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  A complex array of modern institutions involved in governance over a spatially bounded territory which enjoys monopolistic control over the means of violence (cf. sovereignty). It is still considered to be the most important form of spatial governance.

There are two central components to nation-state formation. First, the process of state-building is bound up with the territorialization of state power, a set of centralizing processes which, to paraphrase Mann (1984), can be defined as the capacity of the state to penetrate civil society, and to implement logistically political decisions throughout its territory (cf. territoriality). Such infrastructural powers would include the collection and storage of information (what Giddens (1985) calls the surveillance aspect of state power), imposition of an administrative-territorial order, the regulation of movements of ideas, goods and people across national boundaries, and the growth of a centralized bureaucracy to coordinate and carry out increasingly complex functions within its territorial realm. Second, there is nation-building, which in classic nation-states was facilitated by state-building and the development of industrial capitalism. Nation-state building involves, in particular, the utilization of the nation by state elites in which a sense of territorial or homeland Identity and of belonging to a national culture is important, aided by the spread of a common vernacular and national educational system. Nation-building is therefore also bound up with creating citizens and citizen identities (cf. citizenship). In one sense, the nationstate is an ideal type, for there are few cases in which state boundaries are coextensive with a national community within which all citizens possess an identical culture. It is particularly problematic when the territorial boundaries of the state exceed national identified boundaries and in this sense, historically, the nation-state has often been a conquest state.

Processes of globalization, in the form of both the internationalization of capital and the growth of global and regionalized forms of spatial governance, challenge the ability of the nation-state effectively to practise its claim to a sovereign monopoly over its bounded space and to protect its citizens from external incursion. Thus the rise of transnational forms of governance, in particular, are not only challenging the power and authority of the nationstate but contributing to its deterritorialization as new, more globalized, scales of governance emerge. There is, however, a general consensus amongst political theorists that while the powers of the state have been eroded as a consequence, it is a myth to claim that the state has no influence over the impact of such globalizing processes. (GES)

References and Suggested Reading Archiburgi, D., Held, D. and Kohler, M., eds, 1998: Re-imagining political community: studies in cosmopolitan democracy. Oxford: Polity Press. Biersteker, T. and Weber, C., eds, 1996: State sovereignty as social construct. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Camilleri, J. and Falk, R. 1993: The end of sovereignty? The politics of a shrinking and fragmenting world. London: Edward Elgar. Dunn, J. 1995: Contemporary crisis of the nation-state. Oxford: Basil Blackwell. Giddens, A. 1985: The nationstate and violence. Oxford: Polity Press. Hirst. P. and Thompson, G. 1996: Globalisation in question. Oxford: Polity. Mann, M. 1984: The autonomous power of the state: its origins, mechanisms and results. Archives européennes de sociologie 25: 185-213 (reprinted in Agnew, J., ed., 1997: Political geography: a reader. London: Arnold, 58-80). Smith, G. 1994: Political theory and political geography. In D. Gregory, R. Martin and G. Smith, eds, Human geography; society, space and the social sciences. London: Macmillan, 54-77.



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