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More-than-state ontologies of territory: commoning, assembling, peopling

Smirnova, Vera and Golubchikov, Oleg ORCID: 2023. More-than-state ontologies of territory: commoning, assembling, peopling. Annals of the American Association of Geographers 10.1080/24694452.2023.2184765
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The idea of territory as a bounded, state-centric enclosure has been recently confronted with the help of decolonial insights. This article attempts to overcome the resultant dichotomies between the statist and organic readings of territory by demonstrating how the making of the Russian state has been contingent on decolonial narratives and territorial imaginaries that have far exceeded the notions of the state as such. The Russian political geographic traditions have historically allowed for the coexistence of multiple and heterogeneous conceptions of territory, which were varyingly assembled to fit specific geopolitical intentions. This article delineates three ontological origins of the Russian territory that have consequently played a key part in shaping the Russian territorial politics: (1) the ontology of commoning, deriving inspiration from communal land use and the collective autonomy of the peasant society; (2) the ontology of assembling, grounded in the anthropogeographical imaginary of the “borderless” Eurasian landmass and its nomadic livelihoods; and (3) the ontology of peopling, grounded in the taxonomies of modernization and rational distribution of human subjects. Scrutinizing the interplay of these ontologies extends the understanding of the porosity and plurality of the concept of territory and offers insights into the roots of Russia’s own geopolitical worldviews and their coloniality.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Published Online
Status: In Press
Schools: Geography and Planning (GEOPL)
ISSN: 2469-4460
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 22 February 2023
Date of Acceptance: 22 February 2023
Last Modified: 03 May 2023 08:28

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