Berlusconi's Italy provides a fresh, thoroughly-informed account of how Italy's richest man came to be its political leader. Without dismissing the importance of personalities and political parties, it emphasizes the significance of changes in voting behaviors that led to the rise-and eventual fall-of Silvio Berlusconi, the millionaire media baron who became Prime Minister. Armed with new data and new analytic tools, Michael Shin and John Agnew use recently developed methods of spatial analysis, to offer a compelling new argument about contextual re-creation and mutation. They reveal that regional politics and shifting geographical voting patterns were far more important to Berlusconi's successes than the widely-credited role of the mass media, and conclude that Berlusconi's success (and later defeat) can be best understood in geographic terms.
The Birth of Territory
Stuart Elden University of Chicago Press, 2013 Library of Congress JC319.E44 2013 | Dewey Decimal 320.12
Territory is one of the central political concepts of the modern world and, indeed, functions as the primary way the world is divided and controlled politically. Yet territory has not received the critical attention afforded to other crucial concepts such as sovereignty, rights, and justice. While territory continues to matter politically, and territorial disputes and arrangements are studied in detail, the concept of territory itself is often neglected today. Where did the idea of exclusive ownership of a portion of the earth’s surface come from, and what kinds of complexities are hidden behind that seemingly straightforward definition?
The Birth of Territory provides a detailed account of the emergence of territory within Western political thought. Looking at ancient, medieval, Renaissance, and early modern thought, Stuart Elden examines the evolution of the concept of territory from ancient Greece to the seventeenth century to determine how we arrived at our contemporary understanding. Elden addresses a range of historical, political, and literary texts and practices, as well as a number of key players—historians, poets, philosophers, theologians, and secular political theorists—and in doing so sheds new light on the way the world came to be ordered and how the earth’s surface is divided, controlled, and administered.
In Cartographic Mexico, Raymond B. Craib analyzes the powerful role cartographic routines such as exploration, surveying, and mapmaking played in the creation of the modern Mexican state in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Such routines were part of a federal obsession—or “state fixation”—with determining and “fixing” geographic points, lines, and names in order to facilitate economic development and political administration. As well as analyzing the maps that resulted from such routines, Craib examines in close detail the processes that eventually generated them. Taking central Veracruz as a case in point, he shows how in the field, agrarian officials, military surveyors, and metropolitan geographers traversed a “fugitive landscape” of overlapping jurisdictions and use rights, ambiguous borders, shifting place names, and villagers with their own conceptions of history and territory. Drawing on an array of sources—including maps, letters from peasants, official reports, and surveyors’ journals and correspondence—Craib follows the everyday, contested processes through which officials attempted to redefine and codify such fugitive landscapes in struggle with the villagers they encountered in the field. In the process, he vividly demonstrates how surveying and mapmaking were never mere technical procedures: they were, and remain to this day, profoundly social and political practices in which surveyors, landowners, agrarian bureaucrats, and peasants all played powerful and complex roles.
Once Within Borders
Charles S. Maier Harvard University Press, 2016 Library of Congress JC323.M34 2016 | Dewey Decimal 320.12
At a time when the technologies of globalization are eroding barriers to communication, transportation, and trade, Charles Maier explores the fitful evolution of territories—politically bounded regions whose borders define the jurisdiction of laws and the movement of peoples—as a worldwide practice of human societies.
How do the places where people live help structure and restructure their sociopolitical identities and interests? In this book, renowned political geographer John A. Agnew presents a theoretical model that addresses the relation of place to politics and applies it to a series of historicogeographical case studies set in modern Italy.
For Agnew, place is not just a static backdrop against which events occur, but a dynamic component of social, economic, and political processes. He shows, for instance, how the lack of a common "landscape ideal" or physical image of Italy delayed the development of a sense of nationhood among Italians after unification. And Agnew uses the post-1992 victory of the Northern League over the Christian Democrats in many parts of northern Italy to explore how parties are replaced geographically during periods of intense political change.
Providing a fresh new approach to studying the role of space and place in social change, Place and Politics in Modern Italy will interest geographers, political scientists, and social theorists.
Inequality is the defining issue of our time. But it is not just a problem for the rich world. It is the global 1% that now owns fully half the world’s wealth—the true measure of our age of inequality. In this historical tour de force, Simon Reid-Henry rewrites the usual story of globalization and development as a story of the management of inequality. Reaching back to the eighteenth century and around the globe, The Political Origins of Inequality foregrounds the political turning points and decisions behind the making of today’s uneven societies. As it weaves together insights from the Victorian city to the Cold War, from US economic policy to Europe’s present migration crisis, a true picture emerges of the structure of inequality itself.
The problem of inequality, Reid-Henry argues, is a problem that manifests between places as well as over time. This is one reason why it cannot be resolved by the usual arguments of left versus right, bound as they are to the national scale alone. Most of all, however, it is why the level of inequality that confronts us today is indicative of a more general crisis in political thought. Modern political discourse has no place for public reason or the common good. Equality is yesterday’s dream. Yet the fact that we now accept such a world—a world that values security over freedom, special treatment over universal opportunity, and efficiency over fairness—is ultimately because we have stopped even trying in recent decades to build the political architecture the world actually requires.
Our politics has fallen out of step with the world, then, and at the every moment it is needed more than ever. Yet it is within our power to address this. Doing so involves identifying and then meeting our political responsibilities to others, not just offering them the selective charity of the rich. It means looking beyond issues of economics and outside our national borders. But above all it demands of us that we reinvent the language of equality for a modern, global world: and then institute this. The world is not falling apart. Different worlds, we all can see, are colliding together. It is our capacity to act in concert that is falling apart. It is this that needs restoring most of all.