Spatial Statism (Foreword)
International Journal of Constitutional Law 17 (2019): 387-438
74 Pages Posted: 29 Jul 2019 Last revised: 25 Aug 2019
Date Written: July 14, 2019
In this Foreword article, we wish to insert a degree of innovation into debates about global law and the supposed demise of state-based sovereignty and public law. We do so by asking how considerations of space, place and density impact the conceptualization and utilization of state power in a world of growing complexity and interdependence. In an array of key policy areas (immigration regulation and border control; the constitutional status of cities; natural resources; the place of religious symbols in the public sphere; and “us vs. them” constructions of national identity), we examine how state-centered public law defines, and where required redefines, space and territory in order to tame potential threats—local or global—to the state’s territorial sovereignty. Our exploration highlights the tremendous versatility and creativity of states in deploying and stretching, through the classic tools of public law, their spatial and juridical tentacles in a new and complex global environment. Taken in conjunction, these illustrations suggest that the disregard for and dismissal of the state as a potent actor in the public law arena is premature. State sovereignty may be metamorphosing, but it is evidently not vanishing.
Keywords: state theory, public law, constitutions, immigration, borders, cities, populism, religion, sovereignty, territoriality, natural resources
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