Territory difficulties in talking about territory is that this



and function

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is defined as the following:


o   An area of land under the
jurisdiction of a ruler or state.

o   ‘the government was prepared to
give up the nuclear weapons on its territory’


o   Zoology An area defended by an
animal or group of animals against others of the same sex or species.


o   An area defended by a team or
player in a game or sport.


o   An area in which one has certain
rights or for which one has responsibility with regard to a particular type of


o   Mass noun, with adjective or noun
modifier Land with a specified characteristic.

o   ‘woodland territory’


o   (Especially in the US, Canada, or
Australia) an organized division of a country that is not yet admitted to the
full rights of a state.


o   An area of knowledge, activity, or


The origin of the word base Latin word
‘territorium’ which is used in reference to land or a district, has 2
etymological theories. According to the first, the term comes from the latin
word ‘terra’ (dry land) + orium, the suffic denoting place. The second theory
draws the origin to territorium derived instead from ‘t?rrere’­­­ (to
frighten). When the second theory is drawn out, a territory is a place from
which people are warned off’ which unlike the 1st theory places a
more functional purpose for territories.


­The ethological conception draws our attention
to two important points. The first point is that territory has fundamentally to
do with functions.7 For
both animals and the human being, these functions are usually described as defence,
control, reproduction, and access to resources. The second point is that
territory is an imagined entity, a space that
is carved out, excerpted and circumscribed in view of a set of tasks to carry
out. The territorial redux is an imaginative mechanism whereby someone is
recognized as an intruder or insider (or other equivalent qualification) to
one’s territory.


One of the main difficulties in talking about
territory is that this concept is transversal to several different
disciplines—ranging macro to micro, from geography to sociology, from ethology,
to ecology, from anthropology to law—all of which have their own idiosyncratic
definition. Which is further more interesting because through the process
defining what each disciple regards as its definition of territory, each
discipline creates respective boundaries of their interpretations of the
concept. ‘the tool one uses to grasp the object is part of the very object one tries
to seize’ Andrea Brighenti, 2006


continues define two pivotal categories to appreciate the relational features
of territory are scale and visibility. Almost all territories can be classified
along these two variables. Interestingly, while the rule of thumb associates
larger scale with higher visibility, this correlation is not always valid.
Rather than simply large-scale ones, the most visible territories are the
institutionalized ones. One can consider for instance the following territories:
the nation-state, the city and its functional places, the interpersonal sphere,
the body, and the psyche.


Relationship, rather than space, is suggested
to be at the conceptual core of territory, so that spatial and non-spatial
territories can be seen as superimposed one onto the other and endowed with
multiple connections.

once relations among subjects, rather than space, are put at the conceptual
core of territory, it becomes possible to capture the ways in which spatial and
non-spatial territories are superimposed one onto the other and endowed with
multiple reciprocal connections

according to different scales and degrees of visibility. only the most visible ones are
recognized as proper territories.

Territory is
explored in the most in Biology, and Sociology. In the former the explored
concept is territoriality which is expressed as a instinctive act (in
reference to animal behaviour) the ability
to react in aggressive and defensive patterns under given circumstances
existing as a biological imperative, this
hypothesis reached in Robert Ardreys’ ‘book ‘The Territorial Imperative where
he elucidate the role that inherited evolutionary instinct, particularly the territorial
imperative plats in human society in the phenomena such as property ownership
and nation building.  The problem with Ardreys is he makes
aggressiveness the basis of the terroroty. ‘DG. They sued the understanding of
terriry advanced by etholisht Jakob von Uexkull ot help shift the focus away
from a mechanistic, functional understanding of life onto a more expressive one


Sociologist Robert David Sack pushes the idea a step further and say that territorially is instinctual and
favours that at the core of territoriality is strategy and defines
territoriality as “the attempt by an individual or group to affect,
influence or control people, phenomena and relationships, by delimiting and
asserting control over a geographic area.”8 By
making strategy a central concern, Sack frames the question of territory as
inherently political. By pointing
out that territories may exist in degrees, and that they can be switched on and
off according to strategic aims, Sack brought agency to
the foreground of the concept.

The biologist Jakob von Uexküll was probably the first to
point out that territory appears as a subjective and aesthetic production which
cannot be inferred from mere characteristics of any objective physical
environment.4 in…Delueze and Guartti refer to von Uexkulls
to as  “”A territory materalizs
when milieu components cease to be directional and functional to become
dimensional and expressive. Functions do not explain the territory but
presuppose it.” Delueze & Guarttari.

For him territory refers to a specific ‘milieu’ that
cannot be serpared from the living thing occupying and creating the milieu, so
that the meaning of the milieu is affective. The territory is marked by indexes
that ”may be components taken from any of the miliues: materials, organic
products, skin or membrane states, energy sources, action perception
condestate.” Delueze and guattai. The terroitrialising elements resides ‘in the
becoming expressive of ryhtim and melody in other words, in emergence of proper
qualities (colour, odour, sound, sillhouete..) Art?

Once a
shift from an essentialist and objectivist to an operational and interactional
imagination of territory is made, the activity of boundary-drawing can be
investigated through a series of questions proposed by Andrea Brighenti her
essay. : 

Who is

How is the
drawing made? 

What kind
of drawing is being made? 

Why is the
drawing being made? 






is regarded as an activity of boundary-drawing and as a process which creates
pre-assigned relational positions a way of social sorting” Andrea Brighenti,


movement of Territorialisation is act of organizing as a territory, a process
of reordering physical or virtual relationships “Territorialisation presupposes
an appropriation of a territory that can take several forms”. This appropriation
could easily be a demarcated territory of land remarked due to new ownership or
intuitive territories, such as objects, rituals, and culture. It could be the formation
of an idea or a religion, the classification of a relationship, the
interconnectivity of set of relations or the acknowledgement of a situation one
finds them in. A defined boundary, threshold or limit is the single commonality
but within the playground of this condition, territorialisation can range from
a mapped geographical set of physical space to existing in the realm of the
meta-physics and ephemeral abstraction.


Territory-drawing is therefore
a essential way of manufacturing relations among human beings mediated by
places, spaces, objects, and every type of signs and symbols. Ultimately, when
based on signs and symbols, territory need not be a space.


A similar point was
made by the Canadian Sociologist Erving Goffman whose major areas of study included
the sociology of everyday life through social interaction, social construction
of self and social organisation of experience. In ‘Relations in public’ (Goffman,
1971) he proposes that all territories can be divided into categories depending
on their organisation and hypothesized a link between each kind of territory
and its temporal extension. He identified three types of territory—fixed
territories, situational territories and egocentric territories.

Fixed Territories:
Which have a geographical extension and to which the person can claim formal
legitimate title. One example might be real estate or physical property.


Territories: Confined to specific locations and which the person may make his
or her property for a limited period of time thus temporally appropriating a
space. These spaces then to be public spaces like restaurants, a bench in a
park or desk in libraries this type of territorialisation is linked with the
type of activity that is considered to be the norm in that given context.  


Territories: Which unlike the pervious types is completely moveable and is
carried about by a person. This category is further subdivided into 8 subtypes:
‘The personal space’, ‘The stall’, use space, turn, Sheath, Possessional
territory, informational territory, conversational preserve.


Goffman then turns
his attention to ways of violating these territories an idea he called
‘Modalities of violation’ ways of engaging in territorial offense whether that
may be moving too close, actual defilement or contamination. These ideas spring
up in Deleuze
and Guattaris reconfiguration of lacnian ‘territorialisation’. They propose is
that the subject is exposed to new organisations; principal insight being:
deterritorlisation shatters the subject. When a boundary is temporally
penetrated or deconstructed to dislocate the set of relations that constitute
as the territory.




Re/de territorialisation


Shifts in
movement occur when the membrane around a territory fractures allowing the set
of relations to become recoded, inscribed, invaded and even annexed. This holds
true for cities or nation-states but also ideologies, an image, human
subjectivity and individual perspective.


is this process. After the dis-embedding follows the reformation of the
relations and membrane this is called ‘Reterritorialisation’ and was proposed
by Deleuze and Guattari, defined by Dovey as ‘invasion of
urban interstices, construction of houses, the inscription of boundaries’
through the implementation of informal practices (Dovey, 2012


concept having two modes: ‘Deterritorialisation’
& ‘Rete­rritorialisation’ (Deleuze and
Guattari, 1972).  Deterritorialisation is associated with
decontextualizing of a set of relations and Reterritorialisation is the
reconfiguring and restructuring of decontextualized relations, creating
something new. The two modes happen simultaneously with deterritorialisation always accompanied by reterritorialisation. They embody
the process of reconfiguration and reconfiguration with the reconstructed
fragments having traces of the previous incarnation but in its entirety becomes
a new expression.


Whenever a territory
appears, new functions are created, and pre-existent functions are re-organized
into new ones.20 The
creation of a territory generates a basic discontinuity between the inside and
the outside. Each drawing activity determines effects of deterritorialization
and reterritorialization. Something or someone is included because something
else or someone else is excluded. These basic territorial operations of
deterritorialization and subsequent reterritorialization generate on-going
processes of separation and fusion with each deterritorialization entails a
chain of subsequent reterritorializations, the two movements recursively
embedded into one another.


The terms are originally related to the analysis of capitalism and cultural
globalization explored by Gilles Deleuze and Flex Guattari in their book ‘Anti-Oedipus:
Capitalism and Schizophrenia’ where they attempt to diagnose the “Dissipated
nature of human subjectivity in contemporary capitalist cultures” (Deleuze & Guattari, 1972). They draw parallels between a schizophrenic and capitalism,
the major link being both modes have the ability to implant themselves in any
context as a ‘decoder and scrambler’. ‘Decode’ not meaning to translate or
decipher, in this context ‘decode’ relates to the undermining of existing codes
that govern (in this case) society and participate in the deterritorialisation (decontextualizing
of a set of relations) within said society. Through this deterritorialisation
all customs and norms are scrambled as a ‘schizophrenic process’ (Meaning its
resembles the schizophrenic unconsciousness where everything is scrambled and
undistinguished from everything else) the structure of identity collapses.


Reterriolisation is expressed as a Trangressive act; an act
that breaks rules and norms in the repurposing of ideals and cultures through
the crossing over and merging of the multiple entities. This merging literally negates
the form society expects of it and becomes neither or and all


Transgression Theoretical

concept of subverting ideals or going against an ideal has been present in
literature and the ideas of theorist/philosophers, Transgression. But only
recently has it become contemporary in the sense of place. In Foucault ‘A
preface to Transgression, 1980 he heavily links transgression with Nietzsche’s ‘Death of God’ concept (the term being synonymous
with ‘deterritorialisation, schizophrenia or capitalism). Foucault says “Death
of god creates an urgency for meaning” as before god was present, this search
for meaning leads to the ‘infinity of interpretation’ and transgression is the
process that seeks to overcome interpretation and the ‘hermeneutical space’
left by the removal of meaning to god/ through the deterritorialisation of
society, Transgression must then ‘stretch and break the boundaries of each
meaning’ to reveal new limits to once again break. Cementing the mutualistic
relationship between Transgression and limit. Jenks calls it “the modern
post-god initiative” (Jenks, 2003). Foucault
defines transgression as “Profanation, which no longer recognizes any meaning
in the sacred” (Foucault, 1980)


brings to light the problems with ‘Definition’ which is also apparent in
Foucault’s thoughts, ‘infinity of interpretation’ (Foucault, 1980). This paradoxical relationship,
like Foucault’s profane and sacred, contains ‘two independent but mutually
exclusive aspects’ (Tshumi, 1944) but what
Foucault is proposing is that the act of transgression comes from the
empowerment of one aspect, profane over sacred, informal over the
establishment, the breaking of one to allow the other to reach new sacred
limits to once again attempt to break. Tshumi suggests transgression is “where
it (architecture) transcends its paradoxical nature by negating the form
society expects of it” (Tshumi, 1944) implying transgression isn’t the
crossing of one by the other but at a ‘point of rot’ when something is neither
or and both at the same time, a proscribed place, “where death touches life.


These two
views are expressed by Jenks defining Transgression as “that, which transcends
boundaries or exceeds limits” (Jenks, 2013).
Jenks as Foucault did before stressed that transgression (reterritorialisation)
is not destruction or evil but just a reaction to an opposing force that gains
its energy from ‘the perpetual threat of constraint or destruction’ (Jenks, 2013).


An example of this dualistic
process, when the Spanish (Hernán Cortés) conquered the Aztecs, and after the
Spanish deterritorialized them by eliminating the symbols of the Aztecs’
beliefs and rituals, the Spanish then reterritorialized by putting up their own
beliefs and rituals – now you see a hybridity between the old customs that have
manifest in the nuanced way certain regions of South Americans practices


And more importantly for this essay and less
intuitive, example is provided by counter-cultural movements that stressed the
importance of deterritorializing practices. Found in the  The Situationists’ practice of dérive,
or drifting28 was
conceived as an exercise of “rapid passage through varied ambiances”
so as to induce awareness in the detachment from places. By practicing dérive,
the Situationists’ ultimate aim was to reterritorialize themselves in what they
called “constructed situations,” which were thought of as spaces of
experimentation in liberated social interaction Or the practice of detournment,
which literally is a form of deconstruction of already existing media and the
reformation of the fragmented element into a new expression. Using tactics as a
way of reframing or reorganizing the way in which people view things.















de Certeau explores the use of tactics in”The
Practice of Every Day Life” he proposed ‘that an invisible world of mass cultural
participation far from being a distant utopia already existed albeit
surreptitiously in a twilight realm of what he called ‘the tactical’ The ‘tactical’ or tactics is At the core of “The Practice of
Every Day Life”. He defines it as a method ” in which
the weak are seeking to turn the tables on the strong. Tactics must depend on
“clever tricks, knowing how to get away with things, the hunter’s cunning,
manoeuvres, polymorphic simulations, joyful discoveries poetic as well as
warlike. Which is a process of trangression”. He contrasts the tactical which
strategies, which he defines as “as a
calculus of force relationships when a subject of will and power (a proprietor,
an enterprise, a city, a scientific institution) can be isolated from an
environment.” 5.… a place where it can “capitalize
on its advantages, prepare its expansions, and secure independence with respect
to circumstances.” This distinction between tactics and
strategies is used to highlight the uneual relationship ion cultural



tactical is defined as ‘Activity in the urban realm that encourages inhabitants
to re-appropriate vacant land in the city and transform it into self-manages
space’ (Petrescu & Petcou, 2013) this
is done through of course deterritorialisation and then reterritorialisation. The article goes
on to suggest that ‘deviousness’ is a key factor to “get things done”. This
idea of  ‘Artfulness’ in resistance is
proposed by Certeau challenging the ‘mechanism imposed by institutions
(Grid of Discipline)’ and stating “Everyday life invents
itself by poaching in countless ways on the property of others” (De Certeau, 1984).

This informality is studied in the article ‘Informal
Settlement and Complex Adaptive Assemblage’, International Development Planning
Review (Dovey, 2012)’, Informal settlements are described as
Transgressive because “they transgress the formal codes of the state in terms
of land tenure, urban planning, design and construction” this transgression is
not the romantised, conceptual act proposed by Foucault, this transgression is
only present because of the lack of choice and the lack of an alternative path,
as a ‘resource for managing poverty’. Through this idea ‘utopia exits through
the tactical. Utopia is not the end product but the idiocriactic methods in
which we impose out ideas of utopia upon the city, out bedroom or our minds.