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  • Author: Jeppe Strandsbjerg
  • Publication Date: 03-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Brown Journal of World Affairs
  • Abstract: Our current system of international politics is built on a cartographic real- ity of space. Te legal attachment of sovereignty to territory requires a particular cartographic representation of space. By this I mean that our system of states— being territorially defned—implicitly requires a geography that is mapped in a way that is compatible with our notion of sovereignty. Te cartographic image of state territory enables us to maintain the idea of territorial integrity even when the reality on the ground corresponds very little with the fundamental principles of the UN Charter: Sovereignty (Article 2:1) and Territorial Integrity (Article 2:4).1 When UN operations map the Democratic Republic of Congo it is represented as an integrated territory, and Iraq and Syria maintain their coherent cartographic-territorial representation even when both countries have been divided in all but formal name. Although these are obvious examples of the territorial ideal disagreeing with the power relations on the ground, they actually capture a general logic where the territorial order represented by the map precedes the order on the ground.
  • Topic: International Relations, Geopolitics, International Relations Theory, Cartography
  • Political Geography: Global Focus