pretext of legitimate authority: the conduct of war, crime, and exploitation by other means.
The presentation of these chaotic presences in the political realists’ present begins to detail how un-usual the realities of international politics are becoming outside of the theoretical representations of political realism. They convey a sense of characters, conflicts, and concepts that no longer has the same resonance on this world stage unless one stages the world around the (non)sense of these scripts.
As difficult as it will be, I will try to more rightly write out what new realities are wrighting in societies and space today. Doing so will require us to surrealize the realist writs of stabilizing order by identifying the wrights of chaotic disorder. Therefore, this paper explores the dynamics of deterritorialization and reterritorialization in the divisive instabilities of the post-Cold War world system as a profusion of « multitorialities. » Things could be working as they would appear in political realism, or there might be other forces in other places working toward other ends that implode centered sovereignty into decentered sovrantee and proliferate stable territorialities as unstable multitorialities. In other words, this writing reinscribes the tumultuous events of 1989-1994 as something unusually new rather than redescribing them only as the new articulations of uncompleted processes that have been at play for decades.
- Before asking how sovereignty and territoriality operate in the fluid surrealisms arising after the Cold War, we should recount how they have been seen as working in the frozen realisms before, and maybe even during, Cold War era. For political realism, territories are geographical areas that belong to, or are under the jurisdiction of, a specific political authority. Thus, they are regarded conventionally as also being subject to the jurisdictional direction of those specific political authorities to which they belong or into whose charge they have been delivered. But, such legalistic readings of territoriality, if left alone at this juncture, might occlude as much about the practices of rule as they reveal. As these political scripts are read by realists, territorial spaces are drawn for themselves and divided from others by agents of dominium, or an authority having ownership claims to geographical regions, and/or agents of imperium, or authority exerting control effects over these same geographical regions. Territoriality emerges where some political authority possesses a high internal measure of controlling power and enforces some effective level of exclusive ownership.
Once these attributes are identified, then sovereignty is affirmed in the territory’s being free from external control and/or the effective exertion of alternative ownership claims. As Morgenthau asserts, sovereignty emerges hand-in-hand with « the new phenomenon of the territorial state » (1973, page 306) in the 1500s, and it is summed up in « the appearance of a centralized power that exercised its lawmaking and law-enforcing authority within a certain territory » in a manner that becomes « unchallengeable either from within the territory or from without » (Morgenthau, 1973, page 306). Modern orders of territoriality emerge with modern systems of centered sovereignty, and this kind of sovereignty concretizes itself through these forms of territoriality. Yet, much more needs to be written on how sovereignty wrights its rule.
A. Autonomy and Autonymy
- In the beginning, if one must return to beginnings to understand endings, it is both, as Onuf (1989, pages 1-7) observes, the word and the deed that constitute power. Autonomy (self-based law-making) begins words that are acts of autonymy (self-based naming or designation). Traditional sovereigns imposed their rule locally and inconsistently in small feudal domains with disorderly agglomerations of decentralized authority, incomplete power, and limited coerciveness. With the expansion of commercial capitalism in the early modern era, power, space, and agency begin to change.
In this context, as Poggi asserts, the modern state becomes an ensemble of institutional arrangements for rule, which imposes sets of rules from continuously operating offices of administration over a territorially bounded society (1978, page 1). Rule boils down to giving commands, and getting compliance to them from those who are ruled within the state’s territory. The practices of ruling are in-statements of rules, secured in society by rulers who, first, divide society and space into new formations of us/them or friend/foe in the ranks of the ruled and unruled, and, second, provide for those populations in their society and space into new allocation rules of customary assignments, exchange transactions, and command decisions to transfer units of value between those under this rule (Poggi, 1978, pages 2-9). The words of rule become real through acts of rulers, and the reality of rules enacted become the word for the ruled. The state is a regime of autonymous autonomy constantly constructing self-rule in laws formed out of self-designations of continually reconstructed rules (Onuf, 1989, pages 1-65). Historically, the origins of these institutional arrangements are quite varied, but they first acquire cohesive form « in the ‘new monarchies’ of early-modern Europe such as Spain, France, and England » (Kennedy, 1992, page 123).
Whether they initially speak through the words of a civilian lawgiver or move with the acts of a military strongman, the in-statement of territorializing rule in Europe begins with nations that refashion themselves as cooperating communities inhabiting spaces bounded by images of shared identity (Agnew, 1987; Hobsbawm, 1991). Still, these national in-statements are « an imagined political community–and imagined as both inherently limited and sovereign » (Anderson, 1991, page 6). Borders are drawn, and space is made social through acts of in-statement taken by various human agents–feudal warriors, urban guilds, marauding nomads, clerical orders, landowning families, or corporate estates. By ruling over some space and setting rules behind borders, these ensembles of ruling agents imagine their interactions as a particular natio, or nation, from some specific patria, or fatherland (Hobsbawm and Ranger, 1983).
The in-statements of ruling officers, as Kennedy claims, « emerged from, and then subdued, a patchwork quilt of dukedoms principalities, free cities, and other localized authorities such as Burgundy, Aragon, and Navarre, » within their sovereign territory; and, beyond their borders, these powers also resisted « transnational institutions like the papacy, monastic and knightly orders, and the Hanseatic League » (1992, page 123). There, according to Huizinga, the concept of natio, or people, nation, populace, developed its imaginary but still centered, territorialized political meanings through which,
…little by little the various relationships of dependence and community obtaining exerted an influence on the restriction and delimitation of the concept
- Regardless of their differing social bases, the activities of all these ruling in-statements share a fundamental trait: they assume by violence, default or acclamation the prerogative of speaking to/for all others as the legitimate authoritative voice (Blackburn, 1990). Acquiring nomological « powers of speech » among one people or ethnonational group begins the constitution of a centered, single country, or one center of « jurisdiction » (more literally, here, a form of lawful speech, a center of legal diction, or a mode of speaking nomologically), for, but also over, the diverse array of peoples inhabiting the spaces where this lawful speech carries (Gellner, 1983). Powers of jurisdiction transform many places on many terrains into one space of continuous jurisdiction, spatializing the power of making rules in this territory materially, organizationally and symbolically as its rule-making realm of sovereignty. Lawful speech bounded by borders drawn on the margins of sub-national and super-national space constantly reconstructs its territorial containments (Helgerson, 1992). Autonomous spaces are places where autonymous powers get to name the games that make the rules, making them the rulers. Through these tactics, then, power reworks the ground, divides up its resources, and commands economic production to materialize its rules.
Centered powerful sovereigns–individual and/or collective–generate their own territoriality, whose structures for functionalizing space, label places in the new codes of their state’s jurisdiction to organize their spaces around the needs of this centered state’s survival (Breuilly, 1982). In territorializing its state power, each national sovereign reenvisions and rematerializes power as perspectivally-defined distances from power centers (the offices of in-stated capitols) to power limits (markers along territorial borders) and time as historically-defined durations from power origins (the in-statement of state foundings) to power process (state rituals of in-stated rulers marking their individual regime’s beginnings, continuations, and endings). These sovereign concerns with the shape of territorial space and the duration of historical time are significant, as Harvey notes, because « spatial and temporal practices are never neutral in social affairs. They always express some kind of class or other social content, and are more often than not the focus of intense social struggle » (1989, page 239).
The in-stating of rule over space, or the ap-pointment of rules within boundaries, involves the productive and destructive exercise of power (Tilly, 1975). Giving commands and gaining compliance constructs the core of territorial society and sovereign space. On a first level of action, as Poggi notes, states must operate as coordinating but juxtaposed sovereign units within a system of states that they each generate as a « self-originating, self-empowered unit operating exclusively in pursuit of its own interests….in response to changes in the internal and external democratic, military, economic, and political environment » (1978, page 88). Here, states follow rules of exocolonization, pushing their prerogatives of jurisdiction through, over or beyond their borders to gain rule in other territories, over new peoples and resources. As power sites itself, it works constantly to resight its (b)orders in more extensive expanses of space that often contain « contradictive resistance. » On a second level of action, once the advance of exocolonizing power redraws borders, the ap-pointment of power must be reordered. If order means, as Poggi claims, « the existence of uniformities of conduct generated by compliance within binding norms established through commands and legitimately enforced by an overriding…center of order, then no order can be said to exist » (1978, page 88) outside each state in the larger world system of contending states that match exocolonizing offensives against anti-exocolonizing defenses. However, overriding centers of power are duly in-stated within each state, and their officers follow rules of endocolonization, pulling together all of their prerogatives of jurisdiction inside, under, or behind their borders to ensure uniformities of conduct among their own territories and peoples. As power has cited itself as order, it must work relentlessly to reincite itself within its (b)orders in more intensive levels of boundedness that also reduce « contradictive resistance. » Rousseau captures the quality of these dynamics quite aptly when he observes that the in-statement of state power « is devoted solely to two objects: to extend their rule beyond their frontiers and to make it more absolute within them. Any other purpose they may have is subservient to one of them aims, or merely a pretext for attaining them » (1917, page 95).
B. Centering Power/Stabilizing Resistance
Once the rules of exocolonizing and endocolonizing are activated, the centered nation-state continually struggles to embed the rules of its political power inside a disciplined territorial domain. « Any struggle to reconstitute power relations, » as Harvey asserts, « is a struggle to reorganize their spatial bases » (1989, page 238). These dynamics simultaneously create a series of individious distinctions and identifications to shape the foreign and domestic, the free and captive, or the external and internal out of expanses of unruly and well-ruled space. What are many anarchical terrains can become orderly territorial sovereignties, shaped and contoured from a central point of power. The reach of one authoritative voice in the state over what are many conflicting voices in civil society forcibly imposes a gridwork of homogenous space and time upon heterogenous spaces and times, while the greater volume of the single sovereign speaker in some imagined nation drowns out the rabble of contradictory speakers rising from many actual ethnic nations, deterring coercively their disruptive heterogeneities. Power crushes or, at least, contains contradictions. Thus, the various populations participating in the polity, economy, and society are forced continuously to become and stay centered in the same time and space of standardized (b)orders and measured (s)paces. The state-as-illustrator/narrator/scribe mimics rational realistic painting in fabricating « a homogenized, neutral medium in which mutually informative measurements could be made and in which the logic of spectator awareness was absolute from any viewpoint available in the common horizon…a spectator could grasp an invariant logic or relationships (« a world ») that remained the same regardless of his or her position and the extended to infinity, thus having the value of universal truth » (Ermarth, 1992, page 26). Contradictive otherness beyond the legitimized reach of state power can only exist in illegitimate forms–underground in old traditions, at the margins in other states, or incarcerated in ideological containments of its resistance (Toulmin, 1990).
- States, then, are nuclear(izing) energies: their strongly centered control over space give them a centralizing ownership of territories to carry and contain both the actions of their laws and reactions to their rule. Whether it is vested in one person or many citizens, the rules remain centered upon a critical core of massive power potentials. These apparently steady states of the territorial state, however, rarely characterize the ways and means of their actual administration; the synchronous, frozen perfection of power pursuing interests in political realist conceptualizations masks the diachronous, fluid imperfections of interests evading power in the actual operationalization of rule. Autonomy (self-legislating power) is continually beset by heteronomy (counter-legislating powers) as heteronymous forces resist and oppose autonymous forces in struggling to create and maintain heteronymous spaces for heteronomous groups. Conceptually reducing states to a reified steady-state, as political realists must do, to name their powers formally only operationally occludes how they work. In their everyday activities, they are an unsteady amalgam of ruling in-statements and counter-ruling disinstatements, both mutually coexisting uneasily together as manueverings for power.
Political realism essentially asserts that nation-states and the state system exist as such. That is, these entities are independent, unified structures that have a permanence or substance separate from the social forces that compose them. They are not contingent constructions responding to particular economic, political and social circumstances rather they have a reality apart from these operational conditions that imposes its realist political forms upon economies, politics, and societies (Waltz, 1958). Therefore, political realism entails a mystifying epistemic realism: states are real, and the state system exists independently in its own right. Realists smugly presume that whatever may be said about states, or thought about the state system, might mistakenly often assume other idealist, nominalist or phenomenalist forms, but these intellectual alternatives are mere mystifications. For, in the final analysis, behind these totally false interpretations, there are always the enduring dynamics of Realpolitik recapitulating fairly stable general structures. This stabilizing objective script must now be surrealized, to give it any utility today. The image of rational, unitary nuclear powers nested at the center of every territorial sovereignty largely has been negated by the drift of events during the Cold War. The unnatural juxtapositions of transnational ideological struggle, national strategic interests, and subnational economic growth in the post-WWII era chained a series of inherently unstable reactions together, which has warped the shapes of power, space, and agency in postmodernizing informational societies.
2. Nuclear Proliferation
- Cultivating the presence of unnatural combinations in rewriting the present as a political surrealism demands a careful re-reading of the historical record. What is natural, or objective, or real after 1945 becomes highly contestable–in more ways than one–due to the revolutionary destruction of thermonuclear technologies. Already by 1942, human beings had violated the earth’s « natural laws » by staging a controlled nuclear chain reaction. By 1945, with the machining of uranium and plutonium into explosive devices, human beings began warping nature as an artificial transuranic nature, which became inevitable after introducing into their environment materials, like neptunium and plutonium in 1934, that hitherto did not « exist » in nature as it has been known. These shifts, with the staging of a fission bomb explosion in 1945, and a fusion bomb explosion during 1951, break the history of the state system into an atomic postmodern era from the preatomic modern period. Nature now becomes anthropogenic, not autogenic or theogenic, and the powers causing its anthropogenesis also begin to implode all existing cultural, political, and social systems. Einstein is wrong about nuclear energy, everything did not change except our way of thinking; in fact, our way of thinking changed everything except for how we act politically. Consequently, societies that continue to think about war as a rational strategy for various national interests to gain power over the minds and actions of others now have hydrogen bombs.
In these unstable, supercritical chain reactions, states as territorial sovereignties also begin to implode (Der Derian and Shapiro, 1989; Walker, 1990). Thermonuclear weapons make states obsolete; no state can defend itself against and survive a serious nuclear assault. So thermonuclear states, mostly by accident, froze the existing rules for war-making inside of the machinations of immense deterrence blocs. Yet, in the deep freeze of the Cold War, another kind of destabilizing nuclear proliferation began, which still has yet to end, as the nucleus of centered, stabilizing state sovereignty implodes, beginning cycles of nuclear fission and fusion in economies, societies, and states that continue trying to survive today. Within countries, new nuclei of power compete for social primacy within the centered sovereigns maintaining the territorial integrity of states. And, outside of countries, these nuclei often defuse and refuse into subnational/transnational/supranational entities arrayed against state sovereignty. This kind of nuclear proliferation, then, generates many multiple points of power in new decentered nuclei, multipolarizing what were unipolar political orders inside of states into polyvalent disorderings of power inside and outside of states. The energies released in these reactions irradiate everything with their flows of power, information, material, and people. Partly post-spatial, partly post-sovereign, partly post-territorial, partly post-statal, these flows are postmodernizing shock waves, vaporizing the objective truths of fixed natural laws, stable national interests, and objective strategic calculation that were held somewhat true prior to the proliferation of these unstable nuclei (Soja, 1989).
A. Cold Warring
- The Cold War refabricated almost all global spaces into three mutually coexisting realms: the Western bloc of US allies loosely cooperating in NATO and the OECD, the Eastern bloc of USSR allies more tightly integrated into the WTO and CMEA, and the nonaligned world of mainly Southern hemisphere countries along with India and, at times, China. Both blocs operated as centered regimes of power, policing their zones of alliance for ideological conformity and military support. Border wars between the two zones happened often, early, and intensely. From Greece and Turkey in the 1940s to Angola and Afghanistan in the 1980s, the economy and society of many smaller nations in their colonial or postcolonial forms were destroyed institutionally and culturally by the Cold War. Not too surprisingly, many of today’s biggest basket cases among the world’s « nation-states » are former Cold War hotspots; in them, one sees how sovereignty and territoriality really operate after the Cold War.
In some ways, one might argue that sovereignty and territoriality are reasserting their significance after the Cold War. The superpowers’ efforts to bipolarize the world into two opposing and antagonistic zone-regimes centered on new identities and spaces in ideology, economics, and strategy overwrote the traditional sovereignty of nations with strategic codes of ideology, and the conventional territory of states inside of the tactical borders of blocs. Superpowers continually deautonomized their satellites and allies to impose the « superpower » of collective strategies, dedicated to avoiding nuclear war. In one sense, however, the system of thermonuclear deterrence allowed a kind of « nuclear war » to happen, and in the shock waves of deterrence the once stable nucleus of state sovereignty resting at the nuclei of all states degraded into many new, unstable nuclei inside and outside of instated sovereign territories. Consequently, the world order now is an unstable isotope, combining reactions of constant nuclear fusion, as many different global entities are constantly fusing their energies and materials inside and outside of country borders, and reactions of on-going nuclear fission, as innumerable local, regional, and even national entities divide and subdivide over and over in chaotic clots of symbolic exchange, military conflict, material enterprise, and ideological communication.
Within sovereign territories, new nuclei are forming, decentering sovereign authorities, multiplying operational spaces, dividing ties of belongingness, and mixing zones of preempted activities. Moreover, as these nuclear fissions occur, they can be chained into wider reactions in other areas into nuclear fusions beyond, beneath, beside, or behind the lines and solids formed in statalized sovereignty and politicized territory. The facts of sovereignty and territoriality as described by international law, however, are becoming transnational legalistic fictions. As the proliferating nuclei of decentralized power author(ize) law-unmaking and law-breaking within uncertain territories, each sovereignty finds itself constantly challenged from within and without its territories by divisive nuclear fissions, like ethnic tribalism, criminal gangsterism, or linguistic separatism, and integrative nuclear fusions, like religious fundamentalism, pan-national racialism, or global environmentalism.
B. Informationalization: Cold Fusions/Hot Fissions
- The most disruptive force behind the destruction of the old Cold War world order developed within and as part of that global regime’s enforcement, namely, the informationalization of the social means of production, consumption, administration, and destruction as « fast capitalism » (Agger, 1989; Harvey, 1989; Attali, 1991). These shifts started during the 1950s and 1960s, when the global impact of mass telecommunications, electronic computerization, cybernetic automation, and rapid transportation first began to be experienced broadly around the world (Luke, 1983, pages 59-73); but, they have been accelerating with each passing year. As Jameson claims, this is a global change « which is somehow decisive but incomparable with the older convulsions of modernization and industrialization, less perceptive and dramatic somehow, but more permanent precisely because it is more thorough going and all-pervasive » (1991, page xxi). The electron guns built into billions of cathode ray tubes have blasted fixed identities and spatial fabrications into fractalized fragments. These directed energy devices are beam particles of meaning and waves of form against old structures and processes incapable of defending against them.
Informational systems reorder the structures of social action as well as institutional sites of cultural process in several different ways. Frequently in the past, these informational networks have been seen as buttressing the power of nation-states; however, now their effect « has been the opposite: breaking state monopolies of information, permeating national boundaries, allowing peoples to hear and see how others do things differently » (Kennedy, 1993, page 333). As Vattimo (1992, pages 1-6) argues, informationalization pluralizes the sites with rule-making potential and diversifies the spaces of actual rule-following within many existing cultures and societies. A logic of informational commodification demands constant expansion, turning everything into an object of communication (Luke, 1989). More and more national subcultures, local personalities, fundamentalist sects, and ethnic groups can gain a voice and presence in the mass media. Thus, « the West is living through an explosive situation, not only with regard to other cultural universes (such as the ‘third world’), but internally as well, as an apparently irresistible pluralization renders an unilinear view of the world and history impossible » (Vattimo, 1992, page 6).
These shifts are, most importantly, de-centering. New nuclei split cultures, economies, and societies between the demands of nominal nationality in old in-stated spaces and actual transnationality in new un-stated spaces as many newly forming local and regional centers of activity can patch into truly transnational rather than essentially national modes of production. In these global economic changes, as Reich claims: « Barriers to cross-border flows of knowledge, money, and tangible products are crumbling; groups of people in every nation are joining global webs » (1991, page 172). Sovereignty is displaced or supplanted in the flows by performativity, « that is, » as Lyotard claims, » the best possible input/output equation » (1984, page 46). Statal rules are decentered as these shifts toward the performative provide new criteria for determining what is strong, what is just, and what is true in the operational workings of informational flows. The normativity of laws in statist jurisdictions, then, gradually is supplanted by the performativity of procedures in extra-statist polydictions that often also are post-jurisdictional (Lyotard, 1984, page 46).
More complex informational communities also can develop within the operational areas of these many new global flows as the imagination of virtual communities defines their limits and powers. In the global flows of informational capitalism, « the world of generalized communication explodes like a multiplicity of ‘local’ rationalities–ethnic, sexual, religious, cultural, or aesthetic minorities–that finally speak up for themselves. They are no longer repressed and cowed into silence by the idea of a single true form of humanity that must be realized irrespective of particularity and individual finitude, transience, and contingency » (Vattimo, 1992, page 9). Emancipation in the informational order, « consists in disorientation, which is at the same time also the liberation of differences, of local elements, of what generally could be called dialect » (Vattimo, 1992, page 8). Through the multiplicity of dialects and their different cultural universes, living in this unstable, pluralistic world « means to experience freedom as a continual oscillation between belonging and disorientation » (Vattimo, 1992, page 10).
Gaining access to these disorienting but connecting transnational flows with their flexible sites of operationalization grows in importance over fixing control over national space with rigid borders of organization (Harvey, 1989). Again, as Castells asserts, « there is a shift, in fact, away from the centrality of the organizational unit to the network of information and decision. In other words, flows, rather than organizations, become the units of work, decision, and output accounting. Is the same trend developing in relation to the spatial dimension of organizations? Are flows substituting for localities in the information economy? Under the impact of information systems, are organizations not timeless but also placeless? » (Castells, 1989, page 142). The diversity, depth, and direction of these flows constitute new spaces of action outside of rules made by states. Flows in most respects represent capital in motion, circulating money, labor, products, and technology (as well as information in audio, video, and data form about them) throughout the global economy. Partly local, partly global, such flows project a parallel domain of artificial spaces created by these streams of data, audio, and video.
With these decentralizations, then, there are innumerable new areas of operation, regions of action, spheres of simulation, and zones of performativity that are « un-stated » rather than « in-stated. » Such expanses of unreal/surreal/hyperreal estate provide new centers, multiple margins, and parallel dimensions where flows of power have fresh options to test their own agendas, interests, and values beyond, beside, and beneath the nation-state. With these discourses, then, there is a general de-realization of the old real world inasmuch as « the images of the world we receive from the media and human sciences, albeit on different levels, are not simply different interpretations of a ‘reality’ that is ‘given’ regardless, but rather constitute the very objectivity of the world » (Vattimo, 1992, page 24-25).
While these eruptions of fundamental change are happening globally, such transformations are not creating either a stable or a homogeneous economy and society around the world (Henderson and Castells, 1987). Instead these eruptions of decentering disruption reconfirm Harvey’s observations about the political economy of postmodernity. That is, « time and space both get defined through the organization of social practices fundamental to commodity production. But the dynamic force of capital accumulation (and overaccumulation), together with conditions of social struggle, renders the relations unstable » (1989, page 239). The sources of management, labor, technology, and capital are much too diverse at this time to entirely recenter the entire global economy. And, globalization is generating many new unusually destructive ecological effects at the local, regional, and international levels of operation. Most vitally, the destabilizing influences of informationalization have surpassed the power dynamics of in-stated laws (juris-dictions) tied to exclusive and exhaustive control of unified, stable spaces by generating new structuralizing games and alternate encoding dictions, nested in rapid and intense intervention into disjunctive, unstable flows on a global scale, which are fragmenting, anarchical, and unruly (O Tuathail and Luke, 1994).
C. Postjurisdictional Practices
- At this juncture, as Jameson notes, » the nation-state itself has ceased to play a central functional and formal role in a process that has in a new quantum leap of capital prodigiously expanded beyond them, leaving them behind as ruined and archaic remains in the development of this mode of production » (1991: 412). National cultures, economies and states are becoming increasingly nominal, while transnational cultures, economies, and states now are being fully actualized (Smith, 1984). Areas of operation, above and below the nation-state, frame the critical zones of individual, corporate, and social performativity. Old realist strategies of survival in which nation-states remain hard-shelled creatures of sovereignty with closed, inaccessible economic spaces, attempting to control capital, labor, technology, and markets on a strictly national basis, as the evidence shows, are doomed to fail by slipping into the performative failures of anachronistic stagnation, like Cuba, Mao’s China, the former USSR, Myanmar, or North Korea (O’Brien, 1992). Nation-states that shed their hard shells of sovereignty in becoming totally open, fully accessible economic spaces, however, are showing signs of performative success, like Poland, Deng’s China, the Baltic states, Vietnam, or South Korea. The more territorial sovereignties release their commitment to exclusive rule-making, highly centered power, then the more performative their economies and societies become. Nonetheless, what are the implications of these strongly centered states no longer fixing identity and fabricating space? What other entities might fill this vacuum, and what impact might this have on everyday life?
The loss of sovereignty over territoriality manifests itself in many ways, but most significantly in the confusion or division of legitimacy and authority. Old equations balancing the rational operations of man, the state, and war, as they have been drawn since 1648, are obsolete. Those calculations are nested in visions of efficient rulers seizing effective control over particular territorial spaces. Once in control, their systems of rule provide the rules within the territorialized societies they autonomously administer to organize the people’s enjoyment of economic prosperity, social unity, and cultural purpose. The rulers might take a lot or a little for their services, but there always is rule-making, rule-following, rule-applying within more or less legitimate in-statements of authoritative rule. Outsiders are those living beyond the borders maintained by a monopoly over the legitimate use of force, the institutionalized denomination of money, and a collective imagination of group identity. As others, outsiders then become enemy or ally, friend or foe, but not part of « us, » because they are « them. » Insiders are those within the borders; they accept the monopoly over the use of legitimate violence, issuing money, and definition of identity, and are part of « us, » because they are not « them. » The state is expected to control crime, contain deviants, coordinate markets, and center society. And, finally, to assure the rules will work, the rulers also can provide collective goods–infrastructure assets, social welfare agencies, public health measures, environmental regulations, or communications media–that no one might effectively do on their own, but which all can benefit.
All of these calculations again assume stable, centered, political jurisdictions where one legitimate set of lawful covenants and one authoritative user of legal violence can be identified by its simultaneously creating, and being created by, territorial sovereignty. With the state unable to enforce its supreme power over the body politic or exert a controlling influence within its own borders, territories are becoming post-jurisdictional. People now live in spaces where legitimate law does not speak authoritatively, or if it does, very few people listen enough to accord it legitimacy or recognize its authority. As a result, there is a deregulation of legitimate authority. New unregulated nuclei start exercising mini-monopolies over the use of violence, issuing their money as capital, credit or cash, and enforcing their laws within particular bordered spaces. A disap-pointment of legitimate authority comes along with dis-instatements of rule, the rules, and rulers. Without their occupation of salient sites of firmly ap-pointed power, the state loses control over many sites, people lose sight of the rulers, and legitimate control no longer can be cited as a determinate influence in the body politic. Slowly, the in-statement of rule over space by autonomous sovereignty is slipping away into the sway of heteronomous potentates, characterized by loose collections of unruly places, unstated rules, and disinstated rulers that decisively are influencing the conduct of everyday life. States, then, do not have exclusive control over all of their territories or completely effective ownership of every bit of their space. Autonomy is constantly either being taken away or given up, negating centered sovereignty somewhat, but also enabling many forms of decentered nuclei to assert their partial control over space or temporary ownership of spaces in monopolizing the enactment of particular practices or the legitimation of specific functions.
The loss of security that follows the decentering of state sovereignty can be seen in many places. Debates about « national security, » or protecting national territory from outsider invaders, turn to questions of « home security, » or defending « domestic space » from criminal intrusions. Homeowners embed electronic sensors, infrared tracking devices, and body heat detectors into their properties, wiring them into elaborate private security company grids that are paid to guard the owners’ property and lives. No longer exerting a controlling power over their own territories, sovereign states accept the private sector’s commercialization of security for sale to both public and private buyers. Even the state begins to employ rent-a-cops and surveillance services to police the public domain as its rule shrinks in size and stability.
As instated space becomes a patchwork of unstated places, one must reassess the nature of crime. It no longer is a deviation from the instated rules of stable jurisdictional institutions, instead it becomes the norm in the unstated freedom of unruly activities in unstable, postjurisdictional environments. In a time when warfare becomes crime (as the struggles in Central America, Yugoslavia, Southeast Asia, or Afghanistan all indicate), then crime too becomes warfare. While we do not yet have a war of all against all, there is a war of many against many. Its signs are everywhere. Individuals, families, neighbors all around the world must fund defense programs: acquiring home defense shotguns, putting their kids in bullet-proof school clothes, hardening their homes with anti-intruder devices, buying into early-warning detection grids with electronic security contracts, erecting high walls and floodlights around suburban tracts, organizing neighborhood watch committees as security pacts against invasion, or, when all else fails, paying protection money to racketeers, mobilizing self-defense strike forces, or employing mercenary protection services to provide their security. Sooner or later, everyone will live in Mogadishu, employing technicals to guard their persons and property.
Crime makes manifest an elaborate transnational economy of drug production and consumption, which fills the vacuum of unemployment left behind by the automation of other systems of globalized industrial and agricultural production. Crime is a rational response to collapsing ecosystems and crushed economies in the First World, Second World, and Third World, but it is expanding as war-making by peoples on peoples in many places rather than by war-making by states against states over space.
Global refugees do not recognize the legitimate sovereignty of exclusive national citizenship, inviolate borders, and domestic law. To exploit the global commons, they ceaselessly crawl higher on the world food chain by violating borders, flaunting law, simulating citizenship in seeking the services of richer regimes. Global capital does not recognize state sovereignty over public finances, monetary control, labor rights: it talks against states to homogenize labor markets, commodify money, evade taxes and business laws in search of free markets. Global criminals do not recognize territorial sovereignty over people and places: they construct their own localized disorders in protection rackets, drug economies, fraud schemes, or debt bondages with their own illegal contradictive rules of profit and power counterposed to instated jurisdictions of sovereign authority.
3. Hidden Spaces, Unknown Places
- All of these contestations point to the renewed contestability of all territoriality. As many spaces are becoming more unstated or disinstated, the placements and displacements of practices in territories also are shifting. If states no longer either directly authorize or indirectly legitimate the specific operational instantiations of power as substantive national identity and politicized spatial form, then what begins to structure relations of the belonging to, the controlling over, and the using of places and people? Stable sovereignty and tangible territoriality now implode, leaving new isotopes of free unstated nuclei creating much more unstable forms of « sovrantee » and often more intangible modes of « multitoriality. »
A. Pluralizing Territoriality
- A territory is, as the Latin language first framed it, a « territorium, » or the land surrounding a town. Most literally, a territory is « terra » (land) plus « torium » (place for, thing used for), or the places containing divisions of the earth or the things used for dividing the earth. When coupled with sovereignty, territoriality becomes the site where political power divides the earth and its resources, as centered ruling authorities put their powers vis-á-vis other emplaced or displaced powers in the lands, skies, and waters they presume to own or control. But, territories also can be venues of dividing more than the earth or things used for the division of other more concrete spaces inside of abstract geographic spaces. What appears to be « monotorial » under instated domination may well be « multitorial » in more unstated spaces. As places for dividing other matters and energies, or things used for directing other purposes and practices, what other concrete political operations are embedded in territories?
Territories are highly politicized formations inasmuch as they also contain the access arrangements to physical security benefits, health services, identity codes, and infrastructural goods. So are they as territoriums also ensembles of a securitorium, a sanatorium, an identitorium, or a servitorium? Historically, sovereign power centers linked the occupation of territorialized spaces to their populations’ access to these social ends and means, but they can be decoupled from strict sovereign control and tight territorial provision? That is, these multiple use spaces and operational access points within territories are fragmenting into postsovereign reorderings. Territories also have been the key containers of material wealth creation, ethnonational community, ethico-theological meaning, and bio-physical environments. So are they as territoriums also distributoriums, communitoriums, moralitoriums, or ecotoriums? Once again, as sovereign states colliding with new destructive forces in the proliferation of nuclei does one see these fusions of space/population/benefits being broken off or out of sovereign territorialities?
Territories, in other words, are being split into many autonomous spheres of power-exertion where sovereigns cannot determine for themselves what laws will be, for whom, and why. Power allegedly produces its effects on individuals and collectives in simple-singular spaces that are seen as rigid and continuous. Undistorted by contradictive counterinfluences or subversive uncontrolled activities, self-rule supposedly is simply ruling over a singular space in accord with Morgenthau’s autonomy of the political. Yet, territory actually appears now to become a complex-plural space that is flexible and discontinuous. Within the ambit of political space (territory), there are many personal safety zones (securitory), health service benefit points (sanatory), individual/collective identity formations (identitory), and infrastructural goods enjoyment sites (servitorium). Actual states may provide some measure of these vital ends and means to some, but more commonly forces in civil society, marketplace transactions, corporations, psychosocial traditions, and built environments provide the rest. Relations of ownership and control are firmly fabricated in space, but not finally fixed by sovereignty. Likewise, political space (territory) also contains complex-plural compressions of new sitings of material wealth production and consumption (distributory), regions of ethnonational community (communitory), points of ethico-theological meaning (moralitory), and zonings of bio-physical environment (ecotory). States cross-cut, cut over, or undercut these spaces in their political territorial controls, but, once again, these spaces have ranges arrayed elsewhere with their own power games, battle lines, and conflict centers.
The hitherto simple-singularization of territory as monotoriality, or one essentially empty dimension of only autonomous political activity must be modified. Territories are multitorialities, or complex-pluralizations with many full dimensions of heteronomous and diverse activity. State sovereigns might try to police all of these manifold spaces by compressing their diversity into one relation–being inside or outside of politically bounded spaces. Nonetheless, these ranges of various means and diverse ends lap in and out of sovereign territorialities; indeed, their heteronomous differences often link into other contradictive formations inside and outside of state jurisdiction. And, as states are decentered, these « multitorialities » can be colonized by other powers. Their occupants and occupations can secede into new extrastatal/subnational/suprasocial spaces or they could advance other articulations of ownership and control against the state. When forces of contradiction actually stop or rollback instatements of jurisdiction, what happens to power, space, and agency in the public and private realm? In one way, it could now lead toward a truly « world politics » in which the planetary system is the new ultimate boundary of political action, but, in another way, it also will lead to unprecedented chaos in many places where sovereign centers do not hold control or no longer have ownership even as control and ownership of territorial space fragment in these bizarre multitorial struggles.
B. Dividing Sovrantee
- Multitorialities are not necessarily anarchic fields of activity, even though they often appear to be postjurisdictional. These sites for dividing access to or inaccessibility from spaces of security, health, identity, or services exist inside-of and outside-of the ambit of instated power. Likewise, the things used for providing or preventing access to material wealth, ethnonational community, ethico-theological meaning, or biophysical environments can be given or not given by the state. Where states still contain all of these nuclei in one core, there territoriality may still be coextensive with multitoriality as strong, centered jurisdictive autonomy contains weaker, uncentered contradictive heteronomy. However, where there is nuclear proliferation, or many multitorialized nuclei floating more freely from the domination of state sovereignties, this is where contradictive heteronomous spaces can generate alternative multitorial domains under the control of new sovrans where systems of power pulse outside of effective state control.
Instead of sovereignty, one sees unstated sovrantees–decentered power centers, illegitimate law-making bodies, unruly rule-setting agencies. Everyone knows they exist, but no one can fix their identities or fabricate their spaces without distinguishing their zones of operation from territorial sovereignty. As fissionable nuclei, they constantly pass in and out of spaces that states do not steady, beyond the rules of rulers, over and around the writs of written law. Emerging hand-in-hand with the centralized nuclear power of strategic zone-regimes during the Cold War, these proliferations of decentralized power nuclei set the rules within certain domains of space, regions of operation, or communities of meaning where the rulings of states are ineffective, illegitimate, or powerless. Sovrantee then, uses the plurality and complexity of unstated spaces to draw new sets of boundaries and barriers that only personal submission to new sovrantees can render transparent and simple with their power, knowledge, and presence. Here perhaps one sees contradictive agencies searching for new means of siting/citing/sighting sovrantee over their postnational areas of performative operation–local, specific, discrete, and zoned–beneath, behind or between national territories of jurisdictive instatements.
Corporate sovrantees, for example, are among the most divisive and destructive forces at work today (Taylor and Thrift, 1986). Their individual « global reach » (Barnet and Mueller, 1974) is coextensive with their collective global grab for exclusive range rights in several multitorial registers. Their colonization of distributorial space as well as identitorial space constantly preempts the controls of territorial sovereigns. Their sales and services settle the affairs of everyday life for millions into patterns of buying and selling that mediate relations of supervience and subverience between firms and their customers. In selling products, providing services, manufacturing goods, firms occupy spaces of material distribution and psychosocial identity that heteronomize territorial sovereignties.
In any given political sovereignty, one will find many corporate sovrantees, occupying markets and turning sales territories into regions of personal security, social stability, and cultural identity via the cash nexus. The more businesses collocate in political territories, the more multipolarized these sovereign spaces become, preempting public space with private places or corporate clientage. Now, otherwise autonomous populations are subject to private powers, subordinate to the agendas of capital, and dominated by the choices given in markets. And, the many different polarities of business pull people and states in contradictory directions: oil companies, media concerns, food businesses, housing builders, electronics giants each seek to limit individual and collective freedoms to suit their products and plans. The multitorialization of monotorial spaces in this way permits AT&T, Exxon, Toshiba, Nissan, Unilever, and Phillips to colonize the same place at the same time by pluralizing different moments in the everyday.
On the level of institutionalized sovrantees, one could see similar trends in religious bodies’ occupation of moralitorial spaces, ethnonational movements’ seizure of communitorial spaces, or environmental groups’ takeover of ecotorial spaces to exert counter measures against the rules of sovereign control. Heteronomy comes with these new centers’ heteronymous powers, claiming regions of meaning, purpose, or order from the jurisdictive uniformity of state autonomy. In these resistances, Branch Davidans subordinate territorial jurisdiction to their moralitorial secession, contradicting juridictive law with theodictive faith. Likewise, Afrikaner Resistance Movement fighters build lägers of commitorial space for the imagi-nation of a pure « white race » against the territorial space of a sovereignty sliding toward control by an impure combi-nation run for a « black race. » And, Greenpeace guerrillas foray out into ecotorial spaces they see needing defense from states seeking territorial domination (French atomic testing on South Pacific Islands), firms advancing distributorial privilege (Japanese whaling concerns overkilling whale populations), or individuals stuck in outmoded identitorial zones (haute bourgeois shoppers buying fur coats as invidious signs of status). Other much more ominous sovrantees, however, are also at work inside and outside of territorial sovereignties. The Colombia drug cartel plays a heteronomizing role, shredding sovereignty in its own distributorial spaces. Similarly, individual soldiers and units from the military formations of many African, Asian or Latin American states all prey upon the distributorial spaces of their domestic societies, disrupting their own countries’ jurisdictions to extract wealth from anyone and everyone. What they do not appropriate, guerrilla sovrantees, like UNITA, the Khmer Rouge, or Sendero Luminoso, may seek to expropriate to build their own counter-states within these established states in a battle over who dominates how many unmapped multitorialities within a well-mapped monotoriality.
Nation-state agencies may constantly attempt to contain and even resist their workings, but sovrantees continue to evince the decentered/differentiated/disorganized dynamics of their multitoriality against the centralizing/standardizing/organizing territoriality of sovereignty. Increasingly, pre-national primordialisms, nested in the identitories of ethnic/religious/linguistic/racial communitories spill across old arbitrary state borders, igniting local conflicts with many central state authorities. Inside other non-national distributories, transnational trade networks see the buying and selling thousands of different commodities–necessary and sumptuary, legal and illicit, essential and frivolous, high-volume and high-value–in servitorial flows that thrive beyond, behind, and beneath any one nation-state’s control. In many extra-national ecotories, Nature’s various biotic, geologic, and atmospheric zones continue to evolve in thousands of different bioregions that surpass all national-statal efforts to manage them, while incurring all of the damage that human societies continue to inflict from their distributorial/servitorial/sanatorial spaces. Inside other new, post-national communitories, the informatic/telematic/robotic flow of cyberspaces knit together transnational multitorialities in an emergent planetary infostructure, shredding the old identitorial barriers once thrown up modern industrial states in national monotorialities to create national autonomy, national security, and national identity. And, in many supra-national theotories, the combined effects of all these links are affirming communitorial cultural codes and practices–some highly reactionary, some extremely progressive–that stress difference/resistance/multiplicity beneath and beyond national statal confines in a cybercreole of placelessness, eccentricity, and simultaneity. Fluid and unbounded, multitoriality forms globally and locally in sovrantees’ contradictions to sovereignty’s jurisdictions in fixed fabrications of monotoriality.
Given these various developments, the centeredness and spatiality of many favored terms in political realism, like international/domestic, global/local, and national/transnational, lose much of their conceptual resonance and structural integrity. Heteronomizing powers disrupt, corrode, break down, alter spaces. Political realist reasoning, which presents a world full of centered nations with discrete domestic agendas, pursuing their respective global strategies with national strategies, comes up short. One must instead accept new presences in an entirely new world order. Heteronomous agencies get ensnarled in intermestic conflicts, produce domestational identities, administer glocal enterprises, and advance highly lobal agendas in the politicized currents of the world’s informationalized flows.
When and where multitorial institutions become so intertwined in two or more allegedly discrete national-statal spaces, i.e. Israel and the U.S., the U.S.S.R. and Czechoslovakia, Russia and Kazakhstan, Belgium and Zaire, France and Algeria, one often sees an intermestic politics. When and where individuals and communities are so interlinked or intermixed in two or more allegedly discrete national-statal spaces, i.e. India/Pakistan, Russia/Ukraine, Texas/Chihuahua, Serbia/Bosnia-Croatia-Slovenia, Hungary/Romania, one sees domestational conflicts. When and where signatures of actually transnational structural forces and systemic flows do solidify/stabilize at a certain localized site, new multitorialities form in allegedly nominal nationalized space.
Unstated zones open spaces to resist and retard state sovereignty for local, regional, global alliances of diverse, heteromorphous, dissenting, and unstable groupings. One sees « sovran » powers resisting/challenging/subverting « sovereign » power. These new sovrans’ areas of operation and unstated zones problematize the pull of state sovereignty. In these regions, the sovereign power of the state often is ineffectual, limited, or inferior to other forces. While it may claim a monopoly over the legitimate use of force within its given territory, the deterritorializing actions of many sovrantees abridge the license of sovereign authority pretending to exert monopoly. Consequently, one sees other groups, agencies, individuals or entities aspiring to exercise « sovrantees, » not as sovereigns who actually reign over all as rulers, but rather as rule-setting, rule-applying, and rule-interpreting forces running through more focused, localized, or zoned areas of operation where flows un-state, disap-point, and de-center power.
On one level, stabilized territories formed by spatialized power do maintain powerful emplacements where state sovereignty effectively centers subjectivity, anchors order, and contains contradictions. Yet, on another level, unstated flows displace statal forms, opening up new disinstated zones where the unstable nuclei of extrastatal/nonstatal/poststatal/substatal/cryptostatal sovrantees run largely unchecked among the heteromorphous, unstable, diverse, and heterogenous channels of global flows (Corbridge, Martin, and Thrift, 1994). In the wild zones of South Central L.A., the sovereignties of city hall, Sacramento, or Washington, D.C. are definitely limited by the sovrantees of the Crips and Bloods. In the electromagnetic spectra and wirenets of AT&T’s global infostructure, no one statal sovereignty is supreme. Rather AT&T’s corporate sovrans’ set, enforce, and interpret their own rules of entering/using/exiting the teleregions and cyberspaces provided by their communication flows. In the production of hydrocarbon energy supplies, the seven sisters of global oil procure and provide adequate stocks of oil, coal, gas, and petrochemicals as highly efficacious sovrantees that lift, transport, process, and deliver the substance of world energy flows to their customers in regions claimed by various national sovereignties. Sovereignty, however, over territory can easily crumble if these sovrans are not satisfied with the conditions of access or frequency of payment in any given national territory. In the wild zones of Angola, Bosnia, Somalia, Cambodia, or Colombia, the sovereignty imputed to authorities sitting in capital buildings emplaced on nominally national territories is eclipsed by struggling sovrans, like UNITA, Serbian irregulars, Baidoa technicals, the Khmer Rouge, and Cali drug lords, all devoted to setting the rules in their growing zones of unstated operation. As Bodin notes, once sovrantees start having « the arms and the fortresses in their power, » these sovran agencies do have truly extraordinary authority inasmuch as « the master of brute force is the master of men, of the laws, and of the entire commonwealth » (1992, page 108).
As one surveys the terrains of the contemporary world system, instated territorial sovereigns are enmeshed in many struggles on multiple fronts at several different levels with unstated sovrans. Whether one looks at the narcocapitalist penetration of neighborhoods, cities, and states around the world, the transnational banks dictating fiscal policies to Group of 77 countries, global telecommunications firms linking home subscribers to digital telematic systems on every continent, entertainment conglomerates vending dubbed images of secular suburban humanism in American sitcoms in Islamic countries, or the virtual states of crypto-states, like Ollie North’s Iranscam/Contragate/BCCI agencies, hiding in the PROFS system of the White House as it stealthy devastated Nicaragua, new unstated sovran agencies are running their sovrantees against the sovereignty of old territorial powers.
4. (Un)Fixing Identities/(De)Fabricating Spaces
- The inadequacies of language rapidly overtake discussions of contestable concepts. Political realism, sovereign territoriality, Cold War: the meanings of all these terms are unstable, variable, and unfixed. As a result, our investigations here started across this uncertain ground, knowing that it will continue shifting even as we tease out of these terms’ many meanings by rereading the implications both for and against them. Nonetheless, it would appear that there are new presences in the present. Hence, sovereignty and territoriality after the Cold War are being reconstituted in the unstated spaces of sovrantees and multitorialities.
Beyond, behind and beneath the realities of sovereign territorial statics, fixed to state-fabricated spaces inside of tightly enscribed montorial borders, there are the surrealities extra-sovereign multitorial dynamics, fluctuating within many different links along loosely coupled local/global networks of exchange and communication. In the mass media, for example, every television receiver becomes an access port, opening into/looking out on to the imaginary terrains of identitories. The cultural meanings of images develop out of postjurisdictional codes set into the global flow of substantive and symbolic information. The Cable News Network, for example, is a globalized artificial space available in nearly 140 nations around the world twenty-four hours a day. Much of the coverage is transnational, focusing on world politics, world economics, world sports, and world mass culture, although it is framed by « American producers using American techniques for « Americanized » consumers in Americanizing markets. Still, these hypermodernizing mediations in the image flow arguably are not necessarily carriers of national realist modernizations. Instead, they arguably act as the carriers of a transnational postmodernity, because even Americans are being subjected to further « Americanization » at this stage of postmodernity. Being American or becoming Americanized in some space of one’s everyday existence within these informational formations can take place, like CNN coverage, « any time and all the time. » Such mass media identitories can easily recontextualize redefining traditional oppositions of us/them, same/other, friend/foe, in local community; old boundaries of inside/outside, foreign/domestic, our/theirs in global community; and, existing barriers of access/exclusion, power/powerlessness, order/disorder in transnational community.
Outside of their efforts to guarantee national security, nation-states often are little more than virtual realities imagineered on a geographic basis at a national level to organize the delivery of a vastly varied mix of social services from the instated sovereign and/or unstated sovrantees. Today, the attributes of « nationality » often boil down to fleeting, floating coefficients of individual access or personal entitlement to the basic material standard of living that now is the measure of collective identity for those different « national » entities known as nation-states. Varying levels of individual and collective enjoyment of goods and services from the capitalist world-system, which are measured by a flexible kit of standard statistical indicators, establish the essential socio-economic profiles of « what is » a so-called First, Second, Third or Fourth World nation-state. Americans are « Americans, » Chadians are « Chadians, » or Thais are « Thais » because they have this or that covariant change to own a car, have a TV, eat red meat, see a dentist, use a VCR, possess a dwelling, take a B.A. degree, or die after age 80. Such « standards of living » also are little more than tactical hallucinations deployed to induce the silent majorities to « live out standards » that are set in an endless precession of new behaviors, goods and services available in multitorial spaces.
No longer necessarily grounded to one terrestrial place, one ethnonational location or one environmental site, these semi-imaginary/semi-concrete multitorialities form their own diverse reengineered spaces where the unstable nuclei of unstated sovrantees keep their places. Increasingly, sovran multitorialities also are becoming the most important homelands of many individuals and groups. They provide the securities of place, models for behavior, circuits of operationalization that frame thought and action globally and locally. Multitorialities are in place, but unstated as they integrate artificial places, personal spaces, built environments, and coded milieux into heteronomous locations that cross-cut/under-cut/over-cut the workings of many nation-states. They provide new placements of economic, cultural, and social interactions within local networks of subnational, national, and supranational exchange from which individuals and communities fabricate their shared space and fix their integrative identities under the unstated charge of so many suzerain sovrantees.
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À jour le 4 avril 2001