ap human geography textbook pdf chapter 8 : The name of this chapter is Political Geography. We’ll find answer some of important key questions including-
- How is space politically organized into states and nations?
- How do states spatially organize their governments?
- How are boundaries established, and why do boundary disputes occur?
- How does the study of geopolitics help us understand the world?
- What are supranational organizations, and what is the future of the state?
ap human geography textbook pdf chapter 8
arrived in Ghana just after an assassination attempt on the country’s first president, Kwame Nkrumah. As I drove through the capital city of Accra in 1962, I stopped short when I saw a statue of President Nkrumah in the middle of the street. I have seen plenty of statues of leaders in my travels, but this one was unique. Ghanians had dressed their hospital-ridden president in a hospital gown and bandaged his head!
I stopped the car to take a picture (Fig. 8.1), and I read the proclamations on Nkrumah’s statue. Written in English, they said, “To me the liberation of Ghana will be meaningless unless it is linked up with the liberation of Africa” and “We prefer self-government with danger to servitude in tranquility.”
How is space politically organized into states and nations?
Political geography is the study of the political organization of the world. Political geographers study the spatial manifestations of political processes at various scales: how politically meaningful spaces came into being and how these spaces influence outcomes. At the global scale, we have a world divided into individual countries, which are commonly called states. A state is a politically organized territory with a permanent population, a defined territory, and a government. To be a state, an entity must be recognized as such by other states.
The present-day division of the world political map into states is a product of endless accommodations and adjustments within and between human societies. On the conventional political map, a mosaic of colors is used to represent more than 200 countries and territories, a visualization that accentuates the separation of these countries by boundaries (Fig. 8.3).
The political map of the world is the world map most of us learn first. We look at it, memorize it, and name the countries and perhaps each country’s capital. It hangs in the front of our classrooms, is used to organize maps in our textbooks, and becomes so natural looking to us that we begin to think it is natural.
The world map of states is anything but natural. The mosaic of states on the map represents a way of politically organizing space (into states) that is less than 400 years old. Just as people create places, imparting character to space and shaping culture, people make states. States and state boundaries are made, shaped, and refu1ed by people, their actions and their history. Even the idea of dividing the world into territoriality defined states is one created and exported by people.
How do states spatially organize their governments?
In the 1950s, a famous political geographer, Richard Hartshorne, described the forces within the state that unify the people as centripetal and the forces that divide them as centrifugal. v.rhether a state continues to exist, according to Hartshorne, depends on the balance between centripetal and centrifugal forces.
Many political geographers have debated Hartshorne’s theory, and most have concluded that we cannot select a given event or process and simply define it as centrifugal or centripetal. An event such as a war can pull the state together for a short time and then divide the state over the long term. Timing, scale, interaction, and perspective factor into unification and division in a state at any given point.
Instead of creating a balance sheet of centripetal and centrifugal forces, governments attempt to unify states through nation building, through structuring the government in a way that melds the nations within, by defining and defending boundaries, and through expressing control over all of the territory within those boundaries.
By looking at how different governments have attempted to unify the peoples and territories within their domains, we are reminded how important geography is. Governance does not take place in a vacuum. The unique characteristics of places shapes whether any possible governmental “solution” solves or exacerbates matters.
How are boundaries established, and why do boundary disputes occur?
The territories of individual states are separated by international bow1daries, often referred to as borders. Boundaries may appear on maps as straight lines or may twist and turn to conform to the bends of rivers and the curves of hills and valleys. But a boundary is more than a line, far more than a fence or wall on the world.
A boundary between states is actually a vertical plane that cuts through the rocks below (called the subsoil) and the airspace above, dividing one state from another (Fig. 8.18). Only where the vertical plane intersects the Earth’s surface (on land or at sea) does it form the line we see on the ground.
Many borders were established on the world map before the extent or significance of subsoil resources was known. As a result, coal seams and aquifers cross boundaries, and oil and gas reserves are split between states. Europe’s coal reserves, for example, extend from Belgian underneath the Netherlands and on into the Ruhr area of Germany.
Soon after mining began in the mid-nineteenth century, these three neighbors began to accuse each other of mining coal that did not lie directly below their own national territories. The underground surveys available at the time were too inaccurate to pinpoint the ownership of each coal seam.
During the 1950s -1960s, Ger many and the Netherlands argued over a gas reserve that lies in the subsoil across their boundary. The Germans claimed that the Dutch were withdrawing so much natural gas that the gas was flowing from beneath German land to me Dutch side of the boundary. The Germans wanted compensation for the gas they felt they lost.
A major issue between Iraq and Kuwait, which in p art led to Iraq ‘s invasion of Kuwait in 1990, was the oil in the Rwnaylah reserve that lies underneath the desert and crosses me border between the two States. The Iraqis asserted mat me Kuwaitis were drilling too many wells and draining the reserve too quickly; they also alleged that me Kuwaitis were drilling oblique boreholes to penetrate the vertical plane extending downward along the boundary.
At the time the Iraq-Kuwait boundary was established, however, no one knew that this giant oil reserve laying the subsoil or that it would contribute to an international crisis (Fig. 8.19).
How does the study of geopolitics help us understand the world?
Geopolitics is the interplay among geography, power, politics, and international relations on Earth’s surface. Political science and international relations tend to focus on governmental institutions, systems, and interactions. Geopolitics brings locational considerations, enviro1m1ental contexts, territorial ideas and arrangements, and spatial assumptions to the fore. Geopolitics helps us understand the spatial power arrangements that shape international relations.
Classical geopoliticians of tl1e late nineteenth and early twentietl1 centuries generally fit into one of two camps: the German school, which sought to explain why certain states are powerful and how to become powerful, and tl1e British/ American school, which sought to offer strategic advice by identifying parts of Eartl1’s surface tl1at were particularly important for tl1e maintenance and projection of power.
ap human geography textbook pdf chapter 8
A few geopoliticians tried to bridge the gap, blending ilie two schools, but for the most part classical geopoliticians who are still writing today are in tl1e British/American school, offering geostrategic perspectives on the world.
Thy are certain states powerful, and how do states become powerful? The first political geographer who studied these issues was tl1e German professor Friedrich Ratzel (1844-1904). Influenced by ilie writings of Charles Darwin, Ratzel posmlated that the state resembles a biological organism whose life cycle extends from birth thorough maturity and, ultimately, decline and death.
To prolong its existence, the state requires nourishment, just as an organism needs food. Such nourishment is provided by the acquisition of territories that provide adequate space for the members of the state’s dominant nation to thrive, which is what Ratzel called lebensraum. If a state is confined within permanent and static boundaries and deprived of overseas domains, Ratzel argued, it can atrophy. Territory is thus seen as the state’s essential, life-giving force.
Ratzel’s theory was based on his observations of states in the nineteenth century, including the United States. It was so speculative that it might have been forgotten if some of Ratzel’s German followers in the 1930s had not translated his abstract writings into policy recommendations that ultimately led to Nazi expansionism.
What are supranational organizations, and what is the future of the state?
Ours is a world of contradictions. Over the past couple of decades some French Canadians, Quebecois, have demanded independence from Canada even as Canada joined the United States and Mexico in NA (the North American Free Trade Agreement). Flings in northern Belgium called for autonomy or even dependence despite the fact that Brussels, the capital of Belgium, serves as the de facto capital of the
At every turn we are reminded of the interconnectedness of nations, states, and regions; yet, separatism and calls for autonomy are rampant. In the early decades of the ninety-first century, we appear to be caught between the forces of division and unification.
Despite conflicts arising from these contradictory forces, today hardly a country exists tl1at is not involved in some supranational organization. A supranational organization is an entity composed of the three or more states that forge an association and form an administrative structure for mutual benefit and in pursuit of shared goals. The twentieth century witnessed the establishment of numerous supranational associations in political, economic, cultural, and military spheres.
We tend to take the state for granted, but the modern state idea is less than 400 years old. The idea and ideal of the nation-state have diffused around the globe in the wake of colonialism and the emergence of the modern international legal order. The state may seem natural and permanent, but it is not. New states are being recognized, and existing states are vulnerable to destructive forces. How long can this way of politically organizing space last?
As we look to arrangements beyond the state, we can turn to the global scale and consider what places the global world economy most affects, shapes, and benefits. In the next chapter, we study global cities with major links in the world economy. Global cities dominate their surroundings and connect with each other across the world in many ways that transcend the state.
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