We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. By continuing to browse this repository, you give consent for essential cookies to be used. You can read more about our Privacy and Cookie Policy.

Durham Research Online
You are in:


Painter, J. (2015) 'Power.', in The Wiley Blackwell companion to political geography. Chichester: Wiley-Blackwell, pp. 141-151. Wiley Blackwell companions to geography.


This chapter discusses some of the main ways in which political geographers have understood and used the concept of power. Traditional political geography explicitly or implicitly saw power as a substance – literally the “stuff of politics” – and often equated it with access to or control over resources. This view underwrites the compilation of inventories and indexes of national power. More recent work treats power as a capacity or as a relationship. While political geographers have documented the numerous ways in which power affects space and geography, they have not given much attention to the nature of power or to the ways in which space shapes power. The chapter considers how key thinkers have addressed the question of the difference geography makes to power, examining the role of public space, sovereign, disciplinary, and biopower, and the implications of proximity and reach to the operation of power.

Item Type:Book chapter
Keywords:Power, Sovereignty, Territory, Disciplinary power, Biopower, Public space, Proximity/reach.
Full text:Publisher-imposed embargo
(AM) Accepted Manuscript
File format - PDF (Copyright agreement prohibits open access to the full-text)
Publisher Web site:
Date accepted:No date available
Date deposited:06 October 2015
Date of first online publication:September 2015
Date first made open access:No date available

Save or Share this output

Look up in GoogleScholar