Political Geography I: Reconfiguring geographies of sovereignty


This first of three progress reports on the subdiscipline of political geography reviews recent scholarship on the transformation of geographies of sovereignty. The piece offers a review of major analytical themes that have emerged in recent geographical analyses of sovereignty. These themes include the design of spatial metaphors through which to conceptualize sovereignty, US exceptionalism and the influence of Agamben’s work, productive blurring of onshore and offshore operations and productions of sovereign power, and debate about the kinds of power operating through these newly constituted global topographies of power. The text also visits five kinds of sites where contemporary struggles over sovereignty manifest: prison, island, sea, body, and border. After reviewing recent trends, themes, and locations in studies of sovereign power, recommendations for future research topics are made.