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The idea of the territorial state: Discourses of political space in Renaissance Italy.

Larkins, Jeremy (1999) The idea of the territorial state: Discourses of political space in Renaissance Italy. PhD thesis, London School of Economics and Political Science (United Kingdom).

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Abstract

This thesis, presented as a theoretical contribution to the discipline of International Relations, describes the intellectual origins of the idea of the territorial state. The idea of the territorial state has a privileged place in International Relations for it is an integral element of Realism, the discipline's dominant intellectual tradition. Realism assumes that the primary actors in the modern international system are states, as identified by their exercise of sovereignty over a delimited space or territory. In Realist history, the territorial state and the modern territorial international order emerged together, twin products of seventeenth century political theory and practice, as signified by political settlement of the Peace of Westphalia in 1648. This thesis challenges the Realist narrative of the idea of the territorial state on two counts: methodologically and historically. First, it rejects the view that it is possible to account for the idea of the territorial state exclusively in terms of political practice and knowledge. It argues that the Realist idea of the territorial state needs to be understood as one expression of a much broader and more complex matrix of narratives - social, political, philosophical and cultural - about man's capacity to know, represent and order the spaces of modernity. Second, the thesis rejects the Realist history that dates the emergence of the territorial state to the seventeenth century. An alternative chronology is put forward that dates the origins of the idea of the territorial state to fifteenth and sixteenth century Renaissance Italy. The thesis argues that the first signs of the idea of the territorial state can be identified in various Renaissance spatial discourses: political, cosmological, artistic and cartographic. These spatial discourses and the practices they led to established the templates for thinking about and representing space in modernity, including those underlying the articulation of the idea of the modern territorial state.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Uncontrolled Keywords: Political Science, International Relations, History, European
Sets: Collections > ProQuest Etheses
URI: http://etheses.lse.ac.uk/id/eprint/2617

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