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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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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 18 October 2021

Power and Space II: Maintaining Control

Power and Space II: Maintaining Control

(p.250) Chapter Eleven Power and Space II: Maintaining Control
The Field and the Forge

John Landers (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

Maintaining control once it had been established required rulers to pre-empt or suppress indigenous revolts, defend their frontiers against external threats, and prevent regional commanders, administrators, or elites breaking away from central control. The complexities of frontier defence reflected the ambiguous and unstable character of frontiers as geographical and sociological entities. For most of history, the object of control was demographic space: what mattered were population, resources, and communication networks and such physical spaces as these occupied, rather than physical space as such. The spatial extent of a ruler’s control was defined by the two dimensions of breadth and depth. Maintaining the breadth of control meant securing the frontiers against external attack and preventing regions inside the frontiers from breaking away. The spatial depth of control reflected the ability of rulers and their provincial subordinates to exercise systematic coercion across the land area contained within their frontiers.

Keywords:   maintaining control, indigenous revolt, frontier, external threat, frontier defence, demographic space

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