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political geography

A subdivision of human geography focused on the nature and implications of the evolving spatial organization of political governance and formal political practice on the Earth's surface. It is concerned with why political spaces emerge in the places that they do and with how the character of those spaces affects social, political, economic, and environmental understandings and practices.


A politically organized territory that is administered by sovereign government and is recognized by a significant portion of the international community. A state has a defined territory, a permanent population, a government, and is recognized by other states.


In political geography, a country's or more local community's sense of propertyand attachment toward its territory, as expressed by its determination to keep it inviolable and strongly defended


a principle of international relations that holds that final authority over social, economic, and political matters should rest with the legitimate rulers of independent states.

territorial integrity

the right of a state to defend soverign territory against incurrsion from other states

Peace of Westphalia

Peace negotiated in 1648 to end the Thirty Years' War, Europe's most destructive internal struggle over religion. The treaties contained new language recognizing statehood and nationhood, clearly defined borders, and guarantees of security


in a general sense, associated with the promothion of commercialism and trade. More specifically, a protectionist policy of European states during the sixteenth to the eighteenth centuries that prompted a state's economic position in the contest with other countries. The acqusiion of gold and silver and the maintenance of a favorable trade balance were central to to policy


Legally, a term encompassing all the citizens of a state. Most definitions now tend to refer to a tightly knit group of people possessing bonds of language, ethnicity, religion, and other shared cultural attributes. Such homogeneity actually prevails within very few states.


Teoretically, a recognized member of the modern state system possesing formal sovereignty and occupied by a people who see themselves as a single, united nation. Most nations and states aspire to this form, but it is realized almost nowhere. Nonetheless, in commpn parlance, nation-state is used as a synonym for country or state.


government based on the principle that the people are the ultimate soverign and have the final say over what happens within the state.

multinational state

state with more than one nation within its borders

multistate nation

nation that stretches across borders and across states

stateless nation

Nation that does not have a state.


rule by an autonomous pwoer over a subordinate and alien people and place.


representation of a real-world phenomenon at a certain level of reduction or generalization

core area

processes that incorporate higher levels of education, higher salaries, and more technology; generate more wealth than periphery processes in the world economy.


process that incorporate lower levels of education, lowe salaries, and less technology; and generate less welth than core proccesses in the world-economy


places where core and periphery processes are both occurring; places that are exloited by the core but in turn exploit in periphery


forces that tend to unify a country- such as widespread commitment to a national culture, shared idealogical objectives, and a common faith


forces that tend to divide a country- such as internal religious, inguistic, ethnic, or ideologiacal differences.


a nation-state that has a centralized government and administration that exercises power equally over all parts of the state


a political territorial system wherein a central government represents the various entitie within a nation-state where they have common intrests- defense, foregin affirs, and the like- yet allows these various entities to retain their own identities and to have their own laws, policies, and customs in certain spheres


the process whereby regions within a state demand and gain political strength and growing autonomy at the expense of the central government

territorial representation

system wherein each representative is elected form a district


process by which representative districts are switched according to population shifts, so that each district encompasses approximately the same number of people


In the context of determining representative districts, the process by which the majority and minority populations are spread evenly across each of the districts to be created therein ensuring control by the majority of each of the districts; as opposed to the result of majority-minority districts

majority-minority districts

in the context of determaning representative districts, the proccess by which a majority of the population is from the minority


redistricting for advantage, or the practice of dividing areas into electoral districts to give one political party an electoral majority in a large number of districts while concentrating the voting strength of the opposition in as few districst as possible


Invisible line that marks the extent of a state's territory.

heartland theory

A geopolitical hypothesis, proposed by British geographer Halford Mackinder during the first two decades of the twentieth century, that any political power based in the heart of Eurasia could gain sufficient strength to eventually dominate the world.

critical geopolitics

process by which geopoliticians deconstruct and focus on explaining the underlying spatial assumptions and territorial perspectives of politicians


World order in which one state is in a position of dominance with allies following rather than joining the political decision-making process

supernational orginazation

a venture involving three or more nation-states involving formal political, economic, and/or cultural cooperation to promote shared objectives. Ex: European Union.


Process by which a state breaks down through conflicts among its ethnicities

Cold War

A conflict that was between the US and the Soviet Union. The nations never directly confronted each other on the battlefield but deadly threats went on for years.

command economy

An economy where supply and price are regulated by the government rather than market forces

compact states

A state in which the distance from the center to any boundary does not vary significantly.

confederal system

A system consisting of a league of independent states, each having essentially sovereign powers. The central government created by such a league has only limited powers over the states.

cultural boundary

boundaries that mark breaks in the human landscape based on differences in ethnicity

positional boundary disputes

disagreement about the actual location of a boundary

functional boundary disputes

In political geography, a disagreement between neighboring states over policies to be applied to their common border; often induced by differing customs regulations, movement of nomadic groups, or illegal immigration or emigration.

territorial boundary disputes

In political geography, disagreement between states over the control of surface area.

resource boundary disputes

In political geography, disagreement over the control or use of shared resources, such as boundary rivers or jointly claimed fishing grounds.

economic force

the effects of supply and demand, and other forms of competitive pressure, on businesses.

electoral geography

The study of the interactions among space, place, and region and the conduct and results of elections.

elongated states

states with a long and narrow shape


an enclosed territory that is culturally distinct from the foreign territory that surrounds it


a part of a country that is seperated from the rest of the country and surrounded by foreign territory.

ethnic force

Process in which more powerful ethnic group forcibly removes a less powerful one in order to create an ethnically homogeneous region


The identification and loyalty a person may feel for his or her nation.

European Constitution

A European Union document not yet ratified, which incorporates a charter of fundamental rights; merges the judicial, economic, and defense aspects of the EU; establishes the European Council; and raises the number of seats in Parliament, among other things


love of country and willingness to sacrifice for it

perforated state

A state whose territory completely surrounds that of another state.

politicization of religion

the use of religious principles to promote political ends and vise versa


the study of government of states and other political units

primate city

a city that ranks first in a nation in terms of population and economy


To change from government or public ownership or control to private ownership or control.

prorupted state

An otherwise compact state with a large projecting extension

Friedrich Ratzel

interested in geopolitics (study of relations among states) and came of with the theory of organic state

relative location

the regional position or situation of a place relative to the position of other places

Rimland theory

Nicholas Spykman's theory that the domination of the coastal fringes of Eurasia would provided the base for world conquest.

Security Council

a permanent council of the United Nations

separatist movement

refers to the social movements for a particular group of people to separate from a dominant political institution under which they suffer

shatter belt

an area of instability between regions with opposing political and cultural values


political independance

spatial force

a devolutionary force that has to do with the margins of the state

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