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Political Geography

a branch of human geography concerned with the spatial analysis of political phenomena.

Political Culture

an overall set of values widely shared within a society


group ofpeople who feel a beloging to a cultural community.


Territory in which a nation and a state occupy the same space.


territory controlled by a government (must have a permanent population, organized government, recognizeable borders, and soverignty)


A state or territory that is small in both size and population.


The desire on the bhalf of a group that sees itself as a nation to achieve self-government through the establishment or promotion of a nation-state with genuine sovereignty


ability of a state to govern its territory free from control of its internal affairs by other states


vertical plane between states that cuts through the rocks below, and the airspace above the surface

Boundary definition

The written legal description of a boundary between two countries or territories.

Boundary delimitation

The translation of the written terms of a boundary treaty into an official cartographic representation.

Boundary demarcation

The actual placing of a political boundary on the landscape by means of barriers, fences, walls, or other markers.


A piece of territory that is surrounded by another political unit of which it is not a part.


a bounded territory that is part of a particular state but lies separated from it by the territory of another state.

Geometric boundary

Political boundaries that are defined and delimited by straight lines.

Physical-political boundary

A political boundary that separates territiories according to natural features in the landscpae, such as mountains, rivers, or deserts

Cultural-political boundary

Political boundaries that coincide with cultural breaks in the landscape, such as language, religion, and ethnicity.

Antecedent boundary

a boundary that existed beforethe cultural landscape emerged and stayed in place while people moved in to occupy the surrounding area...

Subsequent boundary

a boundary that developed with the evolution of the cultural landscape and is adjusted as the cultural landscape changes.

Superimposed boundary

A political boundary placed by powerful outsiders on a developed human landscape. Usually ignores pre-existing cultural-spatial patterns, such as the border that now divides North and South Korea.

Relict boundary

a political boundary that has ceased to function but the imprint of which can still be detected on the cultural landscape


the study of the interplay between political relations and the territorial context in which they occur

Organic theory

A nation which is an aggregate of organisms would itself function and behave as an organism.

Heartland theory

a geopolitical hypothesis proposed by British geographer Harold Mackinder that states that any political power based in the heart of Eurasia could gain strength to eventually dominate the world.

Rimland theory

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

Centrifugal force

forces that tend to divide a country

Centripetal force

An attitude that tends to unify people and enhance a state.


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

Core area

The territorial nucleus from which a country grows in an area and over time, often containing the national capital and the main center of commerce, culture, and industry.

Multicore area

A state that possesses more than one core or dominant region, whether its economic, political or cultural.

Federal state

A political-territorial system wherein a central government represents the various entities within a nation-state where they have comment interest yet allow these various entities to retain their own identities.

Unitary state

An internal organization of a state that places most power in the hands of central government officials

Forward capital

Capital city positioned in actually or potentially contested territory, usually near an international border; it confirms the state's determination to maintain its presence in the region in contention.

Electoral geography

Subfield of geography that deals with various spatial aspects of voting systems, voting behaviors, and voter representation.


an act of gerrymandering (dividing a voting area so as to give your own party an unfair advantage)


a venture involving 3 or more national states political economic or cultural cooperation to promote shared objectives

Law of the sea

laws establishing states' rights and responsibilities concerning the ownership and use of the Earth's waters and their resources.

Truman proclamation

In September 1945, the president this was named after proclaimed that the United States would regulate fisheries' activities in areas of the high seas adjacent to its coastline, and that U.S. jurisdiction over the continental shelf and its contents would be limited to the region within the 600-foot isobath.

Median-line principle

The system of drawing a political boundary midway between two states' coastlines when the territorial seas or EEZ are narrower than twice the standard or adopted limit.

International sanctions

Isolate a country that behaves in a way that is deemed inappropriate by the international community

Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ)

an oceanic zone extending up to 200 nautical miles from a shoreline, where the coastal state can control fishing, mineral exploitation, and additional activites by all other countries


expansion of economic, political, and cultural aspects to the point that they become global in scale and impact.


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

New World Order

A description of the international system resulting from the collapse of the Soviet Union in which the balance of nuclear terror theoretically no longer determined the destinies of states.


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

Gateway state

A state, by virtue of its border location between geopolitical power cores, that absorbs and assimilates cultures and traditions of its neighbors without being dominated by them.

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