• Entry
  • Reader's guide
  • Entries A-Z
  • Subject index

Territory

  • By: Jeppe Strandsbjerg
  • In: Encyclopedia of Geography
  • Edited by: Barney Warf
  • Subject:General Geography, Earth & Environmental Science

Territory is an important concept for understanding politics and social behavior. Although unsettled etymologically, the term territory is usually taken as a derivative of the Latin terra (land); however, it has also been suggested that it is derived from the Latin terrēre (to frighten), indicating that territory is a place that frightens people. This dual meaning is key to understanding territory. Most theories of the state point to territory, in combination with sovereignty and population, as the defining features of the modern state. Yet in a broader context, territory refers to the space occupied, or claimed, by a group of social beings. Essentially, territory indicates a bounded social space of dominance, identity, or jurisdiction.

Territory is a heavily contested concept across the social sciences, where there ...

    • Loading...
    locked icon

    Sign in to access this content

    Get a 30 day FREE TRIAL

    • Watch videos from a variety of sources bringing classroom topics to life
    • Read modern, diverse business cases
    • Explore hundreds of books and reference titles