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Henri Lefebvre on state, space, territory.

Brenner, N. and Elden, S. (2009) 'Henri Lefebvre on state, space, territory.', International political sociology., 3 (4). pp. 353-377.


In this article, we offer an account of how the French Marxist philosopher and sociologist Henri Lefebvre can be read as a theorist of territory. While Lefebvre's writings on state space have generated some interest in recent years, the territorial dimensions of his thinking on this issue have not been explored. Meanwhile, the question of territory has been oddly undertheorized in the post-1970s literatures on international relations and spatialized political economy. Against this background, we suggest that Lefebvre's work contains some insightful, if unsystematic, observations on the relationship between states, space and territory. Following consideration of Agnew's (1994) influential injunction that social scientists transcend the "territorial trap," we develop this reading of Lefebvre with reference to three key dimensions of his approach to state space as territory—first, the production of territory; second, state territorial strategies; and third, the "territory effect," namely, the state's tendency, through its territorial form, to naturalize its own transformative effects on sociospatial relations. Thus construed, Lefebvre's approach productively raises the issue of how the territorial trap is actually constructed and reproduced.

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Record Created:19 May 2010 14:35
Last Modified:19 May 2010 15:46

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