Territory and War

16 May 2013

Thanks for pointing out this article by Heriberto Cairo which I had missed. Please continue to send references that are not in the bibliography.

Cairo, H. (2004) The Field of Mars: heterotopias of territory and warPolitical Geography 23 (8) 1009–1036.


Territory is connected to war in different ways. This paper explores the ontological face of war, from a political and spatial perspective. Heterotopias, like the Roman Field of Mars and US National Cemeteries, are used to throw light on the relationships between war and territory. The paper first traces the origins of the importance of territory to war, following the Foucaltian revision of Clausewitz to suggest how politics is the continuation of war by other means. It then proceeds to analyze two key displacements constitutive of the current relation between territory and sovereignty: the substitution of the loyalty to king for the loyalty to territory, and the further replacement of territory by the “map”. In the second half of this paper, special attention is given to the post-Cold War hegemonic state practices that have changed the discourses of war and thus constituted a new, postmodern, Field of Mars. The paper shows how the new postmodern “virtuous wars”, fought outside Western Europe and North America, reconfigure the Western politics, territory and sovereignty, particularly in the United States.