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date: 27 February 2021

Abstract and Keywords

Starting from the presupposition that areas of limited statehood (ALS) are not ungoverned, but ‘differently’ governed, this chapter proposes a spatial grammar that analyses authority and governance as a socio-spatial relationship. This spatial grammar distinguishes four types of dynamic socio-spatial relations—territory, place, scale, and network—and enables us to spatially analyse (a) how political authority is contested, claimed, upheld, and disrupted; (b) how political life is negotiated, regulated, and practised; and (c) how these practices and their effects are spatially situated. We apply this spatial grammar to four case studies, each providing insight into one type of socio-spatial relations. These cases from Nigeria, Sri Lanka, Afghanistan, and Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), explain how the negotiation, contestation, and disruption of political authority is spatially situated and embedded in ALS. A spatial grammar focuses on the shifting, overlapping, and contradictory practices of claiming political and regulatory power.

Keywords: spatial turn, networks, territory, scale, place, authority, regulation, governable space

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