Relationship between Space and Sovereignty


The term sovereignty has no definite definition. It refers toaccepted “democratic legitimacy vested in a territorial state”(Agnew, 2009, p.1). It also regards to the representation of thefrequent vicious emergence of territorial statehood. Space generallyrefers to territory, which is the area occupied by states. Hence, itis possible to use the phrase territory in defining space. Territoryis the arrangement and application of authority, legitimate or overspace blocs. It might also refer to the arrangement of persons andthings into disconnected regions via the utilization of boundaries(Agnew, 2009).

There are numerous contexts for explaining the relationship betweenspace and sovereignty. One is through territoriality. The phrasemeans the utilization of territory for economic, political as well associal ends (Agnew, 2009). It is the strategic approach of usingterritory in attaining organizational objectives, involving actors inplace of states. In this context, political control, in addition toauthority is unrestricted to states, which makes them notterritorial. Authority being the actual exercise of authority and isbasically greatly linked with statehood. There is no case, though,has state authority become complete. There are always competingsources of political power (Agnew, 2009). The sources may come fromchurches, social organizations, enterprises and non-governmentalorganizations. Sovereignty does not refer to irresistible authorityarising from one site. In actuality, it is viewed as the locus for anarray of social authorities, involving numerous from past the state’snominal borders, drawn by the future of having an influence on statedecisions.

A different context of explaining the relationship arises whenlinking space with the spatiality of the current state. Territory isspecifically linked with spatiality of current state with itsassertion to complete regulation over a population in carefullydetermined external borders (Agnew, 2009). Territory has become anoverriding geographical phrase in social sciences, and is closelyconnected to state sovereignty. This implies that as sovereigntyerodes, the same happens to space. In modernity, territory implies asocially created geographic space, not merely arising from statehood,and can be employed to mean place in most languages.

Globalization has been noted as a major contributor towards theerosion of sovereignty in spaces. Globalization has resulted indistrust by distant rulers, emerging from the enhanced salience ofregional situations for economic competition it is possible toexpect regional places to avail the fundamental framework forpolitical associations and economic restriction (Agnew, 2009). Thisdoes not merely apply to local matters that might have moved awayfrom national consensus, rather since in a less singularly boundedglobe, conventional concepts of place avail advent sites for probablemetamorphosis (Agnew, 2009). Currently, because of globalization,there have been numerous alterations in state governance. This isinfluenced by changes in politics amid different territories.

In the past, sovereignty was not completely territorial, and hasnever become monopolized by states (Agnew, 2009). A wide array ofactors has had a role in ensuring sovereignty. However, currentlysovereignty has become more intricate. Globalization has led todifferences in the way sovereignty is viewed amid diverse spaces.Every territorial state has their unique state political influence,which determines the diverse forms of co-existence happening withinthe territories. It can be concluded that sovereignty is determinedby territoriality of a state. The political, social and economicchanges that happen within states differ, causing differences as wellin the way states refer to sovereignty.


Agnew, J. (2009). Globalization and Sovereignty. New York:Rowman &ampLittlefield Publishers.

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