A Geography of Regulated Space: The Rise of State-systems

  • Robert A. Dodgshon
Part of the Critical Human Geography book series


There is a profound difference between what Sahlins described as the establishment of territoriality in society and the establishment of society in a territory (Sahlins, 1968, p. 5). The shift from early social hierarchies to early states involved precisely this change, at least when viewed through spatial order. The idea of space organised through kinship and, therefore, of a space identified through the kin-groups who occupied it gave way to a society organised, first and foremost, within a defined framework of territory, a territory whose physical definition of the state transcended any constitutive meaning given to it by ties of kin, etc. Instead of space being organised through society, it was now — at this level of organisation — a case of society being organised through space. Chiefs, or kings and emperors as they now became, no longer ruled over tribes or kinsmen but over a territory and its people. Formally fixed and bounded territories, not the ties of kinship, now marked the limits of their power.


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Copyright information

© Robert A. Dodgshon 1987

Authors and Affiliations

  • Robert A. Dodgshon
    • 1
  1. 1.AberystwythUK

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