Territory and Population
Published at 3 October 2013
In the mid-17th century, two new concepts emerged: territory and population. They were the framework for modern absolute monarchies and were a first step toward the nation state. Simple technical tools initially - population meaning the number of inhabitants and territories covering identities, without a specific spatial border separating them - these concepts became established over the coming centuries. In the same way that nations create nationalities and that populations fuel the notional term 'people', territories trigger the drawing of ever-precise borders. The trend toward idealising and abstracting the two terms is now doing an about face under the pressure of reality rather than the unreality of these peoples and borders. At the same time, geographical smoothing and anamorphosis is gaining ground, with either borders being obscured, or territories deformed. Likewise, the concepts of people and population are being challenged by rapid cultural developments.
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