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Beyond Sovereign Territory

Beyond Sovereign Territory: The Space of Ecopolitics

Series: Borderlines
Volume: 4
Copyright Date: 1996
Edition: NED - New edition
Pages: 192
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  • Book Info
    Beyond Sovereign Territory
    Book Description:

    How should we think about politics in a world where ecological problems-from the deforestation of the Amazon to acid rain-transcend national boundaries? This is the timely and important question addressed by Thom Kuehls in Beyond Sovereign Territory. Contending that the sovereign territorial state is not adequate to contain or describe the boundaries of ecopolitics, the author reorients our thinking about government, nature, and politics.

    eISBN: 978-0-8166-8601-8
    Subjects: Political Science

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. Acknowledgments
    (pp. vii-viii)
  4. Introduction: Brazil
    (pp. ix-xviii)

    “The Amazon is ours,” declared José Sarney, president of Brazil, in 1989 in a statement titled “Our Nature.” “After all, it is situated in our territory.”¹ Sarney’s statement, directed in part at the “great powers or international organizations . . . that would come to dictate to us [Brazil] how to defend what is ours to defend,”² is an expression of sovereignty. As such it fits into a powerful understanding of the space of politics: states do, or must, control the politics across their territories. The tropical rain forest of the Amazon River valley is said, by Sarney, to belong...

  5. 1 Natures, Ethics, and Ecologies
    (pp. 1-24)

    “The true ecologist,” writes Anna Bramwell in her history of ecology, “could not have arisen until the middle of the last century.”¹ The reason for this, Bramwell and other “historians of science” conclude, is that “earlier epochs all . . . see the earth as man’s unique domain precisely because of God’s existence.”² Ecology, understood here as a perspective, an ontology, or a worldview wherein humanity’s actions pose potential problems for the earth, could not have existed as long as the earth was felt to have been not only created by God for humanity, but cared for humanity, but cared...

  6. 2 Exploring the Space of the (Inter)State (I): Sovereignty
    (pp. 25-56)

    If we are interested in the space of ecopolitics, surely we are interested in the space of the state. Since at least Aristotle, politics has been thought of as existing primarily within the confines of, in very general terms, the state. Moreover, and more recently, politics and the state have become fused with a concept of sovereignty. Sovereignty historically has been associated with a rule of law, involving a person or a group of people with the authority to establish laws over a given geographic area and a given people. In modern politicalscience terminology, only a state can be thought...

  7. 3 Exploring the Space of the (Inter)State (II): Governmentality
    (pp. 57-90)

    The problem of the space of ecopolitics is not reducible to geography, to questions of territorial boundaries, or even to trajectories. The problem of the space of ecopolitics also involves questions of government, or governmentality. To put it another way, the problem of the space of ecopolitics cannot be reduced to questions of where territorial lines are drawn and whether or not political issues cross these territorial lines; the problem of ecopolitics also involves how these lines are drawn and what is done to the spaces inside these lines to make them sovereign territories.

    For both Waltz and Bull, what...

  8. 4 Theories of Ecopolitics: Machines, Organisms, Cyborgs
    (pp. 91-114)

    Has the field of ecopolitical thought come to terms with the critiques of state space set out in chapters 2 and 3? Ecopolitical theorists have long maintained the radicalness of their field of thought, claiming to break from much of what formed the mainstream of Western thought dating as far back as the emergence of monotheism, the creation of rationalistic philosophy, the birth of experimental science, and so on. But where does this field stand in relation to the question of rhizomes, nomads, worldwide machines, governmentality? In short, where does it stand with respect to the space of ecopolitics as...

  9. 5 Brazil of the North
    (pp. 115-130)

    It was no coincidence that the 1992 United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED), or “Earth Summit,” took place in Brazil. Home to the rapidly disappearing Amazon rain forest, Brazil has come to symbolize the global environmental crisis. This symbolic status of the Amazon and Brazil contributes to the assumption that the global environmental crisis is largely about activities in lands south of the equator, or at least not a great distance north of the equator. Or maybe it is this assumption that has made Brazil the symbol of the global environmental crisis. Either way, it is important to...

  10. Notes
    (pp. 131-152)
  11. Bibliography
    (pp. 153-164)
  12. Index
    (pp. 165-168)
  13. Back Matter
    (pp. 169-169)