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The Field and the ForgePopulation, Production, and Power in the Pre-industrial West$
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John Landers

Print publication date: 2005

Print ISBN-13: 9780199279579

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2010

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199279579.001.0001

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Power and Space I: Expanding Control

Power and Space I: Expanding Control

(p.227) Chapter Ten Power and Space I: Expanding Control
The Field and the Forge

John Landers (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

Organic economies with their restrictions on production, transportation, and the deployment of military force necessarily constrained the relationship between power and space, but the outcome of this constraint was historically viable. The history and geography of political power is very largely the history and geography of states, thus, it is necessary to consider the state as a spatial phenomenon. The states of early modern Europe were mostly bordered by structural homologues: other states similarly organised and comparably armed. Most of the peoples with whom western rulers had to deal can be categorised as the ‘northern barbarians’ of antiquity, the early medieval Slavs and cognate peoples in eastern Europe and the Balkans, and the nomadic peoples who intruded periodically from the steppe and the desert fringes. Tributary dependence was often enforced by raiding strategies, but the expansion of control usually required occupation.

Keywords:   organic economy, military force, power, space, political power, spatial phenomenon, northern barbarians, medieval Slavs, cognate people, nomadic people

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